I posted this on a marriage forum and decided to copy it here for discussion.
After what I put my dh through for so many years I think I can safely say that when a spouse withholds sex, it usually means that something is terribly, terribly wrong in their emotions. Either they are emotionally crippled from things in their past or they are just emotionally selfish in the marriage. (I was both.) Either way you look at it--- If they can't snap out of it when it's brought to their attention, then counseling is needed to turn their thinking around and it's up to the other spouse to push for it.
As for the sexually neglected spouses---
No sane person should have to live that way for years on end. If a spouse has a leg injury, diabetes, cancer, you name it... we'd be quick to force them to see a professional and we'd probably drag them to the doctor if needed. Why is it that whenever a spouse withholds sex, the neglected spouse begs, gets angry, looks elsewhere for sexual fulfillment or they simply throw their hands up and say "I give up" and resign themselves to live a life in a low-sex or a no-sex marriage?
After my awakening I told my dh, "Don't you ever let me get away with that again. God forbid, if I ever revert back to my habit/sin of withholding sex, you drag my ass if you have to but get me to a professional... and quickly." And I told him, "I don't care how angry I get or if I threaten you or whatever. Just do the right thing and get me help."
We shouldn't allow our spouses to sit home sick with physical or emotional illnesses and not see a professional just because they don't want to. There is nothing loving or healthy about that. So many sexually neglected spouses say, "... but I love my spouse. I don't want to force the issue because they'll be angry and things will get worse." How do you get worse than worse? If you love them, get them the help they need and quit leaving it up to them. They are in no emotional shape to decide if they need help.
Yes, if we stop being co-dependent with spouses who withhold sex, things could get uglier before they get better but what have you got to lose? If a sexually neglectful spouse would rather walk away from the marriage than receive help.... I would have to question the degree of their basic love for their spouse. If they really don't love, what's the point of keeping them from leaving? If they do love, then they should either act like it in the marriage bed or submit to getting help. Yes, pray for them. Of course, pray. But put feet to those prayers and be proactive in helping them to get well. Quit helping them to keep their sin of withholding sex, a dark secret. Sin won't leave unless it sees the Light.
Please post your opinions and state your reasons. I'd love to hear your thoughts.