Experience Project iOS Android Apps | Download EP for your Mobile Device

Engaged And Sexless

Hello all...
I can't believe I'm writing this but I'm hoping it'll help to share here because I can't talk to anyone else about it.
I have been in a relationship for about 2.5 years and we got engaged a few months ago.
When we first met the sex was great and frequent, in the last year we have had sex just once. I'm devastated.
I have discussed it with him numerous times to no avail. He says he doesn't know why he's lost interest in sex and his blood work came back as moderate testosterone levels but not enough to medicate for so I'm left thinking it's me. He assures me it's not me but the fact remains our sex life went from fantastic to zero and it's really starting to have an effect on my self esteem. I have always had a very active sexual appetite and have always been in healthy sexual relationships.
I find I have really sunk myself into my career now just to keep my mind off this elephant in the room. Easy to do, I'm a medical professional in emergency medicine, I require focus under stress and I do that very easily, however, in my down time I'm noticing I'm struggling. He is out of town on business a lot so when I'm home alone it's a hard void to fill. Yes I'm active and do many things, I do "live", however, it's the lack of intimacy that I'm very much missing. I'm 39, attractive, very positive and have a healthy libido, but I'm terrified I'm going down a road where I'm never going to have that passionate sex again.
He's amazingly supportive in my career. When he's home from work he makes my breakfast and packs my lunch for work. Does 101 thoughtful things for me and is attentive in every other way. I feel guilty even complaining here, he's great to me in so many ways. it's not as though he doesn't touch me, he always holds my hand, gives me hugs, rubs my back and runs me baths. He's great in so many ways and I love him. I just can't shake feeling "unattractive" because he completely avoids sex with me. No incident I'm aware of happened between us, he can offer no explanation. It's becoming very lonely....
1Angela 1Angela 36-40, F 46 Responses Jan 6, 2013

Your Response


I offered all that information and it seems you are not going to have a good marriage. It just boils down to that ! You have your own place or not.. if not get some funds to make a move because the marriage will not fly. You need to think of yourself and your happiness compared to years of agony and turmoil.

Please see : it is about natural progesterone for women and men.
Yes men. There is a lot of information on that for women but some also about men's need of it.. The doctors only see it within limits but after 30 a man can lose 1-2% per year of testosterone. And &%^%&*** do not take hormone replacement therapy for you or any man.. it is very hard to determine its concentration in both and it has some bad side effects. thanks for reading .. I am not involved in that site. I am taking natural progesterone and it tells all about it on that site. and see : or org .. is good too !! This doctor has done many years of research on it.. and Dr. Helen Pensante too.

I am only guessing about this it may be deeper than this.

Walk away. After marriage will get so much more messy. He may be a great guy, but that does not matter. People marry with great chemistry and then it falls apart for any number of reasons. Here you are starting crippled. And this group's collective centuries of experience tells you it does not get better. Sorry.

well you sound like a great women. i am a 41yo male and i tell you it sounds like he is hiding something that is hurting you both. if he is so wonderful he would make love to you all the time i know you said he does things for you but all them things can not replace what you crave from him si if you really love him tell him what you are thinking and if he loves you he will understand. i tell you i was in a sexless marriage and it did not work. i tried every thing to get her aroused nothing seemed to work. it destroyed our marriage
i found out after we were divorced that she was messing around with someone she worked with. that might not be the case but from a mans point if view that is what is going on so think about what you want before you get married. you deserve better

It ain't you; you aren't the problem, so don't beat yourself up over that. I have to say that I would not get married if you value sex highly and he doesn't. You'll miss it the rest of your life and you deserve to have good, no, GREAT sex, with the one you love and the one who loves you. Something this big is worth looking for a new partner. Not fun to think about but better in the long run than getting married now and regretting it for decades!

Unfortunately, the chances of it getting better is slim. Take your time and consider your wants and needs before marriage. The heartache magnifies after marriage! Good luck.

He sounds like a great man, yet at the same time, despite all his positive qualities you are not getting the one thing you need. Some may disagree but I believe sex is a NEED and it's what separates the romantic relationships from the platonic ones. There is no easy answer here & I wish you nothing but the best.

Face it, he's doing someone else when out of town! Find another man.

You are very, very fortunate - since you are not married, you can walk away without any legal entanglements. Also, since you have a career, you can support yourself. Something to consider: why stay if he will not be intimate with you? Do you fear that there are so few 'nice' guys out there? I assure you, the world is full of wonderful people, including those that will have passion for you. Don't stay one more day. Don't stay one more hour, don't stay one more day. Sex once in a year is degrading to you and your self-esteem. It is a filthy thing to do to a woman (or a man), and someone who does it to you is not a full partner.

If you continue on this path, great pain lies ahead. The level of frustration rises. One member here was so frustrated she broke her own hand on her own head. For myself, I was so frustrated I actually chipped a tooth in frustration. Many members here have commented on how being refused hurt their self esteem so bad they thought about killing themselves.

On the flip side: now that I am out of my sexless marriage, I have, after a very rough five months or so, arrived at a place where my self esteem has never been higher (but not too high), I have real confidence (rather than alternating between overconfident and underconfident), and a partner that wants me pretty much every night. A larger contrast could not exist. I am happier, content, and (I think) a bit wiser.

Leaving is very, very hard. But being in an refuser abusive relationship is demeaning and demoralizing. Don't put up with it.

Yes don't think that marriage will change things ,my wife is the same way not in to sex any more it does make you feel unloved , unwanted . I could tell you things to try but maybe they would only work on a guy like me that wants sex. What does he do if you stat playing with his thing ?

a, you've received a lot of excellent advice and points of view already.

i'd like to challenge you to examine your *entire* relationship openly frankly and without bias. as you've mentioned this would be the second marriage for both, here are some additional aspects to consider.

*how much do you know about his finances? Or he re: yours? are you 100% positive that (even if you both decide mutually to keep your finances separate) you both have the same philosophy re: debt levels, your hopes & goals for the future, retirement, savings, vacations, how to fund it all, who'll pay what share, etc?

*it's important to delve into the prior failed marriage. not nitty gritty details. but if your fiancé is a head in the sand guy it could sorry to say also be failure to face and own responsibility for his part of the failure...relationships never fail 100% due to one partner. or very rarely.

*his ability to avoid setting appts with therapist is a third, big, red flag. first: lack of sex (drastic drop off of same). second: inability to discuss:avoidance of the issue.

*in your shoes, i would sit down with him and tell him that this is a deal breaker. period. and, i would be very, VERY cautious about even setting a date or *talking* about setting a date unless and until he is able to engage in an open, honest, down to the bones all guts on the table discussion and real, true, progress towards resolving the issue. i suspect there are other layers/areas which don't quite feel or work right but this is the one you've focused on as it is so glaringly obvious and painful. look deeper. look farther.

*finally, there are some success stories here. hl42, apocrypha, frustrated1978 all turned their marriages around. but--and it's a big but--it took ripping guts out (figuratively), bloody hard work by BOTH spouses & true willingness & commitment to change & continued effort for it to happen.

*my gut feel advice: you'll have to walk away. i wish you strength and patience as you navigate the time ahead.

Could be a lot of reasons but, I can't sit and guess. If you aren't married and the sex life is already gone that would raise some red flags. If you aren't intimate then bascially you are just roomates.

Awww -hugs- I know how you feel. I was in such a relationship too.
I dont have any advice for you. I dont know you, guys. Also, I know how easy it is to say to break up with someone but very difficult to do.
Just dont blame yourself!!!! It´s not your fault.
Good luck and fingers crossed!

Not married = run.

Please don't think that things will change after you get married.

You in no way, shape, or form can wed this man.

You obviously are an intelligent woman,,,,,,,working in ER medicine,,,and have a lot to offer a man.

You can get a butler to make you breakfast, pack your lunch, and run you a bath, and you can get a massage at a spa.

Remove the engagement ring,,,,,,,ASAP

Poor you, I can totally relate to this I have been married for 9 years, in the beginning we had a wonderful adventurous sex life but it slowed, then almost stopped around two years ago, I took to counting how many periods I was having between our having sex ( sometimes as many as 3 or 4) this left me frustrated and feeling worthless and unattractive.
It all came to a head just before Christmas when I discovered sex texts on his phone, devastating is not the word, they were role play strict uncle naughty boy senarios, I confronted him, he had not told me of his Dom/sub desires as he was worried I would be disgusted or reject him.
I am not suggesting this is the issue in your relationship, but if someone had said this to me six months ago I would never have believed them, so maybe there is an underlying thought or desire he has but he is worried about sharing it with you, long shot but it might be worth checking.

I am sorry about what is happening to you. My wife and I were in a similar situation, where I was the one who did not care much about sex. Now I know why. The short answer is that I did not have time for her as a woman, nor us as a couple. I did not see it that time (2 years before), she helped me to recognize it.

I know It is good to have a life with all the schedules, appointments and to do lists for work. Why don't you use it for yourselves too. One secretive appointment... one or two weeks from now... somewhere you could be together... your fantasy will tell you.

You are the Only Woman who can do about it! I hope you find your way to happiness.

Runnnnnn.....picture yourself after 10 years of this. Its like a drip of water filling a bucket.

I agree with this assessment. I am a MAN in a relationship that has deteriorated like what you say. If this is important to you (the sex that is), and you indicate it is, then you are in a position where you will be marrying your brother. You will feel this hole inside of yourself, and it will NOT go away. You have to solve this BEFORE you go any further,...but now you are being driven by guilt. The loss is a lot smaller now with breaking things off and calling this off than it will be years from now when you decide to split the assets, get atorneys, and fight like hell when you could have decided to avoid that now.

Sex for many of us (including yourself) is NOT optional in marriage. Is it a deal breaker; it is important; it can not be winked at, ignored, or discrarded; It MUST be in place and can not be minimized. You must be true to yourself right now. If you don't, you will bring regret that is significantly more into your life.

This doesnt sound right. I'm sorry . If sex is no longer a thought in his head after just 2 years he has other issues. Usually this takes years for a couples sex life to diminish if it happens at all. Would you be happy like this ? I hope it works out . Its not easy to look at this situation when I know you love him. Can you walk away if it doesnt look like he is willing to figure it out ? Hugs.

Can the two of you manage a vacation together? Away from all things work? Does he seem distracted when you are together?

There are a number of possible explanations. One of them might be that he is having a hard time at work. Does he bring his troubles home? Is he the type of personality that doesn't like opening up?

He's high up in an oil company, it's a very high stress job, yes. He has a lot of responsibility and certainly tries to keep me from seeing his stress and that's very much his military background.

You both seem like a good couple. It's a bit of a tricky situation... I understand your need for sex but if he is stressed out, the problem is purely psychological. Have you tried stimulating him with pre-sex routines like a massage? You should try this but don't expect him to want sex straight away. Just relax his muscles, ease tension and take it from there.

Nice suggestion, but yet another that has no relationship to sexless marriage. Three weeks in the Bahamas drinking cocktails and lying in the sun would still mean NO sex in such a situation.

So...does he find sex stressful or stress-relieving? If the former, that's not a good sign.

1 More Response

You've said it often in your comments here - there's an underlying issue. And you want it resolved before you get married, one way or the other. I doubt it's your looks or attractiveness. When we are loved, we become more and more attractive to the person we love. So there is something else going one, and my guess it is in him. He has to open up to you, or you are both making a big mistake.

I hope for the best for you. I've lived in a nearly sexless marriage, and am now (in my second) in a sex filled one, and this one is far healthier.


Thank you Charlotte, I appreciate your thoughts, it gives me a lot to think about.

Charlotte, I also appreciate these comments, though from my own perspective. I'm happy you have found greater happiness. (sorry for the small hijack)

Give the ring back and move on, before you have to pay a laywer and ask a Judge.
having these problems now before the marrage just might be a blessing, in disguise to keep you from making a mistake.

I am so sorry for what you are going through. A healthy sex life is critical in order to have a great marriage. My wife and I both enjoy sex a lot and have had great fun and have made some great memories in our pursuit of something new and daring. It's not just the physical aspect that we enjoy but the closeness you feel with another person in being able to let loose and be comfortable in telling them your fantasies and desires without being judged. I know sex is not all a marriage is about but it is a big part of it and missing any part of a relationship never works. I hate to be negative but you said he is out of town a lot. Is it possible he is having an affair? I hope not for your sake and I hope you get your problem resolved.

That's how it should be...
It's certainly possible he could be having an affair, though there's no women where he's posted so it'd have to be with a guy, which trust me it has crossed my mind.
One way or another I'll figure it all out and not consider moving forward until its resolved or otherwise move on.

Don't let it get to you. It is definitely not you! Your partner should love you and be attracted to you no matter what. I've been married for 14 years and we have both gained a few extra pounds, have a couple of gray hairs and wrinkles etc. but I still think my wife is the sexiest woman alive! I definitely think there is an issue with him not him having an issue with you.

Some statistics to consider. In marriages where things are working, couples report that it constitutes 15-20% of what brings joy and happiness. In marriages where sex is not working, it constitutes 50-75% of what is wrong. The numbers mean if sex is working, it moves into the background a little. Though it is important, it doesn't constitute all that is important. However, when it does NOT work, it moves into the forfront and becomes big and important.

Your post above Angela talks about some of the things that you want to fill the 80% of your life when things are working--the care he gives by making lunch, the support he gives and so forth. Makes total sense. However, because things are not working, you are in the 75% problem phase,...and sex hurts.

What you are talking about makes so much sense and seems so normal. You deserve to feel and be safe with sex. You need this man to pursue you. You WANT to be sought after, wooed, and desired. You want to have your toes curl when the phone call comes: "Hey,...don't dawdle coming home honey. I am in the mood, and if I don't get to put my arms around you soon, I am going to go crazy. I need you. I want you. I love you!"

And, you want to wake up the next morning with this guy giving you a kiss and while helping with the lunch, telling you how special your are.

Hold out for what you need. When it finally comes, you will be grateful. Good luck.

Beautifully said Rob - and SO true!!

1 More Response

Red's him...hold him accountable for nailing down the physical or mental reason for why this is happening, if he refuses to go along with that, then perhaps you should think hard before marrying him...being a newlywed with a sex life like you guys are having..hmmm something is wrong with that picture.

When he comes home next week I'll be talking to him in regards.

Best of luck :)

go with him to the doctors with him. i have a back problem and this is effecting my errections, even if i ********** it may or may not get errect. at least you have something to help my blood came back clear and i cant have anything to help with my problem, to the point where my wife now things why bother trying if its not going to work ? i can also loose a errection in a heart beat even changing positions can do it

Sorry to hear of your back issues, I can imagine how frustrating and upsetting that must be for you.
I am a Physician, he doesn't have any physical health concerns causing this issue, but thank you for the suggestion.

its been getting worse for years, and wasnt till i had a mri scan we discovered the truth and then told it does effect that area, it works fine some days others, doesnt matter how horny or what im shown or do nothing will arouse it

Hi Angela, I can truly say my heart goes out to you. Married 25 years this coming April and my story sounds like so many other stories here. What I am more concerned about is howit effects your self esteem. Start reassuring yourself that it's not you. If you don't you risk the danger of long term issues yourself, that you don't need or deserve. Been 23 having anhedesia (spelling may be wrong) which is the ability to perform, but no ability to feel sexual pleasure. All medical tests say I'm fine. All therapists say it's from constant rejection and the feelingI don't deserve tofeel anything. The time to fix the problem is before you make a marriage commitment. Please take care of yourself and I wish you the very best.

I'm sorry to hear of your Anhedonia, that's incredibly sad, my deepest sympathy to you.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience with me.

Angela, may I encourage you to read the following stories? I hope you will find these helpful in gaining an insight into your husband-to-be's behaviour.

The Three Stages of Love – Twice!

A Triangular Theory of Love

Sexlessness and the Fear of Intimacy

I also encourage you to read widely about "Adult Children of Alcoholics". One particular article that you may find helpful is:
Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA): The 13 Characteristics

Point 7 says:
" Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty with intimate relationships."

You may also find the forum on here called "Adult Children of Alcoholics" (I think!) interesting.

enna, thank you, truly. I'll follow up on those links tomorrow, I appreciate your taking the time to write and refer them to me. I truly seek some understanding above all else...

Dear Angela: You have gotten some very sound advice here and I hope it helps. I am guessing that most of this is not what you were hoping to hear...but this is a place where truth is spoken, no matter how displeasing it may be.

I have been married to DH for 23 years. The sex started off just fine...satisfying and passionate. After 2 years together, we got engaged. As we got closer to the wedding, the sex started to drift off a bit. We had sex twice on our two-week honeymoon to Hawaii. Within the next few years, things dwindled. We now have not had intercourse in 17 years.

In your posts here, you say you "just want to know why.". Here at ILIASM, we have a saying: "The why does not matter". Let's say you do find out why...then what? Even with him as your partner, it is up to him to fix this. He knows there's a problem...he knows you're not happy...and he still hasn't fixed it. He may be the nicest guy in the world, but if you think you feel bad now, think of how you will feel after not having had sex for a happens.

One thing I will ask of times, new posters tend to think this community is negative and/or bitter. It's actually quite the contrary. People have taken the time to respond to you because we know how much this hurts. Best of luck to you.

Thank you...
I'm open to hearing everyone's thoughts and experiences. As for the "why", well, more for my own peace of mind and closure really.
I can only look after myself, I can't change him, but I'd like a dialogue and that hasn't existed on this topic recently, we have thrown ourselves into work commitments and let our relationship issues get swept under the rug, so to speak.
Thank you for the wisdom

"He assures me it's not me". I had the same assurance for 12 years then was told that it was and always had been my fault. There are those here that will say I am wrong but I have to accept that I own at least some if not most of the culpability and need to do my part to try and make improvements. But I won't try forever!
Being alone when I am alone is one thing but being alone when I am with someone is the very worst.

You need to have sex life with him. You need to find out why he doesn't desire to have sex with you. Is he stepping out on you or pleasing himself. It he is cheating you don't need him because you are being true to him. If he is pleasing himself there is no reason he can't count you in. This will sound kinky but maybe you can watch each other taking care of your own needs. Sometimes there needs to be sharing you do what he want and him do what you want that are different that is the norm. You need to know what he wants to be more in tune with you. Lack of sex will not improve with marriage. If he can't or won't talk now it will not get better. Some time fresh start is best

I spent over a decade as a Shibari practitioner, amongst other teaching. Trust me, 50 Shades is very vanilla in my world of "kink". It's really about much more than that, there's a definite underlying issue I just wish he'd open up to me about.
When we first met he said he'd be open to trying most things but we never remotely ventured into anything like that. Which is completely fine with me, it isn't a life requirement, but intimacy is.
He's away on business right now, we have been avoiding the conversation and going on as if everything is great. But when he gets back I'd like to open up the conversation and see how he feels about our lack of intimacy right now.
Thank you for your time in writing me....