RelationshipsMarriageCan I Divorce My Wife for Not Sleeping with Me?


Can I Divorce My Wife for Not Sleeping with Me?

There is an old adage among men- ‘marriage is the end of sex’. While it might sound very cliched and stereotypical, statistically speaking it’s a very real fact. As of 2022, the percentage of sexless marriages among the Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials is 33.1%, 22.9%, and 7.4%. While it’s clear the oldest generation suffers the most from this problem, it’s not entirely abnormal given their age bracket. But men suffering from sexless marriages among the younger generations are now wondering whether getting a divorce in a sexless marriage is a viable option.

But can I divorce my wife for not sleeping with me? Yes, you can divorce your wife for not sleeping with you, but there are many factors to consider. Divorcing is never an easy process. Never mind the legal hurdles that you have to go through, the emotional burden of divorce on you and your family can lead to more than just burned bridges. That is before you take the necessary steps to initiate the divorce, it might be helpful to look into some of the things that led to a sexless marriage, figure out how to bring that spark back into your life, and understand when your marriage is well and truly over.

What is ‘Sexless Marriage’?

What is sexless marriage

Whether you’re looking through Google or a medical journal for a definition, they more or less boil down to the same few words- a marriage in which there is little to no sexual activity. Despite being simple, the term sexless marriage covers a wide spectrum as some experts consider having sex less than 10 times a year as a sexless marriage.

As you can see, the lack of enough or complete physical intimacy between you and your wife can also be considered a sexless marriage. Every marriage has a honeymoon period after which the frequency of sex goes down. But if it goes down to the point where you feel left out and physically unsatisfied, then we start having a problem.

Is Sexless Marriage Normal?

Though some people might try to normalize the concept of a sexless marriage, there’s nothing normal about it. A couple’s physical drive plays a big role in how their marriage and relationships are shaped. Sex is considered one of the important forms of physical and emotional intimacy, without which a relationship is bound to suffer.

Of course, that’s not to say that sexless marriages and relationships don’t work out for some people, but those are the exceptions, not the norm. Most normal healthy males and females have a sex drive, which if left unfulfilled, causes a lot of mental and physical anguish.

Human beings are biologically wired to procreate as a means to continue their bloodline as well as maintain emotional and physical intimacy with their partners. For men, sex is a big part of how they express their love for their wives, so not having sex can be stressful for them in more ways than one.

Can I Divorce My Wife for Not Sleeping with Me?

Can I divorce my wife for not sleeping with me

The answer to this question is a simple yes, but there’s a lot of nuance involved in it as well. Currently, there are two main types of divorces in the US- fault divorce and no-fault divorce. If you want to divorce your wife for not sleeping with you, then depending on where you live and the circumstances of your marriage you can go for both kinds of divorce.

Fault Divorces

In many states, a divorce can only be filed if one or both parties are at fault. In these kinds of divorces, it’s usually the husband’s job to prove to the court that his sexual needs are not being sufficiently met by his wife. One of the most famous instances of a fault divorce is the 1987 Jamison v. Jamison case in Virginia.

In this infamous cause the defendant Mrs. Jamison not only denied her husband sexual privileges but refused to cook, clean, or perform any of her wifely duties for almost a decade before the poor husband finally filed for divorce. If the husband can’t prove anything in a fault divorce filing, then the appeal for divorce is disregarded.

If you live in a state where fault divorce is in place, then you better have some really good arguments and proof that your wife is not performing her wifely duties or is cheating on you. No intimacy grounds for divorce are usually easier to prove as constructive abandonment as opposed to finding proof of cheating or mental abuse.

In some states with fault divorces, the act of not having sex for extended periods of time (months or even years) without any extensive physical or mental issues on the wife’s part is enough to file for a divorce, no extra proof is required.

No-Fault Divorces

Since the 1980s no-fault divorces have become increasingly popular in America, with a lot of states having adopted it over the years. Many relationship experts and counselors have attributed this as the main reason why marital relationships are so dismal these days.

In a no-fault divorce, a husband can easily file for divorce without having to show or prove any valid reasons for the separation. In some states, if a couple lives apart for two years or more then can easily file for divorce on grounds of ‘irreconcilable differences’.

If you live in a state where no-fault divorce is common, getting out of a sexless marriage can become much easier for you if all your attempts at salvaging it have failed.

4 Reasons Why Wives Stop Having Sex With Their Husbands

Reasons why wives stop having sex with their husbands

Before you jump the gun and start yelling divorce because you’re stuck in a sexless marriage, first let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons why wives stop having sex with their husbands. Given that women tend to be more sexual than men, if there’s no action going on in your bedroom, there’s probably a good reason.

1. A Lack of Communication between partners

Even the most lovey-dovey couples reach a point after marriage where their communication slows down or dies slowly. As a man, you must remember that women are usually receptive to open communication more than men. Just because you married your wife doesn’t mean that she will magically know what’s on your mind.

So if you stop communicating with her through your words and actions she will become emotionally distant, leading her sex drive to fall off a cliff.

According to clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson, “Couples need to spend at least 90 minutes a week with your partner talking. That means you’re telling each other of your life and you’re staying in touch, so you each know what the other is up to. You’re discussing what needs to be done to keep the household running smoothly and you laying down some mutually acceptable vision of how the next week or next month are going to go together. That keeps your narrative locked together, like the strands in a rope. You need that 90 minutes or you drift apart. If you don’t make it a priority, it won’t happen.”

2. She Might be Going Through Physical Issues

If you feel like a lack of communication is not the problem here, then your wife might be going through physical or mental issues. Many women these days can no longer afford to be housewives while their husbands work; in today’s day and age, a dual-income household is often the difference between poverty and keeping your head above water.

If your wife works just as hard as you and then comes home and does all the household chores alone, you can’t expect her to have much energy left once she hits the bed. Most working wives report coming home exhausted and with a headache, and if that’s the case, cut her a break and talk things out with her.

3. She Might be Going Through Mental Issues

A study conducted by The Open Psychology Journal found that 33.3% of married women in the US suffered from depression. Combine this with the number of married women potentially tethering towards depression and we almost have a national marital crisis at hand.

Unlike physical issues, women often find it harder to share their mental issues with their husbands than with their female friends and family members. This results in one of the most common forms of misunderstanding among married couples and a leading cause of lack of communication.

4. She Might be Cheating

You know you’re in trouble when you start wondering, “Why my wife makes excuses not to sleep with me.” You might not like hearing it, but cheating is also one of the leading causes of sexless marriages in the age of social media and Tinder. If everything seems OK between you and your wife but she still finds reasons not to sleep with you, chances are she’s sleeping with someone else.

While this is the first scenario that pops into a man’s head when he realizes he’s caught in a sexless marriage, you need to be very objective about your suspicions and find hard proof. Finding your wife cheating on you might be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s also the most valid ground for divorce in a sexless marriage.

A Wife’s Part in the Marriage

A wife’s part in the marriage

Whether you’re a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or Hindu, all religions treat marriage as a sacred contract between a man and a woman under God’s eyes. As such, a marriage contract dictates that a husband has certain duties and responsibilities towards his wife while the wife also has certain duties and responsibilities as well.

One of the most important responsibilities of a wife in a marriage contract is allowing her husband to have bedroom fun with her. In exchange, her husband is to provide her with emotional and material safety and protection. If a wife is not having sex with her husband on a regular basis, it’s a huge red flag that something is definitely wrong in the marriage.

When sexual obligations are not by wives in a marriage it often becomes one of the main reasons why their husbands call for a divorce. A lot of married women have the bad tendency to withhold sex from their husbands as a form of punishment (remember that famous scene from The Wolf of Wall Street?) which tends to severely backfire on them in the long run.

In certain conservative religions like Islam, a husband can call for a religious divorce if his wife refuses to have sex with him. Even if you’re not very religious, chances are high that you still consider sex as one of the biggest pillars of your marriage. Aside from being a homemaker, access to sex is the primary reason men commit themselves to one woman for life.

Is a Sexless Marriage the End?

Is a sexless marriage the end

At this point you might be asking yourself, is sexless marriage the end of things between you and wife? The answer is no. Even if you’re going through a sexless marriage, it can still be salvaged and be even stronger than before. Most men agree that if there’s even a sliver of hope to save a sexless marriage unless they’ve been cheated on, they’ll definitely take the opportunity.

There are a couple of ways you can go about when it comes to saving your marriage:

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Communication is the key if you still love your wife and want to salvage the marriage. Make time on a particular day or weekend and start talking about why things are the way they are currently in your marriage. Once you guys start talking, it’s highly likely you’ll find issues that you didn’t even notice.
Did you know that a lot of married couples don’t even have a proper conversation regarding their sex life? It’s no secret that men aren’t exactly the best when it comes to understanding a woman’s sexual needs, and when a wife is left unsatisfied repeatedly it’s only natural that she loses interest in sex.

Go to a Marriage Counselor or Sex Therapist

If you find that individual communication attempts with your wife are not panning out well, the two of you might consider visiting a marriage counselor or a sex therapist. A marriage counselor can be a great help in getting couples to communicate with each other openly and properly in the age of smartphones and social media.
You might find out a lot of things going wrong in your marriage that have been hampering your sex life, like not showing your wife enough love and affection as you did before if you two were in a relationship or being too busy to give her the personal time with you she deserves.

Woo Her All Over Again

When asked in multiple studies about which time of their relationship with their husband women remember being the happiest, it’s the early days of their relationships before marriage. This is usually because at this point men put in a lot of time, effort, and energy to woo a woman.

After marriage men usually stop making the efforts they used to make to win over their wives, which leaves them feeling unwanted and confused. This also pushes married women toward cheating as well. To keep the flames of passion well-stoked, make sure to take her out on dates, watch movies, have dinner dates, and do other couple activities to maintain a healthy emotional bond.

Though a sexless marriage is not the end of the world and you can put effort into salvaging it, you should also know when to walk away from a sexless marriage.

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Alternatives to Divorce in a Sexless Marriage

For a lot of couples, a marriage is a beneficial social contract even if sex is not involved. Things get even more complicated if children are also involved in the situation, which makes divorce a less viable option if you think about the impact it will have on your kids.

As such many couples come to a middle ground in a sexless marriage instead of opting for a divorce. One solution is living separately and sharing custody of the children with dating other people as an open option. But for many people with strong religious values, like Latinos, this simply isn’t an option.

Another alternative can be to just let things be as they are and enjoy each other’s companionship unless infidelity is involved. Many men find it easier to go without sex the older they get, and if that’s the case with you, prioritizing your marriage over sex can be a good choice in the long run.

Knowing When to Give Up on a Sexless Marriage

Knowing when to give up on a sexless marriage

Divorce is not an easy choice that most men happily make. They will try their best to salvage a marriage and consider divorce only as the final solution. But in certain circumstances, reconciliation in a sexless marriage is impossible if your wife is doing the following things:

  • Unwilling to communicate or commit to counseling/therapy
  • Has a history of drug/alcohol abuse
  • Has an incompatible personality with very different values from yours
  • Is cheating on you with another person

In most instances of sexless marriages where the above factors are involved the marriage usually cannot be salvaged despite your best efforts. So even if you have children, you need to consider your happiness alongside theirs as well in the long run.


1. Should I consider a divorce immediately if my wife has not been sleeping with me for some time?

No, you shouldn’t. First, try to see if you can salvage the situation first.

2. Who gets custody of our children if I divorce my wife for not sleeping with me?

Unless you have a prior history of domestic disturbance, the custody of your children will be shared among both parents.

3. How can I know what are the divorce laws of my state?

Get in touch with a dependable divorce lawyer to know all the ins and outs before filing a divorce for your wife not sleeping with you.

4. Will I be held liable for a no-fault divorce later?

No, you won’t.

Final Thoughts

Being tied up in a sexless marriage is one of the worst things that could happen to a man, so you should definitely look at divorce as an option, but only as a last resort. A marriage is a wonderful union between two human beings and trying your best to keep it alive by salvaging your marital sex life is the best way to go.

Next Attraction: How to Tell Your Husband the Marriage Is Over?

Andrew C. Smith, an expert in couples and family psychology, brings years of experience in enhancing family dynamics and parent-child relationships. With a private practice background, Andrew is now a valued writer at Merge Family, sharing insights on communication and more

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