SMS: Sexless Marriage Syndrom

 I wonder if calling it a disease would help: a sexless marriage is a disease of the marriage. We suffer from a disease. And we could go public - I am am a victim of SMS (sexless marriage syndrome.) See, I think for the withholders it's a point of power. Most withholders know the mate won't call them publicly on the matter - there's too much stigma attached. Half the pain is the alienation from everyone else. I bet it is tremendously under-reported. Instead all we hear about is the fallout; the divorce rate, the drama of infidelity, reckless behavior, early deaths.

mountainsandrivers mountainsandrivers
46-50, M
9 Responses Mar 14, 2009

Behind,<br />
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Sorry for your situation and at the same time sounds like you and your husband need counseling. You feel he has no capacity to change, how do you know that he doesn't? You miss the intimacy and I believe he does too. Maybe he does not have the insight of your needs but he is talking to you about his needs. Sounds like neither one is "hearing" the other, communication, communication, communication breakdowns!! <br />
Does this sound right? He is blaming you and you are blaming him for the lack of sex and intimacy in your marriage? <br />
Do either of you want counseling? Obviously from what you write, the problems in your relationship are bigger than either of you can handle. <br />
It sounds like the two of you are communicating but not "hearing" each other.<br />
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Seems like there are some physical changes that happened in which neither of you could control, but you can control what happens afterward s.<br />
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Bottom line is both or your emotional needs are not being met. Please get some counseling for both your sake's.<br />

I am the one in the relationship that says no. But I am also experiencing stress because of my sexless life. So here I am, a spy from the other side of the fence, looking for some insight and maybe inspiration. My husband is increasingly verbal about 'my' problem as he is certain it is as simple as a 'low sex drive'. He seems to view it as a physical medical problem that my doctor can cure. It is far more complex and just as complex is the concept of explaining it to him. I actually have given him some information about what I need from him. He seems to disregard the feedback so I have given up on the communication piece. I need to be turned on by the relationship - I need to feel loved, I need to feel like I am in a partnership to which we both contribute equally.... Mine is a long story but the highlights: we connected on the level of being hardworking, ambitious individuals who worked side by side. Do-it-yourselfers. (This is my second marriage by the way - first husband was unfaithful and I turned a blind eye - duh) So I was crushed when my second husband admitted to being unfaithful - Up until then, I had given him no reason to wander. Followin his admission, I was depressed for 4 years, on meds for 2 of those years. And I went into survival mode - I should have left but I thought I would take advantage of all a marriage had to offer other than the 'love' part. Depression and anitdepressants definitely interfere with the sex drive. While I no longer have depression, I have never been the same, I don't look forward to much, I rarely have a feeling of contentment. I'm looking for happiness but it is evasive. Then, my husband's diabetes started effecting him in the bedroom. Followed a couple years later by a benign brain tumor. During surgery he hemorrhaged/ stroked and he now really has problems in the bedroom (even with penile injections) And his entire personality has changed - so that feeling of being in a partnership.... not so much. He cannot handle a difference of opinion nor small challenges, does not grasp complex emotions, we can't really talk about things anymore. He kisses differently. He has forgotten what foreplay is. He is physically limited in endurance, positioning, etc. Our kids are finally old enough that we have the freedom to go off and do things - and now he can't participate unless it is sedentary - and my biggest interest is being outdoors, hiking, biking, exploring. His physical tolerance would be 15 minutes of walking before a break. Add the whole thing up and I have a hard time getting turned on. (Because I get turned on by the whole relationship) So, we both made bad decisions in the past. He has physical challenges on top of it and now has issues with insight into the entire mess and I am do not believe walking out is the solution. Can I tell him that his personality changes and physical changes totally turns me off? I think I would tell him in a constructive way if I thought he had the physical and mental capacity to change. And I would go for counseling for previous hurts if I thought it would change how I feel towards him physically. I am lonely because I lost the partner I choose. I think he just misses the sex.

Here's why calling it a disease works. It depersonalizes the situation. WHAT! DEPERSONALIZE!!!??? Follow me here. I think a little distance, perspective and, most importantly, shared reality, is needed for both partners in most sexless marriages. <br />
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How many folks feel comfortable letting their friends, families, health professionals, employers know they are suffering in a sexless marriage? Yet, how many of us are at our wits end, plowed under, and truly debilitated, not for weeks but for years (some going on decades.)<br />
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This is how cancer sufferers used to feel! Cancer was actually shameful. It supposedly meant something about the personal makeup of the sufferer.<br />
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By making it a flat description, a syndrome, we crawl out from under it.<br />
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And, interestingly, it removes some presuppositions. Lung cancer is a result of a number of situations. Certainly smokers bring it on to themselves but my mother died from second hand smoke. People die of lung cancer for very little reason.<br />
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So, SMS works for disabled and disfunctional couples alike.<br />
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Sex is not the cherry on the top. It is a section of the wheel as it goes around and if the sex part is flat the wheel rattles the whole fr<x>ame to a stop. Making the rest of the wheel smooth does not return the wheel to wholenness.

I live in a sexless marriage also but not of an act of withholding; when a guy is having prostate cancer treatments there is no way there can be sex!

I didn't know it was possible to overstate a lack of sex... I mean...maybe I need to reflect on this a little more... ... ... ... (thinking with "Jeopardy" music in background) ... ... Uhmm, no. It cannot be overstated. Damn you SMS, cursed be thy name.

The whole idea of a sexless marriage appears to be severly overstated. It is not just the lack of "sex" but the connection that seems to be lacking in all of our comments. Sure sex is extremely important and tends to be the basis for all our comments but the lack of emotional connection is what I miss the most. I miss sharing "real" emotions more than I miss the sex. I think that our partners draw back from us because of some issues that they choose not to share, resentment, anger, frustration, etc. It is not just the sex the sex is the cherry on the sundae. I miss the intimacy of a relating on all levels more than the sex. I long to share my most intimate thoughts and ideas freely, openly and without fear of being ridiculed, to walk hand in hand and know that she is my partner and "we" can work "together" to get through any issue. I am sorry if this sounds like a scene from a film but this is what I have always wanted and now this seems to be just a dream or a fantasy. I am tired of being lonely and alone in a marriage. I have tried on numerous occasions to convey this simple message to her but she just does not understand. So for all of u who are focused on the lack of sex, it is really a whole lot more complex than just that one perspective. it is being involved at all levels with your partner. So to all of us who struggle, please look within and ask what it is you really want. We can blame our spouses/partners but we also allowed this to evolve to where it is today. So we share equal responsibility. God bless us all.

You're right... SMS is good... I daubed it S.W.A.G.E. , Spouses Who Aren't Getting Enough... because sometimes complete sexlessness in not the exact case. But you're right about the power the denier gets from society's support of denigrating sex in general.

Oh honey. Something's got to be going on. You sound like you are in pain. Please communicate with him her. It's unfair. There should be a clause in the marriage agreement that says "no changes allowed without prior written consent". Of course that would catch both parties, no letting go of one's person, and on and on and on, but it would force a discipline. Anyway, maybe this makes no sense, but I think it's very UNFAIR to subject the other to that kind of MANIPULATION. I'm sorry sweetie. Please do something. Don't wait to sustain greater loss. Is there an affair? <br />
Hug,<br />

As a refuser reformed I think SMS is a very real and preventable syndrome.