How Do I Deal with a Wife Who Resists Intimacy?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad


My wife never desires intimacy, and I have done everything she desires to encourage her to be sweet with me when we are ready to be intimate. When I want to be intimate with her, the following happens most of the time.

She says she thinks she is having her period and that it is better not to be intimate. This is usually 10-15 days. When her period is definitely over, and I want to be intimate, she gets very cold and short-tempered with me. We end up fighting, and I lose interest in being intimate with her. When that happens, she immediately asks me angrily if I want to have sex. When I tell her I am not in the mood, she says I am the one rejecting sex.

What are my rights as a husband in this case?


Thank you for your question. I empathize with your frustration, and may Allah reward you for your patience, and may He soften your wife’s heart toward this matter so that everyone’s rights are fulfilled in a mutually satisfying way.

Legal Excuses

Although a woman should not refuse her husband, according to primary texts, there are times when intercourse is forbidden. This includes during her menstruation and post-natal bleeding. Also, she may refuse if she is not feeling well (see this link ). However, marriage is meant to produce chastity, aid one in overcoming temptation, support one another in fulfilling each other’s needs, and show love. Your wife should take some time to understand this.

Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “If a husband calls his wife to his bed, and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” [Bukhari]

Please see this beautifully detailed answer about the purpose of marriage :
Explaining Misunderstood Hadith About Women


That being said, if a woman refuses her husband based on her whims, which is sinful, he does not have the right to force her to sleep with him, nor can even a judge of an Islamic court force her to do so. This requires a deep uncovering and healing of a troubled marriage, and you will have to put in some effort to determine her impediments. Try communicating with her about the following things first:

  • Is she sick or unwell, or is intercourse painful?
  • Does she fear pregnancy? Can you both visit a doctor to discuss contraception?
  • Is she too tired from the daily duties and tending to the children? Can she get help?
  • Is she uncomfortable with her self-image and prefers that you not see her uncovered?
  • Is she angry with you for not being kind and helpful? Do you abuse her in any way?
  • Are there more serious problems at play, like some kinds of addiction?

Don’t Fight

The key is ensuring you don’t let it become a fight. Instead of telling her that she is obliged to sleep with him, tell her that she is beautiful and that you can’t think of anything but being with her. This is more likely to get results. Patience will get you much further. Also, my advice is to accept her and be intimate when she comes to you after the fight. Saying no will make it worse over time. Try learning her love language; this will make a big difference in how she responds to you: 5 love languages.

Check Yourself

Here are some valid complaints that affect a woman’s attraction to her husband, so pay heed:

  • He doesn’t smell good: Women are super sensitive to smell, especially when fertile, so brush your teeth, shower before bed AND in the morning, and you’ll increase you will increase your chances;
  • He is not aggressive enough: Don’t just lay around. Women like to see energy, and laziness turns them off;
  • He doesn’t help with housework: Helping with housework frees your wife up to get relaxed and be more excited to be with you;
  • He is boring: Every conversation is mundane. If you want your wife to undress on purpose for you, ask her some deep questions;
  • He engages in rude behavior: These things disgust women, burping, passing gas, and making misogynistic or dirty jokes. Instead, have finesse, like buying her flowers;
  • He doesn’t notice anything: If your wife changed her hair color, wore make-up, lost 10 pounds, or started dressing up, and you didn’t mention anything, she secretly begins to resent you.  Scan her in the morning.  If she looks good, tell her so;
  • He is really negative: Don’t nag her or patronize her if she does something wrong;
  • He doesn’t support her in public: Never make fun of your wife in public or private. That kind of joking is heartless and a turn-off;
  • He doesn’t care about his looks: Are you 20 pounds overweight and wearing clothes your wife hates? Everyone likes to be attracted to their partner. Perhaps ask her what she might like you to change about yourself and try the gym.

Turn to Allah

Last but not least, turn to Allah with your problems, supplicate for a solution, ask for your hearts to be opened to one another, give charity with the intention of facilitating this matter, and ask Him to guide you and improve you with this experience. Ask Him to safeguard you from the haram. And most of all, ask for patience and perseverance.

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin and completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.