A Simple Question

We've likely all confronted this question - either through self-doubt or via spouse or third parties laying it on us.

Would you leave a marriage, break your vows, and destroy a family, just for sex?

I'd like you to consider an answer (which helped me), which goes to the heart of the matter, and demolishes the nasty presumptions in the question.

Answer: What better reason?

On my deathbed, if there's anything I'll regret, it's not acting sooner. The years when I was not expressing myself and connecting with love and intimacy were barren and wasted. For me, the meaning of "sex" is huge, it's part of who I am and what makes life worthwhile - for me.

Money, status, disagreement over kids (other than harm) - not so much.
hl42 hl42
51-55, M
19 Responses Jan 18, 2013

There's no "just" in sex in marriage. Sex is more than "just" sex. When combined with love, it is the deepest intimacy that one can have with another person. Yes, I would and did divorce my refuser due to the lack of sex and virtually any other intimacy. He deprived me of the very things that make marriage different from any other relationship.

It's one of those things: the smaller the word, the more the confusion about what it means. Not only the Clintonian obfuscation on sex, but also the put-downs of "just sex". I reckon most of the lies about it are deliberate attempts to downplay its meaning and significance.

I really don't care if others do not find that level of meaning in sex, or dislike it altogether. What's unacceptable is demeaning other peoples' feelings about it, and having the temerity to want to bind someone in denying its expression. That's wicked.

Yes. What do you mean "just" for sex, LOL?

The reason I'm still here is that I'm afraid there would be no lover or partner there for me on the other side.

There should MORE than a heart button for this!! Precisely the way I feel! LOVE IT!

Thanks, hope you can use your feelings about this to propel you to a better future - without the guilt and the nonsense.

I will thank you! I'm already moving forward, though progress is slow. Life is too short to spend countless days/years in such a wretched and unfulfilled state. Simply making the decision to get on with my life (without having a formal plan) has lifted a tremendous weight and the fog of self-doubt is beginning to clear.

I sincerely don't have a full and ilustrated opinion, I just can humbly recommend you to try to read this book "Mariage Confidential" by Pamela Hagg, and see if you can get somethingout of it, I do think that you can honestly get some straightfoward answers to your dilema. And also, I think that your dilema lies in the capacity that you can have to reinvent yourself within or without the marriage. Cheers ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

How specifically did this help?

My experience of those sorts of books was poor, and I sorted this disaster out myself. Reinvention is good.

Being denied sex started the marriage down the path to destruction.

It depends on the person and on the current status of the marriege and of course the existance of kids. Sex is something very special and a big part of our lifes but some things are more important than sex. It's all a matter of prospective. It depends on what you think is right. For me, if a marriege "gets toxic" and you are considering of cheating, you should get divorced not because you want to cheat but because the marriege you're living in is not healthy. And if you think having an affair based on anger issues then that is a bigger mistake.

Sex is a barometer reading of the intimate relationship between the two spouses. If it is por or absent for a period of time, BOTH spouses should work on fixing the underlying problems.

If it is totally absent for a long period and one spouse ihas NO interest in fixing it, then it IS a deal breaker.

"some things are more important than sex" - assuming you mean what most people here mean by sex (i.e. the whole suite of intimacy needs which includes loving physical contact), what exactly are those things? The ONLY thing I can think of more important is the protection & safety of the kids.

What you can say quite legitimately, is that sex is not so important to you (whether in its narrow or wider sense). In which case you need to be with someone with the same views. And what you cannot (morally) do in an exclusive relationship is prevent the other from being satisfied by insisting on fidelity.

Sex is a part of my life and everyone's life but for me, it's not that important meaning I could live without it after a particular age just because somethings are much more important then sex, after a certain age of course. By that, I dont mean ivi but I am talking about when you reach your middle 40s and 50s. Of course sex is a part of your life at that time but it doesn't happen that often unless if you use sex to fill some spaces in your life and that's what is going on here. Satisfaction doesn't come with the ammount of sexual activity you get but by the quality of it and of course the mental stage you're in at the time.

Alexmark, you start out by describing your own experience - no worries. Then you come out with "you" statements and stuff about quality not quantity - crappy societal memes that are harmful to some. This is not my experience and I disagree with it fundamentally.

"I am talking about when you reach your middle 40s and 50s. Of course sex is a part of your life at that time but it doesn't happen that often unless if you use sex to fill some spaces in your life "
Alex, your profile says you are 18-21. I'm in my early 40's. You are speculating that sex ceases to be important when you reach my age.

I can assure you that sex remains very important - in fact can take on some urgency. It is not the result of gaps, but rather often the logical result of a fulfilling relationship.

As a followup, given the age difference, I'd like to offer that I don't mean to chastise you or condescend. People in their 40's and 50's are old enough to be your parents' age, and thus likely you think of them as one thinks of their parents:

Which is to say, likely as being less human than they are, and more "figures" in your life rather than just normal people who are also finding their own way, and who probably don't feel that they are as old or different from you as you think.

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I wouldn't get married lightly or to just anyone (I am looking for a very particular sort of person), so hopefully I won't be put in the position of having to leave, and I don't intend to have children (so I am not factoring any impact on children into my decision), so bear that in mind when you read my response.

I would never leave someone or be unfaithful just to get sex, that seems such a trivial gain for such a significant wrong. In general, if it was between being unfaithful or leaving, I would choose leaving because I could never be dishonest in that way. As for reasons to leave, they would have to be HUGE.

The most obvious reason would be if the relationship itself became toxic in some way for either of us. If I was coming to harm, I would leave immediately - I will not tolerate abuse of any kind from anyone. If he was coming to harm and for some reason I couldn't help it (I don't know how this could happen as I have no desire to do such a thing), I would also leave because if I truly loved someone I would not stand by and watch them come to harm, even if I would feel better staying with them; when you love someone you do what is best for them.

All other problems I would make an effort to work out if possible, unless trust was completely broken. For example, an isolated case of bad judgement could be forgiven if confessed and atoned for, but if repeated and concealed, I am done. But bear in mind, anyone I would marry would know up front that lying is something I cannot stand and that I do find things out - I can sniff out inconsistencies in a story like you wouldn't believe.

True, but I am well aware that there is more than physical abuse. I have experienced emotional abuse from peers and family, I know exactly what it is, how it feels and I would recognize it very quickly - I would be out the door. A person who thinks of abuse as just cases of one person striking another may not recognize verbal, emotional, etc. abuse, but I am very aware of non-physical forms from my experience and from my education.

And you are right - change for the better or worse occurs slowly and it can take you unaware when you finally realize what has been happening - this is a general truth of the world. I would hope that I would be observant and rational enough to be able to recognize the signs before it got too far, but I suppose I would never know for certain unless I was actually put in this situation (and I hope if the time comes I choose wisely and this never has to happen at all).

Trust does get destroyed by the SM, I believe it's very similar in impact to having an affair.

And there is a boiled-frog element to the SM that creeps up on you - and when you get clarity, you realise that you are allowing yourself to come to harm - whether that's abusive or not is perhaps situation dependent (and some here definitely describe their experiences as abusive).

In the end, I'd rather have died than staying in the living death of the SM.

Can we also be aware of the toxic power of little words? You use the dreaded "just" word in just-for-sex. No such thing to a sex person. YMMV.

"Living death of the SM" - I do feel like a zombie sometimes! LOL.

But, unfortunately, too right.

I'd rather leave that to cheat. Love can conquer all but the call of the flesh is sometimes louder.

I read that two main reasons of divorces are sex and money... So we can ask other simple questions Would you leave a marriage, break your vows, and destroy a family, just for ... money? ....just because your partner was unfaithful? ...just because he/she is PA? etc <br />
JUST is the word which completely diminish the initial meaning... For the most of healthy normal humans sex is the main feature which separate ( and make it unique and very special indeed) marriage from any other sort of relationship... Taking it out is turning a marriage into something else... Friendship, co-parenting or worse - turn the relationship into union of slave and slavemaster, refused v refuser, narcissist v silent martyr... Would normally anybody in their right mind marry somebody, if they would be told that yes, they will live with a very good person, but JUST will not have sex?

Highly valid point you make in regard to $$$'s

Say if the question was couched - "Would you leave a marriage, break your vows, and destroy a family, just for money ?"

Women who 'marry for money' tend to attract (rightly or wrongly) a negative connotation. The term "gold digger" comes to mind.
But women who 'stay married for money' don't attract the same negative connection most times.

And, in my little world, both positions are essentially the same.

Yes, money is a big cause of divorce, and to my mind, much less valuable and "worthy". I think the other questions like would you leave "just" because they were abusive are far more to the point.

On Baz's observations on people who stay for the money, I have the wry "amusing" thought when I hear people saying that you can't possibly have sex in marriage in exchange for the lifestyle and money, because that would make it prostitution, actually ARE prostitutes but are also rolling the John.

After reading several of these posts, each one of us finds ourselves in very unique places in sexless marriages, because no two are alike and even though you may have worked out the validity and reasonableness of going without any kind of intimacy, it simply boils down to this. We are all humans that need to be touched, loved, connected with and share in a mutually satisfying relationship with our spouses. That,s the bottom line.

I put my wife through years of very little sex. I had some issues, she cheated. I am trying to forgive, and am getting help. I don't know why she stayed. I just don't understand why she didn't leave, but I'm glad she didn't.

Rated up. BRILLIANT! And so succinctly expressed. Thought provoking I hope for those who are currently in this mind-set.

"the meaning of "sex" is huge, it's part of who I am and what makes life worthwhile - for me." - So true for so many of us.

i done it, ****** my life up, the husband is now very happy with some else and me in a dead end situation...could have made things work with ex but i thought the grass was greener....sadly no

Unless your religion prohibits sex beyond procreation purposes, and that's anyones perogative I guess (I think they are totally nuts - I am allowed to state my opinion ;-)...then sex is a necessity of a happy marriage. In some form that is. Sex comes in many forms, or should I say intimacy. Intimacy is something shared between two married people, a sacred treasure that makes these two people more than friends..so to speak. A bond. Without this bonding agent, the two will separate.
The marriage in itself will be destroyed without this connection at some level. So yes. Unless one decides to stay anyway (for what they think is good for the kids or what ever), but even then it is destroyed, and fear of leaving is what is holding this person from walking away.
It is not the act of leaving that is detroying a family btw....it is what is missing.

Sex is so important in a marriage/relationship. I find it mind-boggling that people don't seem to "get it". Sex is a basic human NEED.....to deny someone, especially someone you love and have committed to is cruel in my opinion. Of course I realize that sometimes medical issues can cause sex to take a backseat, but I'm talking about those who have no physical medical reason to abstain. Sex is what separates the romantic relationships from the platonic ones.

Sex people get it. Others not. But they're quite happy to take the other benefits but not stand up to the duty of care implicit in constraining another's constitutional freedom to fvck.

But then that's only too common in today's society.

I as I told fern (who has a different sn now) when I suggested this group to her, you can not have a conversation about this with people who have a normal sex life. They simply can not comprehend. I can see how you might have the attitude that sex is not a major issue if you are having it on a regular basis. For me it was my refuser who accused me of only caring about sex, of destroying a family for selfish reasons. He was so deep in my head that I internalized that belief for awhile but then I started thinking in different terms. In my mind it is like Failure to Thrive. The condition where an infant, even if it has proper food and shelter, if it is not held and cuddled will simply die. We are hard wired for physical contact, it is what makes us human. To say 'only sex' is like saying 'only being human'.

Good analogy, and that's also a great riposte to those (there are plenty about), who will question needs versus wants. Because you won't die for lack of sex, clearly it's not a need, they say, it's "just" a want. BS sez I, "O, Reason not the need". Because what people need to live is actually the least interesting part of being human, the things that distinguish us least from animals. Whereas the glorious imperfection and wonder of intimate, loving, caring physical connection with another brings meaning to my life.

I used exactly this analogy in discussions with my spouse. I also pointed out that you have to be a monster to knowingly and deliberately treat an infant primate in this manner (such experiments have been routinely carried out). While she could see it as unacceptable to treat an animal in this way, she couldn't see how it corresponded to her own behaviour.

Exactly, and thank you again. It seems, too, that most people assume that the only reason a spouse wouldn't have sex would be a legitimate medical situation. That seldom seems to be the true reason on here. It's always deeper, more manipulative.

New here and just saw this post. This is really on the nose. You cannot adequately explain the problem to people who have healthy sex lives. They do not understand.

Love this too!!

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....and it's never 'just' sex is it?? My ex told him I wouldn't leave him 'just' because of sex. Well, no - it was also that he was a totally selfish human being who didn't care about me and how his behaviour made me feel. Sure, that's enough isn't it? x

I have to agree, because, what you do with your life matters, and who you share your life with matters. I see no value, in sharing your life with someone, who honestly knows nothing about you, does not even seem to be attracted to you, and yet you suffer and cry, and continue to remain there. because the reality is, they absolutely are not aware of the sacrifice your making.

To make an informed choice to your question I would really need to be convinced that part of the consequence was truly going to be that I would "destroy a family".

If that (destruction of a family) was a guaranteed outcome, then it might pull me up in my tracks. Certainly enough to make me re-visit my choice.

Thing is, I don't reckon that, even with your persuasive skills Brother H, that you would be able to convince me that the "destruction of a family" was an inevitable outcome.

Tread your own path.

I was laying that poisonous message - not as something I believe at all - but one that WILL be laid by the unscrupulous refuser on people with judgemental standards, and needs to be challenged.

As you say, making an informed choice is right; the destruction is already there, and if a person will but own that what they want is vitally important, they can modulate their choice realistically. Certainly the good-old first aid maxim of making sure you are safe and resourceful yourself before helping others can be well applied. To yourself and your kids.

I don't see how you can be safe and resourceful in an SM.

Yeah, what better reason? As ifoundmehere stated, I think most of us here mean a lot more to sex than those that ask that question in a loaded way.

Sex is intimacy, sex is feeling loved, feeling appreciated, desired. Sex is connecting with our spouses in a way you cannot (or should not) connect with anybody else in this world. Sex is the connecting bond. Sex in marriages and consenting adults is much more than banging monkeys in National Geographic documentaries...

Hell, without that kind of intimate and profound sex I cannot tell my wife apart from my mother or from any other good female friend. Sorry to be harsh...