Married but Deprived of Sex and Children

Question and answer details
A (30_female_Pakistan)
As-salamu alaikum. This is a great place for us women to have their problems addressed. May Allah bless all involved. Coming to the point: I have been married for two and a half years. My husband is a divorcee who has a 15 years old son and lives with us. My parents married me to him because of deen – yet, there is very little deen. Alhamdulillah haram is avoided but besides that there is not much of Islam in our house. My husband only recently started going for Friday prayers, but he has a beard. He is a decent enough man and I like him. However, my first worry is that after marriage, he told me that he does not want to have any children and does not intend to have a family. I adore kids and have always wanted a bunch of children. This is a dream. My second worry is that because of this above reason, my husband makes sure he does not have intercourse with me. This means that he usually makes me make him reach orgasm manually. He also tells me to use my mouth. Alhamdulillah there is no ejaculation in the mouth, but the rest takes place in the mouth. I have never reached orgasm with him. Every time there is sexual activity, I am left in limbo and this disturbs my life because it brings me to the third issue. My third worry is that due to being sexually unsatisfied, I indulge in masturbation. I know it is haram and feel depressed and disgusted with myself. This act disturbs my life so much as I leave prayer because I feel I am horrid. Once I leave prayer, all my peace is gone and I cannot explain to you the state I go into. I believe that I am the worst person on earth and Allah must really hate me. I have tried talking to him about the children issue. He knows that it is haram. We heard it in reliable religious lectures together that this act is haram. Yet he goes on with it. When I try talking to him about the sexual issue, he just tells me not to eat his head. I have tried to be patient. I don't pester him and pressurize him all the time. I pray and pray to Allah. My question is what I can do. I have been considering divorce. I don't want to leave him as this will break him and the image he has in the eyes of his son. Talking to him and praying I am doing as well as giving sadaqah. I have also asked Allah to forgive me profusely because troubles are the result of our sins. What else I could do? Thank you.
Dr. Maryam Bachmeier

As-Salam ‘Alaykum Sister,

I am sorry to hear you are facing such challenges that you suffer so much. You seem disappointed with your marriage on more than one level. Let’s look at the first concern. You are not satisfied with the level of spiritual practice in your home. My question to you is this: If you were not unhappy otherwise, and since your husband is an honorable man and you like him well enough, would you be happy enough to develop your own routine of studying Quran, praying the regular prayers, and seeking to grow spiritually thereby bringing this spiritual energy into your home by your actively seeking relationship with Allah? Or are you seeking a very spiritual man and thus cannot be happy without a deeper level of spirituality in the husband? And, to be realistic, what are the chances of finding a man who exhibits a deep level of spirituality in the manner that you speak of? Is it possible that your husband’s level of desire to be pious and to understand spiritual matters is within him, and he just does not show it? He does seem to be able to keep himself from the temptations of this world that cause harm and destruction. Is it possible that your wishing for a deeper level of Islam from your husband is more of a desire to have a deeper relationship with him? Consider these questions, and then see how you feel about your marriage. If you find that you do want to have a closer relationship with your husband, perhaps you can talk to him about this possibility.

With the issue of having children, I must ask, did you discuss this prior to marriage? It is unfortunate when people marry with the assumption of children, because we are living in a changing world and many people are truly afraid that they will not be able to provide for children properly. Is your husband afraid that he cannot handle the responsibility? Have you and your husband talked about the reasons that he does not want children? I sense that what is lacking between you and your husband is both communication and the ability to meet each other’s

 emotional needs.

Often times, women believe that if they are not fulfilled emotionally with the marital relationship, children will fill that void. However, this is rarely the case. Children and family can be a blessing, if the married couples have a good communication between each other, know how to support each other emotionally and physically, and they have the means to provide for children in a world where life can sometimes be quite harsh.

With all this said, my suggestion is to try to talk with your husband and discover what is behind his hesitation to have children. Be open and listen to what he has to say. Try to understand his reasons whether they be legitimate or just fears. Then, see if you are able to develop a communication and friendship with your husband that can sustain itself whether or not you have children. Separate this issue from your sexual issue. Develop relationship on a heart level, and an emotional connection. Get to know your husband as a human being. Learn what his beliefs about Allah are. Learn about his worldview. Find out how he feels about his family and learn what his dreams for his life are. Feel him. Then, if you are certain that you cannot be happy with the individual that you know, be honest and talk to a trusted member of your family and then decide if you want to remain in the marriage, or if you want to ask for divorce.

The last issue to work through is the sexual issue. Indeed, there are many ways for husband and wife to mutually satisfy each other sexually that does not require ejaculation inside the woman so that conception is prevented. This is not the proper forum to discuss actual sexual methods. However, if you put the effort into developing a friendship based on trust, and you are able to connect emotionally to your husband, then you will be able to create an emotionally safe environment where you can express your sexual needs to him.

It is likely that once he becomes aware of your needs, he will be happy to accommodate you. This will probably make him quite happy also. It is natural for a man to want to fulfill a woman. Basic nature, so trust me on this. Just make sure you are not presenting your needs in a way that is engaging a power struggle or to make him feel bad. Be sincere and honest about what you want and need sexually. I doubt he will deny you.

For further guidance, please try the following links:

A Marriage Void of Sex and Intimacy

The Dance of Intimacy for A Better Marriage


About the Counselor:

Dr. Bachmeier is a clinical psychologist who has been working in the mental health field for over 15 years. She is also a former adjunct professor at Argosy University, writer, and consultant in the areas of mental health, cultural, and relationship issues.

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