Is Having Intercouse Out of Obligation Damaging Your Marriage?

If you are in a marriage with someone that has a higher libido than you, there might be times when you have sex out of obligation. It is not wrong for all individuals to have physical intimacy out of obligation on occasion. The problem becomes when you have a steady diet of obligation sex.

If you are in a marriage with someone that has a higher libido than you, there might be times when you have sex out of obligation. It is not wrong for all individuals to have physical intimacy out of obligation on occasion. The problem becomes when you have a steady diet of obligation sex. 

Is Being Intimate Out of Obligation Ok For Couples

For some people, this works well. It helps them to meet the needs of their loved one. When it is done in a selfless way on occasion, it has its benefits for both people in the marriage.

An individual with a low libido that wants to show their spouse they care through sexual encounters is a good thing. Some people can do this without it affecting them negatively.

Not all romantic relationships benefit from obligation. There is a fair share of marriages where intimate relations out of obligation is damaging. 

Why Having Duty Sex Was Damaging to My Marriage

There have been times in my marriage where I’ve had sex out of obligation. In my marriage, this type of duty is not beneficial. After a few years, I realized how detrimental it was to my relationship. There wasn’t a time that I had duty sex that it didn’t cause me to feel a lot of resentment toward my husband.

One of two things would happen to make me feel resentment.

Sometimes I would start off not being in the mood. Maybe I was tired or not feeling well. Half the time, it would have started feeling good to me right when our time was over. I’d walk away feeling disappointed because I didn’t feel physically satisfied.

I did things to show him love all day.

If I wasn’t in the mood by the time it was over, I’d be mad. It felt like he was one more person in my life taking from me, but not giving back. I have always poured a lot of time and energy into the home.

Every day it is homemade meals to daily chores all while juggling kids. At the start of my marriage, I was doing most of it while he was at school or work.

Why Rejecting Sex Was Damaging My Husband

He felt rejected if he showed interest in being intimate with me and I declined. It wasn’t my intention to make him feel this way, but he did. If he caught me on a night I wasn’t interested, I’d go to him the next day for physical intimacy. That was my way of trying to make him feel better.

Even though I promptly had intimate time with him, the damage had been done. Just the words, “not tonight”, were devastating to him. 

He stopped pursuing me physically to avoid rejection.

By saying no to physical intimacy, I was telling him I didn’t love him. That was never what I was saying. It became a problem that was driving a wedge between us.

When I realized that he was not pursuing me for intimacy, I had to figure out how to want to have more intercourse. I needed to stop feeling resentment for spending time with him out of duty.


I asked myself why I was saying no


The low sex drive was my problem, and I needed to fix it. I asked myself why was I telling him “no”. This happened on a weekly basis. I made it a point to never say no more than once a week.

I know I’m not the only one that needs hours to get in the mood. Every night after dinner, I would wonder if we would be intimate that night. I’d read his body language. If he acted flirty, then I knew it would happen.

I Thought He Wasn’t Interested

If he wasn’t giving me the love making signs, then I would assume he wasn’t interested. If he didn’t seem interested, I would keep myself from feeling sexual desire. Just in case he didn’t pursue me, I didn’t want to feel disappointed.

At night we would get ready to get in the bed and suddenly he would be interested. For some reason, he would look over at me as if it were the first time he saw me all day. I would not be ready for being physical at this point. It was time to go to sleep in my mind.

I Took a Proactive Approach To My Sex Life


I decided it was time I took a more proactive approach. I didn’t want to keep hurting him by saying no. Also, I needed to stop feeling resentment and anger over feeling obligated.

Changed my mindset about intimacy

That is when I decided that every two days, we were going to have sex. I went ahead and told myself, every two days we would be intimate. If he didn’t approach me for intimacy on the second day, I would step outside of my comfort zone and go to him.

I am not suggesting that every couple out there should be together every two days. That is what has worked for our relationship. You need to decide for your own marriage what is best.

Overcoming the Fears of Asking for Sex


I don’t know about you, but it was really hard to ask for sex. It was hard to admit that I had those needs and I wanted him to fill them. It was necessary for my plan to work.

I had to come up with ways to help myself get in the mood. 

When I decided that we were going to be together more often, it made me get myself in the mood. I couldn’t wait around and hope he would flirt to get me in the mood. I had to make those things happen for myself.

Go HERE to read how I help myself get in the mood on the days I know we will be together.

Through working up my nerve, I figured out how to let him know we needed to spend intimate time together. Over the last few years, it has gotten easier for me to tell him what I need both physically and emotionally.

I encourage you to to look at your marriage and figure out how where you stand. Are you often declining intimacy? If so, why? Are you the one with a higher drive? How is your low drive partner making you feel?


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14 Responses

  1. Thank you for this article. I am not married but currently in a long term relationship. I love him so much but my sex drive has plummeted over the past 2 years (together over 4 years). I feel so guilty. I’ve come to the realization that there is no manual I can give him about how to turn me on and that its going to take more effort from myself to get in the sheets.

    1. Wow… Rene’ that is so hard. Many women feel the way you do. Your sex drive can be affected by so many different things. It could be hormones, a mental barrier you need to deal with, or just a stage in your life where you feel very tired. Either way, I think you are right, you have to make the effort. Don’t forget, that sexual intimacy is as much for you as it is for your significant other. I will tell you that I hold the belief that sex is for those that are married, and I realize that you are not. All of my posts will be from the perspective of a married individual, so I am not sure how that will translate for someone who is not in a marriage, but a long-term relationship like you are. Thanks for reading along with me. I really appreciate it. I hope that you will consider talking with your doctor about your sex drive. It might be something they can assist you with.

  2. I am sixty nine years old, married these last forty four years to the girl I adored and thought I would love and be loved by for the rest of our lives, having grown up in a family where love was totally absent it only accentuated my feelings of bliss that at last I could experience this exhilarating feeling that comes from both giving and receiving love. The only problem was that this meant that I was inexperienced in knowing how best to express my powerful feelings. The dilemma I faced was that I felt awkward, shy and embarrassed at showing my love and affection while at the same time wanting so much to do just that.
    Both virgins on our wedding day, saving ourselves for our special time was so important and while it had been a struggle for me at least, I was glad that I had managed it.
    Three children arrived, the first seven years into our marriage, and our relationship seemed all anyone could want it to be. Never were there any serious disagreements and we did what we could to provide a happy and loving environment for our children. The contrast to the upbringing I had, could not have been more evident, I considered myself most fortunate to finally be in a loving relationship. Our sex life was enjoyable if not hugely adventurous and always initiated by me, if I didn`t start it, it didn`t happen. I was slow to pick up on this point and by around 2001 thought that it was only me that was benefiting from our conjugal relations which caused me to have a range of feelings, not the least of which were ones of my inadequacy on my part. I was not giving pleasure to my girl. This did very little for my self confidence and made me wonder if this had been the case all along, could I have missed the signs for thirty odd years? Had I been receiving obligation sex without realizing it all this time? I stopped initiating sex with my wife sometime during 2001 to 2002 and that was the last time we had sex. I mean with anyone, I have never been intimate with anyone other than my wife and I am sure the same applies to her with me and I have no inclination to change that. I will not pretend that this has not had serious consequences on our relationship, it is in a very deep hole, having left me feeling emasculated and inadequate. I am left feeling devoid of love and affection with strong feelings of resentment. In 2014, I attempted to engage in a serious discussion about our relationship as I could see the situation only getting worse otherwise, this was rejected, which left me feeling surprised, disappointed, sad and only built on my already emasculated self. I felt great resentment and anger and sadness that our marriage had degraded to this extent. My great fear is that we have passed the point of no return, for love to form and develop there needs to be a germ, a seed a spark, from which such feelings can flourish, for me that spark has been snuffed out. To imagine how that can be reversed, turned around at this stage, is outside my comprehension, sadly.
    Too late, I accept my share of responsibility for where we are today. I at least, assumed that all was rosy, that a good marriage, which I thought we had, could survive without good housekeeping, without conversation directed at maintaining the right environment. If I could give advice to my younger self those forty plus years ago, it would be to be more open and frank in talking through our thoughts, fears, hopes,dreams however awkward and uncomfortable it may seem at the time. Marriage is an investment, maybe not the obvious large financial one such as ones house but an emotional one and no less important. It takes work and the work needs to start early to form the habit.

    I would ask that should you use any of my account that my full name should not be made public. Thank you

    1. goodness, that is such a very difficult thing that you are dealing with. I will pray for you and your wife. It is hard to have gotten this far and to feel that disconnected from one another.

  3. I’m 38; we’ve been married for 17 years. We have 4 kids and a pretty active sex life.

    We didn’t always. I used to buy into the Feminist lie that it’s your body 100%. It didn’t work; bought nothing but trouble.

    It’s not just sex that a wife is obligated to. It’s sex, the way he wants it, with enthusiasm. If you have to fake that orgasm, get good at it. Sex with a smile, 21 days out of the cycle.

    Don’t want to do that? Keep control of your body– stay single. End of line.

    1. I’m having a hard time understanding if you feel some bitterness towards your spouse for the sex life that you guys have or if you are just sharing how you have grown in intimacy with your husband. Are you feeling frustrated with the way your sex life is going?

  4. My wife will do it with me if I ask, but I can tell she’s not into it. She never initiates either. I’ve stopped asking for a number of years; why should two people suffer rather than one? Now I just masturbate to porn when I’m doing number two, and visit a prostitute on occasion. When people tell me that sex is a gift from God, I wish so much I had a way to return it to the store; it’s nothing but a sick scam or a really poorly implemented product. Oh and as strongly recommended, we saved ourselves too till after our wedding day; big difference that made.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that you are in a sexless marriage. That hurts my heart Sex is a gift from God my friend. However, people are sinful, and we do sinful things.

      I encourage you to share this article with your wife if she’ll read it –

      I encourage you to read these articles-,

  5. Hi,
    first thank you Keelie for starting this discussion.
    My situation is unusual as I am the withdrawing husband from the sex field. Although I use to enjoy sex with my partner for the first 5 years of our marriage, I was always shy to ask, and more than often choosing not to face my inner discomfort but instead drifting toward porn as a solution.
    We have been married 13 yrs and i’m 36yrs old, 2 kids. Things have escalated big time when I started to loose my erection during sex, often not able to cross the finish line. Although, she has been willing and stepping forward to initiate our intimate moments for most of our marriage life, now I am withdrawing unequivocally, letting her no choice.
    I resonate with your message Mr.M in regards to the feeling of desperation to bring things back together. Having lived my life so long without taking the responsibility to be there for my partner’s desire. I feel backward and emasculated as well.
    I agree with you MC, you solved it. You found the strength to resolve it yourself “like a man” comes to mind, keeping your family happy, together, giving the best chance you could to your offspring. i’m sure you have a happier life than most who read this blog. You are a hero.
    I have a family now and what matters is that I do my part to keep it together and have a happy family. Sex is not the problem. The problem is that I am winging and irresponsible, using such a simple thing as sex as a lever to demonstrate to my living partner that I am dying inside and I can/will bring her down with me unto that path. Unfortunately, I’d rather keep on complaining and crying “poor me” instead of facing the cruel penetrating reality that I’m unloving, that I never did but always held up love, refusing to share the the fruits of it; withholding my body, my sexuality, my attention, my care… all those things that living people want and seek for themselves. I am playing the “zero-sum game”, you lose, I win situation. If you, my partner, is not happy to lose anymore, then we play lose-lose. It doesn’t matter to me cause I know that I am already losing, that is my choice. This is how cruel and despicable I have let myself to become. This is me that haven’t grown up to face life with energy and desire in spite of its inherent suffering.
    It is not an “all of a sudden, woke up like that” situation. This is what we call a sin, a wrong/unwise decision which repeated over and over lead to no-mans-land. It is the sin of omission. For days after days having omitted my inner self, silenced my inner voice, got by like a shadow, or more precisely staying in other people’s shadow, refusing to take on any fight that matters for me, until the life force in me faded. Unable/shy to ask for what I need, the very primary instinct that every baby has … was silenced by me.
    Here for all to see, the monstrosity, the calamity of what is called a sin.
    note to myself: “Say what you must, don’t leave it there” The Miserables.

    To all out there, this may sound harsh for some of you “Disney kids”, but forgive the man talking while sleeping, hoping to bring myself to wake up.
    Good luck fellow.

    I would humbly ask, should you use any of my comment, to not publish my personal details. Thank you.

  6. Hi, I am married to my husband for 37 years. I am in my early 70’s so is my husband. He would like sex more often, like every two days. I can’t always obliged him. I have vaginal dryness which affects it as well. I get migraine out of the blue, I cannot predict them. Also, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis 30 or more years ago and it has been giving me a lot of pain the last year or so. The migraine makes the osteoporosis flare up a lot where I hardly have any control over. Please I would like it if you pass on some helpful information for us.

    1. Here’s a few questions: What does it mean to “oblige” him? Have you also enjoyed sexual intimacy in the past? Do you feel sex is mostly for him? And has he perhaps absorbed that message as well, not believing that sex can be as good for you but expecting it as his right within marriage? It’s quite possible you’re using that phrasing because you want to lovingly care for him now, even if it’s not as good for you as it once was, but it’s also possible that a lot of misunderstanding about sex in marriage is wrapped up in that word choice.
      I’d make it clear that sex is not supposed to be painful, and it obviously is at least uncomfortable for you. You don’t owe him sex if it costs you physical pain. Rather, the best option is trying to get to the underlying cause of pain and resolve that, for which she should see a doctor. It’s possible that, given her headaches and vaginal dryness, your experiencing hormonal challenges that can be addressed somewhat.
      When you do have flareups of this or that, you should be able to say “not now” and suggest an alternative time to try. Rain checks are completely fine in marriage, and they only postpone sex, not take it off the table. It would be important to follow up when you feel better and able to engage, and might need some tips or encouragement for initiating at times that are better for you.
      And finally, sex does not have to involve penetration. You could be on hand for other forms of stimulation where your husband can reach climax, but that doesn’t cause you pain.

  7. A little insight from a husband of 20 years: (not counting abusive husbands or any hygiene issues) It is so interesting how most of the time, how different men and women seem to see sex. Many times women do not marry for love and/or sex anyway. Men mostly do. At least at first. Many times the husband is actually not the first choice, but the man that she really wanted physically, the one that turned her on, did not want to get married. Ladies/wives, let me tell you, if you are not in the mood, or just refuse, or say no more often than not, or whatever, you can do that, but your husband sees that as a personal rejection. If you do not initiate, he will feel unwanted and unloved. If you treat him this way intentionally, or unintentionally for long enough, he will stop desiring you altogether. It will turn into resentment for time lost, and a huge regret and disappointment in his life. He will eventually have to find another outlet for that part of him, whatever that is. It’s not about you always being in the mood. If you want him to stay with you, not just physically under the same roof, but also mentally and emotionally, understand what your lack of interest in sex is doing to him, before it is too late, and he passes the point of no return, even if just in his own heart, if nothing else. Refuse at your own peril. He needs it from somewhere, he needs hope.

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