Withholding Sex in Marriage: Best Bible Advice You Must Know

Spread the love

Withholding sex in marriage, though a rarely discussed topic, is a common occurrence that even gets mentioned in the Bible. This act can have far-reaching consequences for the relationship, both emotionally and spiritually. 

In the sacred bond of marriage, the role of sex in strengthening the connection between partners is crucial. 

Therefore, the issue of denying sex to your partner can create significant challenges within your relationship. It may cause feelings of loneliness and rejection, straining the bond between the two partners. 

Additionally, it can hinder the couple’s ability to communicate effectively, further escalating the issues at hand.

This article will delve into this topic, exploring the potential repercussions and offering guidance on the challenges.

So, let’s dive right in.

Understanding Withholding Sex in Marriage

The concept of withholding sex

Sex in a marriage is about making hay while the sun shines; there are days when you will run into dry spells and miss out on sex altogether.

What would warrant such a situation?

  • Sickness
  • When one is upset
  • Low libido (probably occasional)
  • Being tired
  • Differences in appetite for sex

So, withholding sex in marriage is real. It refers to the intentional decision of one spouse to abstain from sexual intimacy within the marriage.

A couple in bed

Biblical Perspective on Withholding Sex

Furthermore, the Bible advocates withholding sex, but for a different reason: prayer. The apostle Paul, while advising the Corinthians on matters sexual, said the following:

“The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband… Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Cor 7:3, 5)

It certainly would not be ethical to dedicate some days to prayer and fasting and yet engage in carnal knowledge of your spouse. 

If you dedicate time to prayer, let it remain holy as you commune and get closer to your God.

Bible references on Marriage Intimacy

On the other hand, the Bible offers insights into marital intimacy, highlighting its significance in the union of husband and wife.

When God created Adam and Eve, he joined them to become one flesh. This one-flesh principle is an illustration of intimacy in marriage, in that sex binds the two. 

In fact, in Ephesians 5:28, the Bible says that men should love their women as they love their own bodies, further expanding on the concept of oneness.

Interpretation and teachings

While the Bible emphasizes mutual respect, love, and consideration within marriage, interpretations regarding specific situations of withholding sex may vary.

Here’s further reading and guidance from the Bible on marital intimacy.

  • Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. Malachi 2:15
  • Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Heb 13:4
  • Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 1 Cor 6:16

Last, when you don’t withhold sex in marriage, you become a co-creator with God.

Ref: Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” Gen 4:1

Effects of Withholding Sex on Marriage

Emotional and psychological impact

Picture this.

You have been vibrant during the day in the office. You are looking forward to a romantic evening with your wife.

It’s been one week since you got laid and you are all fired up. You even send her a seductive message to prepare her psychologically for the evening ahead.

The dinner is well set when you arrive.

But alas! When you hit the sheets, she turns to the other side of the bed. You try putting your hand on her waist but it’s turned away.

“Not today, darling. I have a headache”. She says.

Your ego instantly deflates.

That is the effect that withholding sex can have.

It leads to feelings of rejection, frustration, and loneliness for the partner seeking intimacy, impacting the emotional well-being of both spouses.

A couple in bed facing away from each other

Relationship dynamics

In the above example, you can do two of the following:

  1. Ignore the whole thing and also turn on the other side of the bed and hope to snore soon
  2. Take it to further discussion and seek to know if she really has a headache or if she is making it up.

Withholding sex in marriage can strain communication, trust, and overall relationship satisfaction, creating tension and distance between partners.

As if that is not enough, it can constitute a course for divorce in some states in the U.S. In a word, it can equate to constructive abandonment in the marriage.

Addressing Withholding Sex in Marriage

Now that we have seen what withholding sex can do to a marriage, let’s focus our attention on what you can do to salvage the situation.

Communication strategies

Once again, let us revisit our example of the chap whose sex advances were turned down above.

And let us further assume that he opted for the second option of discussing the reasons for the headache.

Open communication would probably involve getting the wife a painkiller and massaging her temples. This may thaw her and possibly reward the guy with a lay

Accordingly, honest communication about needs, desires, and concerns is essential in addressing issues related to withholding sex. 

Seeking guidance and support

Lastly, seeking professional guidance or counseling can also provide valuable support. This would be ideal for couples who have issues with incompatibility with desire and where one has a low sex drive.

Consulting pastoral or marital counselors, engaging in couples’ therapy, and exploring biblical teachings on intimacy can offer guidance and insights for navigating challenges related to withholding sex.

Be open with the counselor and withhold nothing in your quest for liberation. By so doing, you’ll be a step closer to salvaging your marriage.


In summary, navigating the complexities of withholding sex in marriage requires understanding, empathy, and proactive communication. 

By gaining insight into the biblical perspective discussed above, couples can strengthen their bond and foster deeper intimacy in their marriage.

As you embrace the biblical principles of love and mutual respect and address issues with compassion, you can foster a healthy and fulfilling intimate relationship.


Why do some spouses withhold sex in marriage?

Spouses may withhold sex due to unresolved conflicts, emotional distance, health issues, or differing sexual needs.

What does the Bible say about withholding sex?

The Bible emphasizes mutual respect, love, and consideration within marriage but may not provide specific directives on withholding sex.

How can couples address the issue of withholding sex?

Open communication, seeking professional guidance, and exploring biblical teachings on intimacy are key approaches to addressing withholding sex.

What are the emotional consequences of withholding sex?

Emotional consequences can include feelings of rejection, frustration, loneliness, and strained relationship dynamics.

Is withholding sex a common issue in marriages?

While not universal, withholding sex can be a challenging issue for some marriages, highlighting the importance of communication and mutual understanding.

Spread the love

Leave a Comment