Observations From A Sexless Marriage

I’ve lived in a sexless marriage for 15 years – Since it started. I know there is another forum here for the “Nearly Sexless Marriage”, but when a newlywed is negotiating for sex at any frequency, it is a pretty sexless marriage.
This post is more of a post mortem and perhaps encouragement to others that are banging their heads against a wall trying to “Fix” their marriages. I will offer some observations of symptoms and what years of reflection have led me to believe about them:

If your spouse is “Not Into You” early in the marriage, they are truly not into you at all. You might try to evaluate why they married you, because it was not for love. The corollary to this is that the spouse will never admit that they married you for money or any other non-Love reason, so you should save your breath asking them.

If your spouse gives you reasons they are just not up for “it” – work stress, money, where you live, etc. – and you change or eliminate the “reason” every time, without any change in the level of intimacy, consider #1 above and try to recollect if there was every any real reason for you to believe that you were loved.

When you try to “Reason” with your spouse in an effort to spark some intimacy, and they only insult you (you are immature, damaged from your youth, out of your mind, etc.), stop. Think about it. Is there any real “reason” for physical intimacy within a marriage other than Love, Fun, Relationship Building, or the sheer beauty of the Physical Intimacy Itself? This is not work. If it feels like work someone does not love the other.

If your spouse claims physical ailment as an excuse for lack of intimacy (ED, low libido, etc.) it should make you wonder. Even if they have no interest, how could they have no interest in pleasing their lover? Put yourself in their position. Don’t you love pleasing your lover? How could they be happy to just strand you in a life without the basic human need for intimacy?

When your spouse, in times of stress, chaos, or fights, explodes and tells you things they later recant as “Venting” or other excuses, note these things. They are probably the highest honesty you are likely to get from this spouse. This is why lawyer and interrogators stress those they are questioning. They are trying to elicit the gut honesty from the subject. Never believe it when you hear the next day “I really didn’t mean that, I was just under a lot of stress.” Think of yourself (if you are the loving spouse). When you are under stress, you would naturally build your lover up to rest in their shelter, not tell them you hate them.
When your spouse tells you things intended to make you question your sanity (assuming you are perfectly sane), don’t do it. Ask an old friend if you seem strange or nutty to them. In all likelihood, the spouse is just trying to undermine your confidence.

When you think about it, and you have not seen your spouse naked in months of living together under “Normal” circumstances, that’s because they are avoiding you. Nothing worse for the one trying to avoid sex than getting caught nude by “Oversexed Horndog”, AKA the Husband or Wife.

If someone suggests counseling, you may participate in it depending on your beliefs on such things, but my advice is to trust your instincts and just talk to friends that you trust. I’ve done the “Couples Counseling” and found that the same stuff that went on in our private conversations happened in the counseling sessions. But be prepared for the counselor to be “Political” with their counsel. They know it will do them no good to just ask your spouse why they married you. They also know there is no solution, so they won’t tell your spouse to go home and make love to you wildly and come back to talk about it. That wouldn’t fix it and they know it.

A sexless marriage isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s bad, but I think there are worse things. In my case, my wife is a good mother and she has very few flaws. Once I got my head straight and dropped the pressure of the physical relationship, she became supportive of most of my endeavors. While one might think early in our marriage that we had many problems – including the “Couples Counselor” – once the sex thing was resolved (I dropped it completely), all the other problems evaporated as well. Go figure.
I know this is not encouraging. But neither is breaking up your family and shuttling kids between separate houses.
CreelUnion CreelUnion
51-55, M
20 Responses Oct 29, 2012

The part about all the things that come spewing out of someone's mouth when they are angry and later saying they didn't mean it, they were just mad. I'm glad to hear your opinion of that because when I tell him I think that's when he's being his most honest, when he's screaming at me, he tells me I'm wrong and to disregard those things. The lawyer analogy makes a lot of sense.

Wow - it sounds like you are describing my husband. We will be married 15 years in June and sexless since 6 months into our marriage.

did you find sex somewhere else or how do satisfy your sexual needs

Ashamed to say I found it elsewhere. Before and after that, I have done without. And I am still alive. What I have learned in that regard is that my sexual appetite isn't a need. It's an appetite with one legitimate means of fulfillment that otherwise needs to be checked.

"Ashamed to say..." Nothing to be ashamed for!

I disagree. It doesn't solve anything, and no needs are met. One might say that it deflects some of my animosity towards my wife and places it squarely on me. But that does not make me feel any better. Just more forgiving of my wife.

I guess. Still working this part out.

yeah you lose your love and interest if you feel he doesn't care at all and no feeling of security..
I'm just so sad that I falling out of love and never care about him too anymore ... And now I'm trying to move on and try to find my soul mate who will care for me and bring back my trust and worth as a person... He is older than me and hard to believe that he had no sex from other women because we lived very far from each other as bf/ gf. I am virgin and afraid to trust man because I think he would leave me after I give myself for free. Involving in a relationship is really risky and you must be brave to face the challenges. It seems I want to rest my heart for now and give a break after a long journey of looking. Lol! I don't know what love is,,, I want you to show me...that's song is very memorable to me. Anyway, I don't want to be an old maid...hahaha and it's not what I dream about...Lol!

Ha i found out why he married me!. he wanted to legalize his status. i was suspicious and even brought it up in a fight and of course he denied it. However recently i was discussing things with his sister she said she knew of him going to mexico and picking up a girl and telling her he was going to divorce me and be with her here in the states. We went to mexico 3-4 times and he would make excuses for us to separate during this vacation so that he could go see this woman with whom he had fathered a child on their first encounter the first time we wnet to mexico together 18 months after the marriage. i was pissed when i found out, 18 months into the marriage and he was .already thinking of divorcing me begging some bh for sex. what a sob. Of course i knew nothing of this child until now i mean i heard rummors but he said oh no not true. damn him i never denied him when his libido was up i woud do BJ if thats what he asked. but when we would go out of town or whatever he would act like a fagg not even touching me. the way the story ends is that i ended up having an affair and he rfused to give me a divorce, refused to move out, refused refused. he said that all i wanted was a d... inside me that if he wanted or i wanted sex all we had to do is sit at the corner and pick somebody up. (i think the hint was that we were more than that, since we had kids really?) but i did divorced him 18 months later and thre him out too bad cnat throw him out of my life completely. but hey i've had more sex with by recent exboyfrined in the last couple of years that i ever had with him in the 13 years of marriage i only wish i had known in the beginning and divorced him hell it would have been better if id left him 4 years ago.

As the unloving spouse, I couldn't agree more with your observations. I am so very sorry that this is the way things have turned out. I should have listened to my gut and called the whole thing off but was too afraid I was making a mistake. Now we are as you describe with kids involved so neither of us is going anywhere and we have never ever discussed the pink elephant in the room with any authenticity. Can't imagine what the future holds. THank you for posting. Perhaps it can stop someone else from living a life without love or passion. xo

Why don't you just let each other have separate affairs with different people, away from the kids? You go out and find a guy you're into, he goes out and finds a woman he's into, you stay married for the kids' sake, no jealousy.

You know, I'm intrigued as you're the first spouse I've run across here on the other side of the relationship. If you don't mind my asking, what was your motivation for going all the way through engagement to even get to marriage if you knew you weren't attracted to your him? Was it money/financial security? A way to get away from your parents? Loneliness and/or desperation?

Why did you have kids? I mean, unless you adopted, you had to of at least had unprotected sex with him once. Wouldn't you have said no then? And why didn't you get a divorce BEFORE having children?

Also, why don't you suggest an open relationship? You both can find people you're both attracted to so that neither of you feel trapped, and eventually become resentful.

I'm genuinely curious.

I just have to say that in some cases I'm sure what you are saying about your refusing spouse just doesn't love you is true, but there are refusing spouses that truly, deeply love their husband or wife. I never refused as a punishment or to get even. We had sex every month at a minimum of twice a month sometimes more. I take BIrth Control and I feel it had a detrimental effect on my level of desire. Had it dating and before BC and then wasn't intelligent enough to recognize how different I felt taking vs not taking. My testosterone level was super low finally got help with T cream and it has made a huge difference in my desire and my arousal. I feel like I did before marriage I can actual feel something sometimes just at the sound of his voice. Until you've experience low desire its hard to understand. It's hard to realize and figure out what the deal is. I wished I did have a burning desire like he did, I didn't want to hurt my husband this bad.

II feel so bad and may have gotten help to late. We've come off of his affair and it's been three years we've been struggling with it all. He truly has put me through the ringer (I guess I deserve it) really nobody deserves that in truth, it awful. I say this though to state how much I love this man. I have stayed with him through all we've gone through for the past three years and it's been hell. To take all I've taken I Love Him! I realize what pain he endured being a lot more sexual than I was and wanting more from me, I really do. I have excruciating guilt over letting him down. I know it sounds stupid but I did not understand what it meant to him because it doesn't mean the same thing to me. I understand so much more now that I've try to get help and understand things. Sexual fulfillment was his #1 need and it wasn't filled like it should have been. My #1 need is different and I interrupt love in a different way. Sexual fulfillment is a lot higher on my list now I want to make him happy. Things are rocky we are walking the tight rope still and not sure what the outcome will be.

I do admire your staying to be a good father. My husband did this also and he was the best Dad ever. This is a very admiral trait. I hope that something clicks with your wife that maybe you could satisfy each others needs. I just wanted to point out not every case is cut and dry and there is hope. I am smart enough to realize that there are many different scenarios and maybe some cases there is no hope. I truly have changed for good and we've been married for 27 years, so if there is true love and an awakening to understanding how important intamicy & sex is to a relationship then there is hope. God Bless You

Thank you for that. I was predisposed to believe that with women, once it is gone, it is GONE. In my case, my wife has told me -- in times of vending in duress -- that she has never loved me. I tend to believe her in some ways. Nevertheless, I also believe there are things about me that she likes or even admires. I know she does not want me to leave.

This is such a funny thing that I have not totally worked through yet, possibly because I think it may not matter.

I know she loves that I am a handy guy to have around. She knows un-handy guys and likes the fact that I can teach kids, fix things, earn money, and keep the home physical plant humming along. We don't have problems with the house.

I also know she thinks I am fun and fun for the kids. She loves to take me shopping with her, vacations, sports (water, etc.).

She appreciates the help I give her with her aging parents and am the son her father never had -- although has never even offered to help me with mine -- she hates them (but dad is dead now).

My relationship with her is way too much like she is a sister or something. It is so similar to my relationship with my sister (same arguments frequently, etc.) that it actually is creepy.

Venting or not, for her to say she never loved you is probably, painfully, true. People can't really "take back" what they've said, because no one ever forgets.

That comment really burns. They were the last words my first wife uttered to me when she told me she was filing for divorce. Insert knife into heart, twist with vigor.

Granted, those words stir up painful memories for me. I'll say a prayer, in hopes that she will be willing to accept you as a husband and not just the live-in butler and handyman.

She's really lucky that you haven't had an affair (I'm assuming you haven't)

Your critical omission that reveals your claimed "acceptance" position as an untruth doesn't invalidate the bulk of your observation, but it does very little for your cred.

The one thing thing refused spouses find that sticks in their neck is the lying / lying by omission, and presenting a position based on bullshit.

And you just did the same thing. Very disappointing.

If I implied I was "Clean" in all of this, it was not my intention. It has been a torturous journey, and I am not proud of where I have landed or what I have become. There is more I can say about this.

Brother C, the position you took was that you accepted the sexless situation as it is. The facts turn out to be that you don't accept the sexless situation as it is at all, as you have outsourced it.
Nothing new in that, it is an option often seen on these pages, and is not a matter of morality (or being "clean"), it is an option, that's all. Any moral framework you supply yourself.
What got up my nose is the fact that you carefully did not mention this at the get go, but rather tried to sell the line that you had "accepted" it, knowing it to be untrue.

Hi All, I just came across this thread and couldn't believe what I read. It just so happens that I just confronted my husband for the last time with this issue & told him I wanted a divorce. For three years, I tried to figure out why he never wanted sex and there is no physical intimacy in our relationship. We don't have kids together. We have only been married four years. He is always home and never goes out so I know he's not having an affair. But it is a deal breaker for me. I fell out of love with him I think partly because of this. I'm just really happy I'm not alone in this.

Maybe there are more asexuals out there than society is willing to admit.

What do you do for your sexual needs? **********, prostitutes or have you just turned off your desires, if so haven't you just become what your wife wanted, the supplier if money and shelter.
I am sorry if this sounds a bit harsh or blunt, but I had to ask.

It is harsh, but there is no getting around that. Of course there is a lot of **********. And I am having an affair. I didn't mention that because it is not a solution -- it is another problem. Of course, sometimes it seems like a solution, but in the end ....

The fact that you left out the affair part of your story is very disingenuous. You have NOT, in fact, "settled" for sexlessness. You are outsourcing. That is very, very different than just accepting the state of your sexless marriage as is and ************ to relieve yourself.

Acceptance happened way before the affair. The fact is that any attractive person in these situations will eventually be confronted with an option. I would not have agreed with that before it happened to me. But having (or perceiving) nothing to lose is a bad place to be.

When it happened is moot. The fact is that you cannot live without intimacy. That is a key factor which you omitted from your story.

Thank you for your honesty and I for one can very easily understand the need to outsource. A marriage should fair respond to both partners' needs; if it doesn't, in your case your wife withdrawing physical intimacy, then it isn't a marriage.

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Fair bit of similarity to my situation (acceptance and mutually assured refusal). My situation is symmetric in that neither of us has been in love for quite a while, and I think both of us have realized we did not marry for love. Oh, and neither of us has any time or energy for affairs, and both of us are too formidable for an approach. With work and kid we have zero time for social life anyway.<br />
<br />
I don't know if my wife is a good parent, time will tell. I am a mediocre parent, partly because she seems to slip off the bad-cop roles to me, and indulges the kid more than I do.

Bad Cop is the man's role. You just have to execute it with love and instruction. Indulgence is the role of the woman. The two of you will balance these things if you are committed to that. That is what I mean about my wife being a good mother. She seems to genuinely have the kids development in her heart. I think she also understands in her heart that what she has done is wrong. I don't think she can help it. But the threat of having to take care of herself someday seems to keep her honest with the kids.

One of the last conversations I had with her on the subject included the fact that I was there for the kids. At the point where she begins to reduce my effectiveness as a father -- at the point where I can be more effective by being divorced -- she can expect to be served. She is not a stupid woman, and I believe she knows where that point is. On some level she also understands that I never threaten and generally execute these things on a schedule. She also understands that I really have nothing to lose (except for the money -- I can make more of that).

I'm sorry, but I would like to disagree with you assigning roles to one parent or the other. At one time or another, both mom and dad experience wearing the hat of the disciplinarian. If a mother, whether she is a stay at home mom or not, consistently indulges her children and doesn't enforce morales and values as necessary, the children will grow up disrespecting her. Children want to know what their boundaries are, that's why they constantly testing them. Therefore this "bad cop" role, as you call it, will then be held by the parent who is with their children the most, but this doesn't mean the other parent is exempt from ever wearing the hat. IMO parents should be a united front. It is not a role that is assigned by gender.

Phoenix, I never (mostly) got in life wat I wanted, but later on I realised that was for the better! May be that could have been true for u too. Best of luck. X

We married out of the kind of love that passes between good friends traveling through life together, placed at very similar situations. We were too young to understand how much that differs from romantic love that wants to get sultry often. We looked up to each other professionally and each inspired the other to great achievements in life (still do). But, in hindsight, it might be possible to get that effect without marrying someone.

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I think this is a perfectly valid option. I've stopped pressuring for my husband for sex. He's certainly happier. He's not treating me any better. He'd be happier still if I returned to the marital bed so he had one more way to torture me.

There is only so much that one can write in this format. I had to cut this one down to fit it in. My wife was the same way. AND I was admittedly pathetic -- even I would not have wanted to be around me. Your husband does not enjoy torturing you, he only thinks he does. It is his natural state.

Once I quit depending on my wife for anything, she first was somewhat plaintive, but eventually became more reasonable.

I left out that in the interim I consulted lawyers and created a plausible exit plan. At some point she again threatened divorce, so I outlined the exit plan for her and I have not heard any of that since. Have come to believe that she dislikes work more than she dislikes me.

In short, don't let your husband get his jollies at your expense. He will stop that dead once he notices that it no longer has any affect on you. If you don't have kids, leave. If you do have kids, be a great mom and wife, but begin working out your exit plan. Executing the exit plan will leave you with very little time to worry about what your husband is doing.

Thanks. I feel so much less alone in this world. While my story is not dead on exactly the same as yours, it is so damned similar. Your statement at the beginning hit me hard. I have known for a long time that I was not loved from the beginning, yet I knew in my heart that it would be futile to try to find out what the real reason is and.....why? It would serve no purpose so I accept it. I have accepted a lot and now I have grown old so oh well. Here I am. But I feel considerably less alone.

My point here was simply to give reasonable people some rationale for understanding what they are being put through. Sometimes (usually) the simplest explanation is the correct one.

AND, a spouse that does not care to provide the basic support for the other spouse cannot be relied upon to explain it reasonably. It is not reasonable. In conversations with a friend in a similar situation, I asked him: Do you expect her to tell you, "Jim, you are correct and I feel terrible, I married you for your money and the life style, but never found you remotely attractive. I was kind of hoping after we got married I might get used to it or even develop some empathy for you, but it just has not happened. I'm so sorry." It will never happen. Instead, you hear that it is because you don't respect them, or their boss at work is a jerk, or with the kids it is just not possible -- too tired, or a hundred other things.

<p>I don't support your end position, but it is a superbly well reasoned and presented story. Rated UP !!!</p>
The concept of "Acceptance" is enshrined in many self help programs, dealing with druggys and alkys and gamblers etc. It ain't quite that simple though. The full concept is to "Accept what has gone before without rancour, recrimination and regret"<br />
It is a very high minded principle indeed. Ghandi-ish really.<br />
Ghandi's are a bit thin on the ground in real life.<br />
<br />
It is not the "******* ***** has me by the balls" type 'acceptance'.<br />
<br />
Tread your own path.

I have considered leaving many times. But I am convinced that my kids need me at home. And YES, I KNOW that what I am modeling to them is bad for their future relationships. But that ship has sailed. I don't want to compound that with also abandoning them -- even for the periods when they would stay with their mother in a Joint Custody arrangement. I may be fooling myself, but I think I by being there, I can explain these things to them as they grow, and help them rationally select spouses of their own. This was where I went wrong -- AND I KNEW BETTER.

Like most you had me till the end, I will bet my last dime that all the spouses sith excuses of with holding sex are getting their kicks elsewhere in one way or another and we are left to be confused trying to figure out what's wrong with us or trying so hard to please the unpleasable . I say this I can't imagine a life without sexual contact . My wife masturbates every dam day but says she has no desire for sex WTF . They all have their excuses and ways to manipulate us to doing their bidding like pets holding a treat waiting for us to speak speak sparky speak beg for it.... Now I'm mad again crap

You may be surprised, but there are lots of folks that just don't enjoy sex. I would guess more women than men, but there are men in that boat. Just like there are folks that don't enjoy being with others, don't like friends, and like nothing more than watching TV. There are all kinds.

But, as I mentioned above, this is no excuse. I look at it like not giving your spouse food because you are on a diet or are not hungry. Totally self absorbed.

OH, BTW: "You are Totally Selfish" is one of the things I heard the most for wanting to have some intimacy.

One I get most is " is that all you think about ?" but if you read my stuff I should be asking her that!
And yes I agree with you but im just in a neg place today thanks for setting record straight.

When I was "Working on it", worrying about not doing it on her part was more obsessive than my trying to work on it.

One of my epiphanies was when I had not mentioned it in months, she accused me of trying to get her in the shower in a compromised position. We were in a hurry, have a huge multi-head shower (like in the Marines) and I just jumped in there and took a shower. You may have thought I threw a lizard or something in the shower. That was when it dawned on me that avoiding me was harder on her than the lack of intimacy was for me.

I'm still somewhat bitter over all this.

"You may be surprised, but there are lots of folks that just don't enjoy sex." Would it be really nice if they bother to tell about this tiny JUST before involve other people into marriage with them? They never do... They pretender that they are like you... They know what naive partner expecting from them... And after -surprise,surprise- this tiny JUST.... and you are a cheater and a bad guy if you look elsewhere...

WTF she masturbates then she likes the feel of pleasure of sex. but not to share the experience then why o why did she marry. I would divorce her so fast she does not need a husband she wants a roomate. I dont get women who cant accomodate their husbands its a lot easier for us to do it than for men men who cant get a hard on for their spouses cannot be forced to.

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I also decided to quit pressuring my spouse for sex. He seemed happy... he no longer had to come up with excuses or reasons for his neglect. I tried to fool myself into thinking (even though we have no physical intimacy) I could be happy just knowing that he 'loved' me. After four years, I found myself at the doctor/therapist being diagnosed with severe depression. It's been about nine months since I had my breakdown, which means I was no longer coping - at work, at home, at church, etc. I've come to realize no matter how much I try to suppress my sexuality it can not be tamed, nor should it. It is a normal and healthy part of marriage. I am not sure how things will turn out, but I am working up the courage to have another talk to my spouse. This time I am going to tell him that sexlessness is a deal breaker and I can no longer remain married to him as he not only refused me a basic human need all these years, but he knowingly stood by and watched my health deteriorate over it - this is not something someone does who is supposed to love, honour and respect you. I can not see myself staying another four years in a relationship where there is no intimacy.

I feel for you and totally understand. I have advice for you, and you probably won't want to hear it:

You know the truth about this thing of yours. You know your husband. I promise you that you are not mistaken about any part of it at all. Any Spouse that will do what he has done has no love for you at all. Hell, you probably would not do that to your worst enemy.

Your explanation above and the fact that you mentioned church tell me something about your attitude toward marriage and your husband. You have been abandoned. You should consider making a plausible exit strategy and launch it. If there is anything of good in your husband that is salvageable, that will wake him up. I am afraid that anything less of actually separating will just appear as weakness and pleading on your part. He will not respect it, and that will make you even sicker.

Sure, there are worse things than a sexless marriage. I'd rather have a sexless marriage than ... is a game we can play for hours. But just because I'd rather not be dropped in a vat of acid is no reason I have to put up with a sexless marriage for the rest of my life, dammit!


Towards the end, I think I'd have taken the acid.

LMAO hl42

I also agreed all the way to the last part of your story..I was shocked at the conclusion..I just can't see giving up the part of me that needs intimacy to make someone else happy.I have done it for far too long already.A lifetime like this,I just can't picture being happy with that outcome.

Yeah...not so much.

I was agreeing with most of your post until i read the last paragraph. How can she be a good mother when she is teaching her kids that it is natural to not give a sh..it about your supposed loved one?

And yes the sex is the be all and end all in a relatiosship. If i wanted to remain sexless i would of stayed single, fuc..ked whoever i wanted, save myself the heartache, and mind games, and been financially a lot better off without a sexless manipulative sponge weighing me down.