Why The Passive Aggressive Woman Withholds Sex

Could your wife be withholding sex because she is passive aggressive?

Is your marriage sexless?
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Is Your Wife Withholding Sex Because She is Passive Aggressive?

In the beginning, your wife was charming and quite appealing. You had no problems with intimacy in your relationship. Your wife couldn't keep her hands off of you. You felt desired, cherished and loved.

Before long, the atmosphere changed. Your wife became less and less interested in sex. Your wife is still charming and appealing and your level of desire hasn't changed but that person who once seemed so giving sexually has now become rather stingy with her affections. You find yourself wondering, "what happened?"

Could she be withholding sex to punish you due to an inability on her part to express healthy anger? If your wife is passive aggressive, this could be the case. Those who deal with conflicts in a passive aggressive manner have coping mechanisms that tell their brains to stop needing such things as sex and emotional connection with a spouse. If she is withholding sex she is doing so because she truly has stopped needing sex with you and, her reptilian brain has come up with a masterful way to punish you instead of openly express dissatisfaction with you.

She Gets Her Needs Met, You Don't

That's all fine and dandy for her. She is getting her lack of need for sex met and her need to covertly lash out at you, both at the same time. But what about you, what impact is her refusal to have sex, having on you?

The rejection can drive you crazy with loneliness and worry. It’s especially harmful if you still love and are deeply attracted to your wife. We all need to have our love and desire for our spouse reciprocated. Your problem is, you’re needing those things from someone who could give them if she weren’t so afraid to say, “I’m angry with you.”

Below I delve deeper into the mindset of the passive aggressive spouse who withholds sex. 

The role sex plays in a marriage.

Angry couple in bed
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Sex is a way of connecting to your wife emotionally and physically. It builds a bond that promotes closeness and emotional intimacy. Sex is the glue that holds a marriage together.

Some would disagree but it's my opinion that the sharing of intimate pleasure in a marriage enables couples to bond more deeply as friends. That friendship will sustain the marriage as we age, our bodies change and our need for the sexual connection lessens.

Sex is what separates a couple's relationship from all other relationships. A marriage without sexual intimacy and friendship will eventually sputter and die.

Why withhold sex as punishment?

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Withholding sex is about control. It's a passive/aggressive way of expressing anger. Someone who withholds sex will imply by their actions that they have a lot to give. They are, by all outward indications sincere in their love for their spouse.

They hook you in with sincerity and then they cut you off before becoming intimate. They feel in control if they have the upper hand sexually. You are put in the position of being the one who initiates sex. Your spouse doesn't have to do anything in the relationship except show up and shut down.

All the work needed to develop and maintain a sexual bond is up to you. They don't have to take responsibility for any problems in the marriage, and if the marriage ends they can point a finger at you for being the problem, for being focused on nothing but sex and expecting too much from them.

What are the consequences of withholding sex?

Consequences of Withholding Sex in Marriage
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Sexual rejection, especially by someone who vowed to "love, honor and cleave unto" you is devastating. It leaves you feeling unattractive and undesirable by the person you find most attractive and desirable.

You may internalize her rejection and blame yourself by thinking you are not attractive enough; sexy enough, thin enough, smart enough. Her actions will give root to unhealthy beliefs about yourself and your value as a person and a sexual being.

There is the danger of depression, loss of hope, you may feel old before your time and there is certainly a sense of shame. Shame over the fact that your own spouse does not desire you.

This shame keeps you from sharing your problems with someone else. You find yourself with no support system and the growing belief that there is something terribly wrong with you.

The passive aggressive wife who withholds sex has emotional issues she is refusing to deal with. As a result, you end up with your own emotional issues to deal with, on top of a sexless marriage. 

Surviving a sexless marriage.

Husband wants a divorce
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The only way to survive a sexless marriage is to run from it. I rarely tell people that divorce is their only option. In this case, my  personal and professional experience has taught me that there is little hope for change.

I get a lot of pushback for this advice, usually from the spouse who is withholding sex. They don't need to feel an intimate bond with a spouse to be happy in their marriage and, feel the marriage should continue regardless of how much their spouse suffers. Their focus is their own needs, not the needs of their spouse. 

Take your damaged self-image, your shame and any unhealthy beliefs you have come to feel about yourself and get out. Once you've done that, find a qualified therapist that can help you take back the power your spouse had to cause you to feel such negative emotions.

The damage will die hard and may be slow to repair but with time and work, you will once again feel sexually desirable and attractive.