How to Say No to Sex Without Hurting Your Husband

couple in bedWe joke sometimes about the excuses women use to get out of sex with their husbands. But after the laughter dies down there's always that uncomfortable truth that goes unsaid: It's probably better for your relationship if you just tell the truth. But how? The reason most women avoid saying NO to sex is because we're afraid of hurting the the men we love.

We talked with three relationship experts for their advice on dancing the dance of not-in-the-mood. How can you turn it into a positive -- or can you?

  • "It's like anything in a relationship," says author and relationship expert Andrea Syrtash. "Sex needs to be communicated and negotiated." It's okay if you're not on the same page about having sex right then, right there. The important thing is to be open and honest and trusting enough with your partner so he knows this is not about hurting him. Make sure you're clear that "you want to be affectionate and connect, just not in that way right now."
  • She suggests doing something that may not sound very sexy, but can help a lot: "Discuss a general time of day when sex is more or less appealing." Suggest a time that works best for you. "It's a matter of creatively finding a solution together." Syrtash has a whole chapter about this issue in her book, Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband).
  • Sex therapist Dr. Logan Levkoff says this doesn't even have to be a "yes" or "no" proposition. If having traditional sexual intercourse, the whole enchilada, sounds like too much for you, find a compromise that works for both of you. "It shouldn't be a chore," she says. "There are other ways to experience sexual pleasure and intimacy with your partner besides sexual intercourse." She suggests things like kissing or using a vibrator.
  • Be careful about the tone of voice you use, Dr. Levkoff cautions. Imagine yourself on the other end of this conversation. How would you want to hear this message? Make sure your partner knows it's about you at this moment; You're not rejecting HIM. Then, "Be hopeful about the future." Make plans to have sex at a better time.
  • Something to think about, though. If you find yourself saying no to sex more often than yes, you really need to think about why. "Saying no a lot can breed hostility," Dr. Levkoff says. So if you can't remember the last time you said yes to sex, it may mean you need to address a larger issue.
  • Finally, think about what does get you in the mood for sex so you can get more of it, whatever it is. Sex expert Yolanda Shoshana  says, "If you are out of sync with your partner ask yourself what you need to get in the mood. Don't focus on the things that your partner isn't doing right because that is sure to turn you off. Once you know what gets you going you can share that information with your partner. Let him know to consider it as a part of foreplay."
  • But if you've been together for years, shouldn't he already know what works for you? "Men really do want to know how to please their woman, but they can't read our minds." As frustrating as it may seem, it really does pay off to communicate what turns you on.

What do you usually do when he's in the mood for sex and you're not?


Image via Ryan Stuart/moodboard/Corbis





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BGarcel BGarcel

If my husband is in the mood and I'm not, I either give him a bj, we do a quickie, or I say I'll make it up to him later. I'm still amazed this is a hard thing for people who are married to each other to do. And it goes both ways, if my husband says no sex, then either he gives me oral and fingers me or I take care of myself.

nonmember avatar Lacy

Waaaay TMI. It's not like it's an anonymous comment from someone whose identity can never be verified. Name, pic, and intimate details of the most personal part of your life don't belong TOGETHER on the internet, where you can never take it back. The lack of tech savvy displayed in 2014 is crazy. Same people who over-share always claim victim when public postings come back to hurt them or their loved ones. At least use anonymity when getting so personal, for your family's sake.

nonmember avatar Yikes


#1. Totally agree on the TMI issue

#2. I'm glad I can honestly say my husband would never be able to resist sex if either of us gave or received oral. That would be a red flag of a problem. Be it health, confidence, relationship, it would be a sure sign of a problem we needed to work past.

the4m... the4mutts

If I'm not in the mood, I just say "Not tonight babe".

It's not that hard. He doesn't act like a pouty baby, because he's not one. We have a good sex life, and we both know that if it doesn't happen tonight, it will another time

BGarcel BGarcel

Have I described the act? Have I actually given details that could haunt me or my family? Have I mentioned his size or taste? Can someone who doesn't know me recognize me in real life if I walked past? I used to post comments with my facebook account but stopped because I was receiving creeper messages after I posted my opinion on an anal sex article. That picture of me is old. That "name" is not a name either. It's kind of like an acronym.

There are rules in place regarding what can be posted and what cant be posted on this website. If I break a rule, then by all means discipline me for it. But I am not. It is no great secret to people who know me or my husband that we perform oral sex on each other and love doing so. We dont advertise or brag about it, but if the subject comes up and revealing that information is relevant, usually we will say something. This article is about handling the sexual needs of your spouse when you don't want to have intercourse. If me just mentioning an alternative sexual act gets your granny panties in bunches, you may not be mature enough to be here.

nonmember avatar Lacy

If you really think that you have anonymity with a picture posted of yourself next to a comment, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. It would be an understatement to call you naive. A mature person wouldn't need a bad Facebook experience to teach them to be careful about what she posts online, so spare us. No one said you broke a rule. It doesn't mean you don't lack tact. All I'm saying is, there is a way to comment without putting your business out there.

BGarcel BGarcel

What you failed to read is that while I do have enough anonymity to feel safe, I also don't care if those who do know me know I love pleasuring my husband. And yes, enough anonymity. People who would recognize me in that picture probably know my business while people who have seen that picture and then see me in real life would never connect the two. What I'm basically saying is that I have enough anonymity.

BGarcel BGarcel

We are taking this off-track. While talking to a friend today, we talked about this. What they do is keep a tally of when one has refused sex or refused to do chores and try to keep it even. I don't think keeping a record of that is wise but she says that at least they are doing something. Thought I'd toss that in there.

nonmember avatar naoma

He will "get over it."

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