Insight To Refusal

I wrote this as a response to someone else's post, but decided it was too long to just let be a response - it was deserving of its own post.

In response to "i wish there were a group on EP for refusers." and wanting to know their perspective/motives etc -- having been somewhat of a refuser - I'm thinking explaining reasoning may offer some insight?

The bf before my husband, I just didn't love him, and couldn't bring myself to reciprocate intimacy. I really really did cared for him and loved him deeply but only as a friend. I was young, and still figuring my sh!t out, and didn't want to hurt him so I didn't break up with him, couldn’t bring myself to do it. I finally got the guts and broke it off - knowing I was hurting him more by stringing him along.
I truly think a lot of the sexless marriages are in existence for this very reason – a deep love but not an intimate one. It may not have started that way, but over time that was where the relationship ended up. Most are too scared and/or selfish to let the other one go, or genuinely think staying is for the best.

With my husband - we're up and down with our sexual compatibility. We've been together about a decade (only married a few of them) - and certainly have had our times where we were in-synch and for sure others when we we're not.

Thinking of the times when we're not in-synch - there are various reasons where there was refusal (by both parties - not just me). Our main problem - too much pot smokin'. And while we can acknowledge/recognize it when we're rational calm and discussing thing - nothing changes. We’ve also had our times where we’ve let outside stresses affect our relationship (be it work, a roommate, family members illness). Both of us battle depression, and at times that will bubble up in one of us and overtake our mood for a few months – especially in the winter.

Other times – I think this is probably more to the point of this thread/forum – are times when he's in the mood and I'm not - well quite frankly - he just doesn't try hard enough. Yes, in his mind he's trying , but really a one handed half-assed neck rub sooo ≠ foreplay in my book. Sorry dude, but if I wasn't in the mood, you're just going to have to try a little bit hard than that. Then he just gets frustrated and gives up after 2 minutes. The juices just weren't quite flowing yet man. You had peaked my interest, but I wasn't quite there yet. I’ll end up thinking to myself “Fine, I was almost near sleep anyway, psssh no skin of my back I wasn’t in the mood anyway” and will roll away from him assuming the “spoon me” position drifting back to dream land.

Then there’s when I'm just not in the mood and I think there’s a pretty good reason to be justified in refusing sex. When I'm genuinely tired, feeling extra contemplative and want to be left alone with my thoughts, or am right in the middle of doing something else that I'd like to at least finish first. It’s horribly frustrating and hurtful to be the sole party blamed for when we don’t sex – am I’m never allowed to ever have not in the mood feelings? I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want me to just lie there and let you have your way with me. That would have to be pretty boring sex anyway. I know I'm not the only woman alone in feeling (even if it is incorrect) that it is all too easy for guys when they're not in the mood - theevery once and a while, when you're not into it, well your parts just aren't gonna work. Discussion over. For us gals, well, we have no - "well can't get it up sorry honey" to fall back on. And lucky/heh - unlucky - for me - my hubby doesn't buy the whole I'm not lubed up enough as an excuse.

Sometimes, well sometimes he's just kinda sub-par. I'll be honest. The same foreplay routine, starting at the top kissing for less than a minute, working your way down pawing at me, but not really paying attention to what you’re doing, resulting in 5 forgettable minutes of wonderbread missionary sex - well it gets old. Over many years, I've learned my husband will always fail to listen to instructions - be it how to properly do the laundry, preparing certain foods, or my bedroom turn ons and offs. I've learned to be patient, and try not to nag too much, but every once and a while he needs to be reminded - honey, I don't like it when you do that move. Honey, you're not doing oral quite right - you can't do that move yet. He's not gonna know if I don't tell him. I think a lot of women just expect their partners to be mind readers with elephant like memories. He doesn't get my verbal cues (certain moans mean wow you're doing that right - keep doing that) - and he probably never will - as much as I'd love it if he were able to read and respond to them.

I think another big one is being accused of using sex as a weapon. Or rather – withholding sex as a weapon. I’ve been accused of this, and will not deny that it hasn’t been done, but if it has it’s been hardly ever, and never a time that I can immediately recall. This hurts and enrages me more than most things in an argument. Sure, I’ve said as a joking threat – stop being such an ******* or I’m not having sex for x days/weeks/months etc. but I’m pretty sure I’ve never actually followed through with such a threat. I maintain, that most of the time if we’re fighting – it’s not that I’m not having sex with you to **** him off, its because *I’m* pissed off, and well I’m not ready to forgive you and there’s no way in hell I’m going to enjoy it when I’m this pissed off at you. When you call me the C word, say I’m lazy, or say I have no credibility – even if it IS in the heat of an argument, and you didn’t really mean it – well no sh!t Sherlock – of COURSE I’m not having sex with you in the immediate future.


I think what has kept us together and from killing or leaving each other, is that I've been able to step aside from my selfishness in the times in life when I’m low libido. Where I differ from a lot of women partners in sexless marriages – I can recognize that sex is important - for my husband. It’s important BOTH of you. There are chemicals in your brain and body that are released that affect your whole being - your overall health physically and emotionally/mentally that happen when we have sex.

Sometimes, you just have to buck up when you're not in the mood. And no, faking it doesn't count. No one wants to screw someone just lying there. (ok correction, I'm sure there's some fetish for that - but I'm getting off topic). If you’re not in the mood like all the time, sometimes you just have to let go and go with the flow of the moment. Find a connection - get something out of the moment, mentally or physically. More often than not, if you just try to get into it even just a little, after a little bit it turns into – hey this aint so bad – and you end up feeling a little better when its all over in some way – either emotionally closer to your partner, or that happy euphoric physical release we all need.
Girls, you have to communicate - if you don't like it because he's humpin like a rabbit - tell him to slow down. If he has a horrible foreplay move you just can’t get past, tell him. Sometimes you have to remind him, he may have forgotten when you told him two weeks ago. Guys, if you can finally get her to buck up and take one for the team, but she's still just lying there – is it your technique that’s lacking? If you’ve tried to mix things up, and she’s still juts lying there like a corpse - ask her to make some noises or talk dirty, move back, do something to let you know when you've done something right.

Be sure to tell your partner your needs are important. Drudge up and show them the psychological studies about brain chemistry and sex and health. That was a big eye opener for me years ago. If they cares about you at all (which I'm going to guess many of them still do - maybe not in the same ways they used to, but does have some form of love) they’ll hopefully get the hint and try. -- If they don’t, well I’d bet it's probably been over for a long time, and you're not doing any favors by staying together. If children are involved I'd bet you're fighting a lot outside of the bedroom too, so sticking it out is actually bad for them. Even if there is no fighting, one or both of their parents are still really sad all the time - they can sense that even as babies.

Good luck to everyone in this icky situation. I’d say give it some time, and you’ll figure things out- but some of you have been going through this for years. But something has brought you here to EP, so there has already been a spark for change. Hang in there!
>>much love<<
S74rxed S74rxed
36-40, F
7 Responses Jul 17, 2010

Thank you for your response. I found it very enlightening and it also provided an added dimension to your story. The most valuable insight you provided was what you did to discover the whys of the lack of desire and your experiments. I am glad the experiments worked out for you and your husband. I think your reply is deserving of a post of its own. Be well.

"I'd like to know if you yourself initiate.." – Yes "...in that do you feel moved by desire or lust yourself, for sex, for your husband, and then let him know or make advances on him" Of course. Though at times in our past, me doing this had been far unbalanced in our relationship. I can admit there were times that where I didn't initiate as often as I should for sure - or even speaking up when I wanted to (I can't explain why I didn't, I just don't know - selfishness in wanting to be the one always pursued?).<br />
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I'd say over the past year though, I’ve worked on changing myself for the better. We hit our lowest around year ago - we went through a pretty rocky patch that had been getting worse for a few years (from the time even before we were married). The question of divorce was on both our minds and we even did openly talk about it a little - we were both looking for a change or an out but worked it out. A few months at a time could go by with no sex, and that wasn’t working for either of us. Before that, we never really had many problems (in the sex department). One of the main issues we’re trying to work on overcoming is our different circadian rhythms. Working opposite shifts has really messed with both of us. I remember when I couldn't sleep if he was there, now I find myself quite enjoying sprawling out in the empty bed, and feeling like my covers and space is being stolen when it isn’t empty. All too often we're both full of desire at different times because of our schedules. I'm usually more "on" right before bed, which is often and unfortunately after he has left for work, and he's more "on" in the mornings. On the weekends he has off work he’s getting up and going to bed at strange hours.<br />
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I'd like to think I'm waaay more of an initiator now in the past 6 months or so, more and more it sees I can be more than even he is. I'm not sure this is because he doesn't try as much after getting rejected for so long, if I'm just beating him to the punch, or if our rough patch was so bad we're returning what was long ago normal for us. I can't totally remember our early days a decade ago but I'd like to remember myself being a minx - but maybe that's just how I choose to remember myself? This group - the SM doesn't totally fit our relationship right now - things are for the most part pretty good, but we've certainly had our ruts in the past (hence why I joined the SM group). <br />
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"To me it does feel that we are to some extent responsible for bringing our own desire" -- <br />
Tooootally agree - I have been learning that in myself for a while now. I think this is especially true for those of us who crave and are fulfilled by the mental/emotional intimacy connection over a physical one. If we don’t work on nurturing our physical drive, it can fade like an atrophied muscle. I suppose the same is for those of who find themselves with an intense physical drive, but don’t nurture the emotional/mental side. When they don’t learn to find the enjoyment of some goofy pillow talk with no expectation for putting out before drifting off to sleep, they may never understand where their partner is coming from. <br />
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One thing I started really looking at and trying to understand was the biological chemical side to sexual relationships. In our rocky time a year ago, I started to crush on a coworker, and found myself having thoughts of almost falling for him. The feelings were pretty intense, and confused me. Knowing that the lusty thoughts were all tied to dopamine, and acknowledging my slight addiction issues, it was no wonder I was thinking about that guy all the time. That dopamine was wreaking all kinds of havoc for me, and I was looking for a way to understand it better / help it be suppressed? When I was trying to learn more about the lust/dopamine connection and how it related to addiction I stumbled across a few articles that went on to talk about oxytocin. As much as I wished I could get that lusty dopamine rush thinking about husband, I learned that it was totally normal to not have those kinds of feelings. But this oxytocin thing, it seemed pretty interesting. It was then I started initiating sex more, a little experiment of sorts. The hope was if I could better recognize and acknowledge those feelings of attachment that the oxytocin produces it would keep me from lamenting about not feeling the dopamine rush like I used to. Thankfully, the stupid lust for that coworker did eventually subside, and I did notice and revel in the attachment feelings for my husband. I guess in some respect, that whole geeky chemistry/biology nerd approach worked for us. http://www.esquire.com/features/mri-of-love-0609 is one the articles if anyone is interested (took me a while to find it again) - its pretty cute. <br />
Wow, this response was a lot longer than I intended - sorry about that. Thanks if you're still reading. ;)

I am glad you chose to post in this forum. I do have a question regarding initiating sex. You mentioned in this post how at times your husband does not initiate well - either form want of inspiration, timing and coordination or being unable to recall how you like to be aroused. I'd like to know if you yourself initiate, in that do you feel moved by desire or lust yourself, for sex, for your husband, and then let him know or make advances on him. To me it does feel that we are to some extent responsible for bringing our own desire, or spark to the moment and whether it turns into a flaming love-making session or not is pretty much dependant on the interplay. Just a thought.

Bazzar - Yeah, I don't really pay much attention here on EP gets pissed about my opinions. It happens - more often than I thought it would in an anonymous world where I would think most people wouldn't or shouldn't care what I think. I remind myself that we're all coming from different experiences, including those posters. One could never ascertain who I really am or what I am really like by reading a single post or few responses I have made, and I've never seen anyone who got really pissed at a single post of mine actually reach out to see why I was coming from that angle. <br />
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I've always found it comical when people get all worked up over other's posts in any web based forum. Sure I've been irked and hurt a few times by something someone has responded to me - but I typically shrug it off and forget about it within 15 minutes. Do I really care what anonymous internet stranger thinks about me? No, not really - and there's no reason to let their rantings get to me. <br />
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I make my posts in the hope that maybe even just one person will see something similar in themselves/ their situation, and that it may help them figure something out, see something in a different way. <br />
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I totally agree with your comment "I think that the person being the 'refused' in a marriage - has probably done a bit of retaliatory refusing themselves from time to time. Whether they'll admit to it or not is another matter." It may not even be retaliatory refusal. I'm guessing the refused from time to time also has their own reasons for refusing, and unfortunate for them, may be one of the few times their refuser would be receptive. I can't speak to most of the SM cases here, as mine isn't really sexless. I can't imagine going more than a month or two without it. Its only happened a few times since I started as a teenager. I've got to wonder though, in the SMs that go months and months with no sex - there are some pretty deep issues going on. Ones that a few counseling sessions couldn't even begin to scratch, let alone years of therapy. After about the 1 year mark, barring there are no medical issues, I'm guessing in most cases those two people really just aren't sexually compatible for some reason, and alternate options - such as divorce or open marriage should be discussed. <br />
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Anar- I'm sorry my post was of no help to you. It is never my intent to play games. I'll be the 1st to admit that while I feel I can have a quite wise view of the world, and my assessments of its going ons, I can be very childish and naive. I work every day to understand what is going on in my own head. I'm a little crazy - but I'm pretty sure all of us are in some way. Just to clarify, I'm not always a refuser - not by a long shot - and I like sex - with my husband even. Most of the time it's even pretty decent, but there are times when he for sure doesn't bring his A game - or B or C for that matter - and well no, I personally don't find those times very enjoyable. When we're just going through the motions - I'd rather be doing something else. It doesn't feel that great, and sometimes in those moments I struggle to even find an emotional connection. In those cases - sure - boring - going through the motions sex in my brain does get lumped in with the laundry and other chores. I'd guess that it does for many other women out there too. <br />
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Nsmithski- I would guess more often than not that most SMs don't have one root cause, and are often situations that have multiple reasons that build on each other and tangle together over time. I don't see most SMs being an easy fix. I know my earlier statement regarding hitting a 1 year mark of SM and maybe discussion divorce or an open marriage is an all to simple suggestion - much easier said than done. Doing either would take a lot of thought, discussion, and are no doubt going to invoke difficult to deal with emotions. <br />
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You are right about the vast majority of refusers - not wanting or feeling they need much physical intimacy. I think its difficult for them to understand their partners actual physical need, when they aren't able to relate. Likewise, the refused has a very difficult time understanding the emotional intimacy those same partners probably crave, and how to provide that for them. For relationships of this type - if the two people really do want to make it work "maintenance sex" is necessary. Unfortunately, I bet for a lot of couples if not most that have "maintenance sex" come to find that it most often is "uninspired, boring and awkward" - which I'm sure further compounds an already icky situation. I'd bet you are right - in her mind - it really is like a chore, she's doing you a favor - does it help to know she's doing it for you, because she does care (because if she didn't obviously she wouldn't do it at all). If the infrequent "maintenance sex" sex is already pretty meh - there's no incentive to perform it more often. I wish there was some better advice to offer regarding this situation, as I think it is all too common, but I'm afraid I don't have any.

thanx for your story S74rxed.<br />
Don't often see posts in here from the person doing, or having done, the refusing.<br />
Possibly, because such posters tend to get the crap kicked out of them. <br />
The group is "I Live In A Sexless Marriage" not "I Live In A Sexless Marriage And Am The Refused Spouse" so your story is as valuable as any other.<br />
Anyway - - - -<br />
I think that the person being the "refused" in a marriage - has probably done a bit of retaliatory refusing themselves from time to time. Whether they'll admit to it or not is another matter.

Sorry but I do not find much useful insight in your post at all. <br />
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All you did is explain how you play a mind game. I am still wondering what is going on in your head. <br />
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The way I see it, sex is pretty darn enjoyable and my wife is a pretty unadventurous lay but I would still enjoy it with her. I would never EVER think of foregoing sex with her just because she was not doing something* just right. <br />
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* Funny, you. In typical refuser style, sex gets lumped in with the laundry and other chores.

Also, because this just happened and fresh in my mind. the husband just woke up (he works nights), the first thing he says to me - not hello, not how was your day - it was "I see you didn't clean the kitchen today" dude - is your brain damaged? How the hell is saying something like that going to result in anything less than a snarky response full of attitude, and set yourself up for a evening full of suffering from the bitching about **** pissed off wife who probably wont be in the mood later? That is all. He figured it was best to leave, and go pick me up some dinner. Win! All is forgiven - maybe I'll even go clean the kitchen while he's out.