UpdateAbout three years ago, I found this website because I was in a sexless marriage and desperately wanted to talk to someone about it. I was too ashamed to talk to anyone in person, even anonymously, and I'd rather have died than tell anyone I knew about it.
I was what you guys call the refuser though I never actually refused actively. If my s/o had ever asked directly, I'd have consented nervously, but there was no way I was going to initiate and I was pretty good at passively avoiding it and creating situations to continue avoiding. This went on for a handful of years and caused a lot of guilt and distress. We talked about it some but it was really embarassing and such a heavy issue between us that neither of us brought it up much so I came on here seeking help and just a place to voice my feelings. I remember crying my eyes out and just feeling relief when I finally got the whole story down on paper and hoped to discuss it with people but then I found that almost everyone was not interested in helping or empathizing with the refuser but rather most people here are so angry and frustrated that they lashed out and told me I was hopeless basically. It made me feel awful. Now this is the experience project and people were posting their experience, so I can't say that anyone had any responsibility to help me- this is not a self-help website. But still the response stung a bit and as you might know, there is no support group or website anywhere on the net for people who are refusers but want things to change but don't know how to change them or even get started, so this was the closest thing I could find. I have to say also that it made me wonder if this is the sort of attitude you also take with your s/o who is a refuser though that sounds like an accusation and it is not fair for me to make it, but I do wonder that way. The thing that struck me most was that there was someone on here who was writing about how his wife was trying to have sex with him but that the sex was so lame that he'd rather just skip it, and that seemed so hurtful and embarassing to me- the fear of that happening to me- that the discussion about this shut me down and made me go back farther into my shell even more. I remember a discussion about people who would not even have sex because basically the sex was not worth having which seemed cruel to me to call someone else a refuser if you are refusing the sex yourself too. But anyway I did not write to vent to you guys only even though my experience here was not very good.
What happened is that reading what you people felt and how you thought really helped me think about the other side. In the first place I think there is a difference between me and the other refusers because my relationship otherwise has always been physically kind and affectionate. There has never been a time when we didn't cuddle and kiss and mildly make out, but it always stopped short of sex and this was a source of frustration but I never meant to be manipulative and I don't think there were ever bigger problems going on between us, and many of you sound like you have problems within the relationship that are more severe and the sexlessness is a symptom, though not everyone. What happened then is about a year ago I finally admitted it to a counselor who talked to me about it openly and discreetly and she told me that I was suffering from very debilitating and severe performance anxiety which seemed so lame and stupid to me that I couldn't believe it could be as simple as all that but it really was once we really started talking about it and I realized that on top of that I had built up this issue in my mind so that there were la
Anyway, I was thinking abotu this website today and I thought I would write and tell you that for a couple of reasons. First I wonder if you could nicely redirect people who are refusers to their own group or if you could be more encouraging or supportive of refusers. If someone logs on here and admits that they are a refuser then that was probably a big step for them and they probably need support because no one would do that if they didn't want help. Second I remember reading that people said that these situations were absolutely hopeless and for a time after I came on here, I believed that and I was really ready to just give up and let it all go and be depressed abotu life in general, but it turns out that this is not true.
It has just occurred to me also that maybe I can answer questions about being the refuser but I don't know that everyone is probably different.
Sorry if I sound rude-0 that is not the intention though I want to be honest and tell you how it made me feel though I do totally agree that you have every right to vent and that this is the experience project after all and not the support project.