Aah, the Irony

I have been reading your stories and I can relate to so many aspects of them. The common thread seems to be the emotional toll this is taking on everyone. The anger, the bewilderment, resentment, self-doubt, frustration. You know, all the things they leave out of the vows.

I've only been married a few years, and my marriage has many issues. The sex issue is, for me, the most troubling for a few reasons: 1. Sex is the one thing that sets marriage apart from any  other relationships. I strongly feel that, while it may not be the most important part of a marriage, it is essential. I can't imagine any reason to spend an entire lifetime with the same person if you're not even gettin' any. 2. The cause(s) of the lack of sex are the same as those of most if not all of my other marriage woes (I think). 3. I have always had a high libido and much of who I am has been defined by my looks/sexuality...whatever you want to call it (huge ego might be what you want to call it-but I hope it doesn't come off that way). My best friend says that I married the one man I've met who doesn't want to have sex with me.

Oddly enough, I find solace in the fact that my husband never seemed to care much for sex. Even when we were newly in love, he could pretty much take me or leave me. At first I didn't even recognize it because it was so foreign to me, and kind of refreshing. I thought it would improve, and when I brought it up the first time, right after we got engaged the conversation went as follows: Me"I think we should try to have more sex" him: "okay" WOW -THAT was easy. Except I came to figure out (I'm a little slow on the draw I guess) that that was his way of avoiding any uncomfortable conversations. A while later I went on to kindly explain that it hurts my feelings and self esteem because I feel as though he is not attracted to me. He assured me that that is not the case, which I do believe (that would be too simple) and he continued to avoid the issue. Meanwhile, our sex life was getting worse if anything. It didn't take long for me to get pretty peeved over his blatant lack of concern for my feelings, our relationship, etc. Before his annual physical the year of our wedding, I suggested he ask his MD to check his testosterone level, which of course he didn't do. When I asked him about it he said he didn't ask specifically about any possible testing, but did mention the sex drive thing and the Dr. said it could be caused by stress and/or fatigue. I don't think he said one word to the dr. but was once again trying to avoid the issue. On our honeymoon we had a decent amount of sex but - if I'm to be brutally honest with myself - I knew it was never going to be what I wanted. I could accept that, but I feared that things would not improve. I am not a very sexually aggressive person, but I am willing to enthusiastically try whatever my boyfriend/husband desires. I love sex. I'm a bit shy, so having to bring this up was always difficult. But he never would. Never has. Never will. I continued to occasionally try talking about it, he had excuses "the dog is always on the bed" or "I'm in the mood in the morning - I'm tired at night."

I have a pretty solid theory about all this, which I would love to share at some point, and maybe get some opinions. Unfortunately, the thing I feared most would happen has happened. I have lost all sexual desire for him. I find myself avoiding any contact with him at all. When he kisses me I can hardly wait for him to turn around before I wipe my mouth. His kisses used to be close lipped and rushed but have recently been a bit more -ugh - sensual. He must feel my resistance, but would never say a word. He is emotionally mute.

Just to give a few broad strokes: He is VERY succesful. He was never too popular in highschool and was still bitter about it when we met in our early 30s (again, he didn't say it  but I could tell). We met through a friend and I still wonder what she was thinking. Apparently, he was very picky and superficial (typical defense mechanism) and I was so out of his league that I met his high standards. I was under tremendous pressure to marry and had been through hell with my family - first forcing me to leave the love of my life and then pushing me into an engagement with a very wealthy high profile big shot who turned out to be the devil himself. Once you make the sacrifice of your own happiness for others, you make practical choices that you hope won't do to much harm-if possible. I was very lucky to find my husband in that he is not abusive or toxic. He is a good, honest man. However, he is distant in every way. He rarely listens when I speak to him. I'm very spirited and goofy at times and he never even laughs aloud. He has no clue what enjoying a relationship intails. He is juvenile in that regard - he reminds me of the boys in Junior High who would blow me off to go see Star Trek (or whatever) with their buds. Foolsh move then, foolish move now.

As I mentioned, there are a lot of really crappy things that have effected us (mostly his family, their secrecy and lack of respect, communication, and his inability to deal with them properly). I guess I might be too far gone for this discussion group. Wish I had found it 6 months ago. Since our marriage (3 years ago) I have slacked off a bit in the upkeep dept. and pretty much closed myself off from the world. I don't work and I've been worried that if I"get out there" I'll want to stay out there.

I'm now hitting the gym and even getting a bikini wax occasionally. This does not bode well, if you know what I mean. For so long I was angry and amazed by how foolish he is. Now (another baaad sign) I feel sorry for him.

There is so much more to this, but I tried to stick to the topic at hand. I must thank you all for sharing your stories, they've really helped.

Amazing how many women are sharing - it doesn't surprise me at all- I've always thought that the whole "male libido" thing was a front. The men in this group seem to be much more sensitive and in touch than the stereotypical (mythical?) husband wanting more sex. I hate these misconceptions. They make it alll so much harder.



Elodie Elodie
31-35, F
15 Responses Aug 20, 2007

Yep. Run now while you can. 16 yrs and three kids later things haven't changed for me after he's finally got testosterone. Sorry to say but much easier to get out early .

Once again I am saddened by these stories. I don't normally give advice but you had a line that caught my eye. "Once you make the sacrifice of your own happiness for others," I have resisted many things that society said I should do because I knew that those decisions would not make me happy.<br />
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I have seen too many people get into relationships or situations because they felt it would make someone else happy. We are each responsible for our own happiness. I had i long talk with my parents long ago and told them, "Do not expect grandchildren from me." I have had lovers, but marriage scares me. I am working on projects now that take a lot of time.<br />
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Even though I chose not to get married, I admire the few that have a good marriage. They are few. Please, you should get married to ensure your own happiness, not the happiness of others.<br />
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I wish you bet of luck in your future and hope you find your happiness.

Elodie, I share your experience. From what you say, your husband seems to be abusing you emotionally by distancing himself and withholding intamacy from you. You don't deserve to be treated like this.<br />
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I am in a sexless marriage, too and married to an emotional and verbal abuser...who of course, denies this. Everything is my fault and I spend most of my day trying to arrange everything so he doesn't blow up at me. The air conditioner on 80? He screams at me that I don't care about our family, etc. (He wants it on 90 despite the fact that our kids are home during the summer and we live in a place that is over 100 degrees every day in the summer.) <br />
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In my husband's case, it is a lack of sexual desire coupled with the need to CONTROL. I have read tons of books and have been in therapy for years....My husband actually builds a wall of pillows between us every night before he goes to bed...doesn't kiss me good night yet says, "Aren't you going to kiss me goodnight?" Wants me to caress him so he can fall asleep but not beyond that...<br />
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To be honest, I am not even interested in being intimate with him any more b/c of his treatment of me...

Thank you for your sharing. Amazing world isn't it? The old saw about women giving sex to get love and men love to get sex kinda goes by the wayside.<br />
How do we end up with such sexually mismatched partners? My wife simply says "she's through with sex."<br />
In the mean time I have a female friend close to my age who is single and absolutely dying to be intimate. Her libido is at a fever pitch but she has no partner. <br />
Laugable situation if it wasn't so sad.

Grizgirl,<br />
(why do I have this overwhelming urge to call you "Grizzie"?)...Thank you for your comment. As far as your situation goes, I can only offer what I wish I had known/done when I was newly married: 1. Let go of all preconceived notions of sex, marriage, men, relationships, yourself, etc. This is a whole new arena. 2. Try not to get to the point where you can't even stand the idea of having sex with him 3. Get over the stigma of "threat"- it took me a long time to do this, but after dumping a few guys who did a lot of "don't threaten me" B.S. only to crawl back when it was too late, I realized, as you say, this ain't no threat. In my marriage, I can't just say "see ya" and chuckle when he comes a crawlin', and I don't know about your husband, but mine seems to have a "that won't happen to me" attitude when it comes to things like me divorcing him. 4. Explain calmly and kindly that this could very well be a deal breaker, and it is best and most healthy to deal with it now, because, all threats aside, it's issues like this that lead to divorce. If he thinks THIS is embarrassing, perhaps he would like to imagine what you divorcing him in a few years will feel like. Particularly when people ask why. 5. If you can stomach the thought of sex/couples counseling, go for it (sooner than later) and if you can’t, then at least threaten him (THIS is a threat) with the idea, stating that it’s your worst nightmare too but it might have to come to that. I find that scares the bejeesus out of a (certain kind of) man enough to get his act together at least a little bit. Either way, buy a book on the subject. I admit, I've never done that and part of the reason is that they all look so bloody stupid, but I'm sure there are some good ones and probably someone here could suggest one. Read it alone if you prefer that, and try to keep a positive attitude (I'm not sure about what, but it sounds like a good idea in general). <br />
I have a few questions that, of course, you don't have to answer here or at all but I was wondering-did your husband like sex before? Is he a "sexual" person? Is he, do you think, threatened by you or women as a whole? Is he approachable and empathetic?<br />
Am I nosey enough? Sheesh. Sorry.

Elodie ~<br />
I'm in a similar situation. I am a newlywed and the sex isnt there. I have confronted him (no holds bars) about this and he says that our schedules are so different. BS! If he can make time to watch basketball, he can make time for us. I have brought up to him how this non-sex union is affecting me and how it is making me less connected to him which will lead to me divorcing. He perked up. Now mind you, I dont like to play the threat game but I guess this wouldnt be a threat... just the God's honest truth. He wont see a dr about his low sex drive as well. <br />
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You will have to do some soul searching to see if you two can work through this. I know I am still doing mine as well so I can't really offer much advice.... but I can give my empathy and many hugs!!! :)

Wow. Just wow, because our experiences are so similar. Lovely girl, please, PLEASE never forget that there ARE other options than letting this man and this experience define who you are and how happy you're "allowed" to be. It took me a long time and a lot of misery--and a lot of friends and family urging me to leave--before I was angry/sad/miserable/fed up enough to leave my husband. We had many issues besides sex, but they all had a common thread--he was cruel and selfish. Once I was out, like sonya, I had many wonderful sexual relationships :) I'm still looking for the guy who's the perfect balance of chemisty, stability, and availibility--but I can't even fathom that there was really a time when I thought that my awful husband was the best I'd ever do!<br />
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I guess if I were doling out advice, I'd say a lot of the same things you're already hearing--but the single best thing I did during the whole situation was to take advantage of the local university's free counseling. I could laugh and cry with my counselor and know, no matter what, I was talking to someone who had only MY best interests in mind. <br />
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I hope you get everything that a good heart deserves :)

You are a clever woman I admire!

Divorce? Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Realistically, you could hardly be in a better position; Count your blessings. For comparison, I expect my situation to be akin to jumping out of the nest with a cannonball chained to my leg. <br />
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If you are leaving, please share your experiences in the "I Am Leaving A Sexless Marriage" group!

Orca-with all due respect to you and your situation, I find, personally, that when you tell someone who is in love with you - not to mention, in this case MARRIED to you - that you "just want to be friends" they don't take it so well. I, myself sometimes forget that my husband is in love with me because he's so distant and reserved. But, again, experience has shown me that even the most level headed, seemingly aloof man (or woman) loses his sh*t when you actually leave. I don't think all divorces are drawn-out legal battles, just the ones we hear about. Plus, most divorces, I would imagine, are not mutual. People get pretty pissed off when the person they planned to spend forever with decides-um-not so much.

Jake - thank you so much for your comments. They really maen a lot. Shamu- I know what you are saying, and I know you're right, but honestly I don't think I could take anything from my husband if I left. Now, you might say "Oh Elodie, you poor dear...things change when the word divorce is thrown into the ring" and I know you would be right - but my husband is a self made man and I'm young enough to get my sh*t together and stand on my own two feet (I think. I hope.) Although, you know something-Sham-you're right. I sacrificed a lot for this marriage and why should I always be the one walking away from the pot of gold? I earned some of it just for putting up with his mother.

Elodie - Jake writes wise words. As a non-working spouse, it would be worth your time to speak with a divorce attorney for informational purposes only. Understand what your legal rights are. Remember the golden rule, "he who has the gold, makes the rules." Right now, your husband has the gold. Too many people rely on "friends" and some non-sense they read on-line.

Shamu-I understand your point on the jealousy thing but I think the issue now is beyond that-I don't want to hurt him of course, but I don't want to make him jealous either. I don't want to rouse any suspicion at all- I want to live my life as much as I can until I figure out what to do. I think it's easy for us to ask "why stay?" after reading these experiences because they are specific and troubled aspects of our marriages. I'm sure I'm not alone in that there is still a lot of good and though-no- I don't have kids - it can still be, and is, difficult to leave. <br />
Sonya-actually, your words do help. Thanks. I would be curious to know what a gay husband is like - ever since reading your post I can't shake the image of mine holding a picnic basket.

Wow. If you take away the money (my 2nd husband had none) that all sounds so familiar! But, at first we had sex all the freakin' time! He was the best I'd ever had. Essentially, we were married and he decided he did not want to work. I decided that I was not going to have sex with someone who didn't care enough about me to bring home a paycheck and be a man. We slept in separate beds for the last year of our marriage and then one day I decided it was time to go. <br />
The lack of sex in my first marriage is obvious now-the man was gay as a picnic basket! I did not know then (courtship or marriage). Finding out was another story that I would tell if anyone asked-but at this point it is not pertinent. For years before finding out I felt like I was the problem. I felt like a hideous monster. I couldn't understand why he didn't want to touch me anymore. When we first started dating we were rather physical, but when things slacked off and he treated me like I was earwax-it really hurt. When I found out that he was gay, eventually it made me feel better about the sex thing, but then there was the issue of all the lies; again, another story. <br />
Now I am in a relationship with a wonderful man. The time between my separation with my 2nd husband and meeting this gentleman was full of sexual escapades. It was fun, but essentially unfulfilling. So, now I'm with this great guy. He is covered in tats, has a hot Yankee accent, a beautiful brick wall body and is so well-read and intelligent. He even has perfect credit and loves motorcycles! I was gone the second I met him. We hit it off immediately. On our second date, he told me he was a virgin. I was stunned. He looks like sex on legs! He is 4 years older than me andhe was a virgin. This didn't turn me off, it just stunned me. So we took our time getting to know each other. It was my first real courtship. He still opens the car door for me (it's been 15 months now). I want to marry him. He drops hints about it. As far as the sex goes, it's like he's got 38 years worth waiting to get out and then some. I don't mean to gloat-but I think after a queen and a deadbeat I deserve to gloat a little. <br />
I think you need to be good to yourself-weren't YOU the one to tell me to "have a friggin' cigarette"?!! I don't care about the male half of this equation-you are the topic at hand and you seem so eloquent and smart and refined. It saddens me to think that so much would be wasted in such an empty and desolate union. Those words couldn't possibly make you feel better, but I think they will one day. Do you have any children? I was smart enough to get out of both of my marriages without children. By saying smart enough-I mean that no innocent child was hurt by all of the lies and garbage that these "men" fed me. I am certainly not implying that someone with children is stupid-crazy, but not stupid. JOKE, JUST A LITTLE JOKE!!!!!<br />
I understand what you mean about being so turned off and not being remotely attracted to him. I cringed at the very touch from my 2nd husband. The same man that I pined for-I wanted him to vanish. No red tape, no divorce, no death, just vanish. I hope this reads well, I didn't get to proof read!

Welcome to the emotional rollercoaster of a sexless marriage. I wonder how many of us can honestly say we still love our spouses? If there are no children involved, what is stopping us from making things right with our lives? Are we really happy being unhappy?<br />
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Elodie make sure the bikini waxes do not complicate things. He will not be jealous, only hurt and out for revenge. He will then make your life even more miserable. There is still more coming on the rollercoaster.