Intimacy After Loss

Over the last few months we have received emails from several of you who have recently suffered a loss in your lives.  You have asked about how to handle intimacy in the midst of losing a loved one.  One woman even asked if one of us had personally had any experience living through this ourselves.  Everyone processes grief differently, but here is my story.

I lost my grandmother six years ago.   She & I were extremely close to the point where she was truly my second mom.  I grew up next door to her and she taught me how to sew on her old Singer sewing machine, how to bake cupcakes, and how to make homemade biscuits.  When my parents fought (which happened a lot) she was my refuge and took me in.  When I was sick at school, she is the one who would come pick me up.  As I grew into a woman she remained one of my best friends and you could find me at her house multiple times a week.  She was truly a woman of God and I had so much admiration for her.

When she was eighty-eight years old, Cancer took her from me and her death was a blow that was so hard to recover from.  My children were 2 & 4yrs at the time and I remember trying so hard to be strong in front of them….and then when I was alone, in the bathroom, driving, lying in bed, doing dishes, wherever…. I would grieve her loss the most.  I felt like no one understood the bond I had with her, and I felt like my children had been robbed of being able to know the best person in the world.

I remember being so upset that I just wanted to be held by my husband.  I also remember a period of time where I was just numb.  I think I had cried so much that there was nothing left but numbness, and I just wanted everyone to leave me alone, including my husband.

But during that time where I was slowly coming out of the grief, and coming back to myself, I remember wanting my husband to make love to me to give me some normalcy.  One of my primary love languages is physical touch, and so I wanted that intimacy between us so that I could feel my husband’s love for me.  Orgasm wasn’t as important, but I did want to feel him inside me.  I wanted to feel us joined together.  I wanted to know that our lives and our love would go on.  I wanted that reassurance.

My husband thought that the “nice thing to do” would be to not initiate sex with me at all, because he didn’t want me to feel pressured, and he didn’t want to come off as a jerk after I had just experienced such a tragic loss… and I wasn’t bold enough (or good enough with my communication) to just tell him that I actually NEEDED sex with him.  So for a little while I wanted/needed that connection to him but didn’t get it because he thought he was doing the right thing.  But sex would have been comforting to me.

You may not be like me at all.  Everyone processes grief in a different way.  My only advice to you would be to make sure that your husband knows what you want/need from him during this difficult time.  You may go through periods of different emotions such as anger, profound sorrow, bitterness, emptiness, fear, numbness, and many others.  Just allow yourself to be human and know that you have a husband and family who are here for you in whatever capacity you need them to be.  And your heavenly Father is also here with you, holding you in His arms.  You are not alone.

If anyone would like to share a testimony of how you were able to live through grief and how the intimacy in your marriage was affected, please use the comment box.


  1. I lost my Grandmother to a stroke this past fall. She loved her Lord so much and gave that love to me. During the two weeks that she was in the hospital I would come home at night and just cry but I always wanted that connection with my man. Every night my hubby loved me and it was a gift from God that helped get me through. I needed to feel that something was solid in my life, I needed to feel him in me and be reminded that I wasn’t going through this loss all by myself. Thank you for posting this, it rang so true with me.

  2. Wow. Thanks for sharing ^_^.

  3. When my dh’s dad was dying of cancer, I found that one thing I could do to help dh was to be available sexually. There were a few times we had amazing sex – not just physically amazing, but very emotionally imtimate.

  4. I lost my mom almost 15 months ago. She had endured years and years of sickness with many of those with me by her side. I was so grateful when she finally went home to be with the Lord. I hated seeing her suffer. I miss her more than I ever thought possible. With the help of great friends, and a great lady that has stepped in as that mom figure, and of course with my hubby, I have been able to sort through the grief and pain and live life as the woman that God created me to be.

    Hubby and I had gone away for our anniversary, which we almost didn’t do because we knew it could be a matter of days. We didn’t go far, (45 min) so we could make it back in time in case if she went further downhill. So, during our weekend away we had some amazing times together!!! She passed away the day after we got home. For that whole week, hubby knew not to initiate sex with me. I could not wrap my mind or my thoughts around the idea of being intimate. My head and my heart just were not there, and I didn’t want to offer him less than I knew I was capable of. I think it is perfectly fine to be intimate during the course of dealing with loss, I just couldn’t do it. However, this was back when I enjoyed times with hubby, but hadn’t had “my awakening” yet, which I am still working on! So, things might have been different if my view of sex back then had been different. I don’t remember how long we waited after she passed, but I know that we eased back into it on the pace that I could handle and hubby was extremely thoughtful and patient during that time.

    Hope that wasn’t too long. Just wanted to try to explain where I was coming from and what my thoughts were during that time.

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