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Independent expert answers
on psychiatry and psychology

Love but no Sex

Abstract: By the Madonna-Whore complex is meant men who do not want sex with their wifes because they see them as their mothers.

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Love but no Sex

Intelligent natural language question-answering in the area of psychology and psychiatry. Ask a simple question  Local help Info

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Written by: Written by: Gunborg Palme, certified psychologist and certified psychotherapist, teacher and tutor in psychotherapy.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 24 Aug 2008.

My partner tells me that I am the only woman he loves and the only woman he feels happy, joyful, comforted and comfortable with. He tells me that he likes me physically and that he loves me but ... because he can't find the passion, he doesn't feel desire and hardly touches me. He kisses me but nothing else. He can have sex with other women he doesn't love.


This is called the Madonna-whore complex. If you are not satisfied with this solution, you need to find another man who loves you and wants to make love to you.

Wikipedia describes the Madonna-whore complex in this way:

The term Madonna-whore complex refers to a psychological complex in Freudian psychoanalysis that develops in the human male. The term is also used popularly, often with subtly different meanings.

According to Freudian psychology, this complex often develops when the sufferer is raised by a cold and distant mother. Such a man will often court women with qualities of his mother, hoping to fulfill a need for intimacy unmet in childhood. Often, the wife begins to be seen as mother to the husband — a Madonna figure — and thus not a possible object of sexual attraction. For this reason, in the mind of the sufferer love and sex cannot be mixed, and the man is reluctant to have sexual relations with his wife, for that, he thinks unconsciously, would be as incest. He will reserve sexuality for "bad" or "dirty" women, and will not develop normal feelings of love in these sexual relationships.

Popularly, the term is used to describe an unsatisfiable desire by a man to have his wife or other female partner exhibit both of these mutually exclusive traits. This introduces a dilemma where men may feel unable to love any women that can satisfy them sexually and are unable to be sexually satisfied by any women that they can love. Alternatively, the term is to describe or attempt to justify the behavior of men who pursue multiple women as a way of fulfilling each of these needs.

Psychotherapy can often help people like your husband.

Intelligent natural language question-answering in the area of psychology and psychiatry. Ask a simple question:
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