I have been married for twenty-two years…. My husband tells me all the time that, in order to be intimate with me, he has to make me… and that I am frigid. I made the decision to love him unconditionally, but I am not intimate with him every day, and that is what he complains about each time…. Everything else that I do for him and for my children is invisible to him…. It seems that the only thing that is important to him is conjugal relations….

Maybe my problem with physical intimacy has something to do with the trauma I experienced when I was ten years old. My uncle tricked me into having sexual relations with him…. He would warn me not to tell anyone, because if I did, he would kill himself.

Dear Friend,

Your story is very tragic. We are very saddened to hear about it! You are doing the right thing by asking for help.

You say that “maybe” the problem has to do with the fact that you were sexually abused as a child. Being abused was horrible enough, but you were also betrayed and threatened by someone who was supposed to be trustworthy. Your uncle caused sexual relations to be intertwined in your brain with fear, shame, and betrayal. It is no wonder that you now have mixed feelings about your intimate relationship with your husband.

You don’t say that you have told your husband about your childhood trauma, so we must assume that you have not. We can’t imagine that he would call you frigid if he knew what happened to you. If he knew, he could be more understanding of your emotions. Please tell him your secret right away so that he will be more compassionate toward you.

The apostle Paul wrote that husbands and wives should not deprive each other of the sexual relationship as a healthy and good aspect of their marriage.(1) However, Paul did not specify exactly how often that married couples should have intimacy. Instead of being specific, he taught that there is a guideline. It is that every husband should love his wife as he loves his own body, giving the same priority to her as he gives to himself.(2) He has needs and she has needs, and neither of those is more important than the other.

Consequently, husbands who love their wives care about their wives’ feelings and emotions. When their intimate relationship is not satisfying to either of them, they should talk about it in a loving atmosphere, free of condemnation and ridicule. If there is a contributing cause, such as illness or a past traumatic event, then professional help is needed.

Research shows that the abuse that you experienced most likely has caused you to suffer from lasting mental and physical effects. Therefore, we believe that you should find a professional counselor to help you overcome the past and thrive in the present.

We wish you the best,

1 1Co 7:3-5
2 Eph 5:28