My husband’s personal hygiene, or lack of it, is a big turn-off for me. He brushes his teeth only in the morning, never before sex. He doesn’t use deodorant. He never washes up before sex. And he doesn’t bathe enough in general.

I try to set an example. I am always very clean and well-groomed. Granted, some people are earthier than I am. He’s one. Smells don’t seem to bother him. I might be considered prissy by many, but at the same time, I just can’t get interested in the idea of sex unless the man is well-groomed and clean. How can I get him to wash up, especially before sex?


  • Michael Castleman says:

    I agree. Poor personal hygiene is a major turn-off. If you haven’t sat him down and told him in no uncertain terms that he’s turning you off, I would urge you to do that. A similar approach would be to bathe or shower together before sex. Independent of cleanliness issues, bathing and showering are relaxing and involve massage and whole-body sensuality, all of which contribute to great sex. As an added benefit, bathing or showering together also resolve the issue you raise. If neither of those approaches work, I would urge you and your husband to consult a sex therapist. If he hears your complaints in the presence of a professional, he might change his ways. Of course, he might refuse to go. In that case, I urge you to go by yourself. A sex therapist may be able to help you coax him toward cleanliness. To find a sex therapist near you visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists or the Society for Sex Therapy and Research.

  • erica says:

    I agree with Michael. I think you gotta tell him outright–but gently–that he needs to shower more often. Leading by example isn’t enough when he probably doesn’t even notice the difference. Also, you might also try complimenting him when he’s clean. Fuss over him, tell him how good he smells, how much that arouses you, etc. I also really like the idea of bathing together before/during sex.

  • Emmy says:

    Nothing about your question would have me read any of these things into it, but I just had a few comments about the hygiene topic. Sometimes I feel, through experiences of my own, as well as those of friends, family, that some folks may have other issues with bad hygiene as well. It sounds as if this is just the way your husband rolls.

    Many people are like this. However, some lack motivation due to depression, exhaustion from work, for example. Maybe there is an issue with fetishism(not sure that is the appropriate term, is this a paraphilia?) in some people regarding aromas, smells. I certainly have run across persons who like armpit odors, the natural(unwashed) scent of their partners genitalia for instance.

    Is there a problem with alcohol, drug use, prescription or otherwise, that interferes with activities of daily living? I think some people think that persons with OCD are always fastidiously clean, but I may have it all wrong. I thought in some cases this could manifest itself in just the opposite behavior. I’m thinking of an extreme case of course, as in Howard Hughes, but these cases are not always so severe. This certainly does not sound like the case with your husband, but I was just commenting on looking at this in a big picture perspective. Maybe WAY too big, as in zebras not horses. Best of luck to you, as it is such a sensitive topic and involves not only his feelings, but certainly yours. Don’t you deserve to be comfortable in your environment while having sex? I think, yes.

  • Gabi says:

    My husband is the same. Always complaining that I’m not very sexual with him, we don’t kiss enough, I don’t touch him but… How could i? I left for 3 weeks from home on a trip and I took the only tooth paste from the house with me thinking he would buy a new one. I come back home and notice there is no new tooth paste in the house and I asked him. “Haven’t you brushed your teeth for 3 weeks???? His reply was “Of course I did! Just not with tooth paste! And he was so upset with me for making that comment.
    Another time he said he is going to poo… He went, came back with his hands dry, and asked me if i want a toast… I asked him if he washed his hands and he said again very offended that of course he did… I took his hand and smelled it… It was smelling really bad of smoke (he is a smoker)
    I told him those hands are not washed and how can he lie to me and offer to make me a toast after that and he starts telling me again very offended that he did wash his hands but not with soap!!!
    How can someone be like that?? I can’t kiss him, I don’t feel like touching him even if he has a shower because every time I do, I remember the times he did not wash and his attitude toward me, calling me obsessed with hygiene. We spoke again about this today as he’s very frustrated by my lack of desire for him. He told me that that’s who he is, he is happy with hinself and I should be the one changing to make him feel loved. Where is this going? I’m losing my respect for him with each conversation and each bitter angry comment he makes about my obsession and lack of love…

  • Michael Castleman says:

    Dear Gabi: It sounds like mutual resentments over hygiene are poisoning your marriage. If you value the relationship, I urge the two you to consult a marriage counselor/therapist to explore your feelings with professional coaching and to make changes that allow you to live together more harmoniously.

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