Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Sexless relationships

(56 Posts)
Bubblenut Sun 04-Nov-12 22:39:21

Can a relationship be fine if there is limited or no sex?

bigbuttons Sun 04-Nov-12 22:40:19

only if both partners are happy with it.

HeftyHeifer Sun 04-Nov-12 22:46:43

I agree with bigbuttons. My marriage was almost sexless for the best part of twenty years. That was a unilateral decision by my ex husband. Because it wasn't what I wanted I was devastated by his rejection of me sexually.
Now I'm in a sexless relationship that is sexless because at this stage of our lives, neither of us is interested in sex. And it works very well.

Helltotheno Sun 04-Nov-12 23:06:07

I know of two relationships that are sexless or very nearly so and they're both very stable. What's less likely to work is mismatched libidos.

CogitoErgoSparklers Sun 04-Nov-12 23:18:37

As said above, only if everyone's happy with the arrangement and doesn't feel coerced or pressured into it just because they happen to be married to each other. The old 'I don't want to shag you any more but I need you to stick around' thing is just cruel. The other big challenge to 'fine' is if there is no affection. Everyone needs physical closeness, endearment and affection even if sex is mutually agreed to be off the menu.

iamwhaticallpregnant Mon 05-Nov-12 14:35:28

For me - no, i don't think it can be fine.

I was in a sexless relationship for 2 years. I never tried and he never tried (apart from the first month). In the end I felt so wretched that he didnt want me like that and just fed up. The final straw was a week away in lovely hotels where he still never tried a thing. It made me feel shit. So I broke up with him and he said I was shallow and put "too much importance on sex". Well - I tried for 2 years so I don't agree with that. I look back now and feel that he had major issues - he was incredibly insecure about his body and had issues about his parents' divorce and stuff he refused to speak about - and an odd temper. But our communication wasnt right as I couldnt speak to him about it - I couldnt solve it. We also needed each other I think in a different way and suffered quite badly from depression and insecurity. He made me very insecure because I felt unsexy, unwomanly and unwanted. I ate a lot.

Sex is important to my current partner who I love dearly. We have a much more intimate, honest and exciting relationship. Because of this I will always make it a priority in our life together and not ignore any problems in that area because I can talk to him freely. He is self assured and confident - which has made me self assured and confident in turn. When I met him I felt like I had been shaken out of a coma. Like a woman! Cliched I know. Friends and family remarked on how out of my shell and confident I had become. I feel it's an essential part of life! I really truly believe it's a vital part of a relationship. I lost a lot of weight grin

iamwhaticallpregnant Mon 05-Nov-12 14:37:10

oh - and then I got pregnant! So beware wink

FlorentinePogen Mon 05-Nov-12 14:49:13

As a man who has been happily married for almost 17 years, I find it difficult sometimes to cope with my DW's post-menopausal libidolessness.
I still very much enjoy the intimacy and physicality of lovemaking but each time I try and broach the subject, my wife refuses to discuss it.
We shall get through this though.

bigbuttons Mon 05-Nov-12 22:34:56

I totally agree. I was in a relationship with a man I left this year. We have 6 children together. But the sex was nearly always initiated by me. Every child I wanted was carefully planned, we weren't really having sex and I had to think ahead to set the stage for sex in order to get pg. He was quite ok with each pg, we discussed it before hand, there was no subterfuge.

he was abusive though and used sex, or the lack of it as a weapon against me.
I felt more and more shit about myself as a woman. Having sex made me feel alive and vital.
I haven't had sex now for 6 years and that's terrible. I hope one day to meet someone else....

Darkesteyes Mon 05-Nov-12 23:50:48
Offred Tue 06-Nov-12 07:21:23

Total shit darkest. Infidelity is always wrong. What you mean is it is understandable (but still wrong) in your situation. It sounds very messed up btw, looking at it from another way being married means you owe your husband the choice over your sex life, he can choose to withdraw and your respectful choices are to talk to him about extramarital sex first or to leave if unhappy. Really is completely unfair of him to just avoid sex and not talk about it but also of you to just have an affair. In that context what is the point in being married at all?

WaitingForMe Tue 06-Nov-12 07:52:08

I'm another whose ex used lack of sex as part of his emotional abuse. DHs first marriage was also very damaged by his ex's disinterest and rejection which meant when they had problems there wasn't the intimacy to sustain them through.

But if both parties are like DHs ex I can't see why it wouldn't work.

My ex was a bit - and this sounds awful - bait and switch. When we first met, like rabbits although (apologies for TMI) never gave me oral, I wasn't allowed to give her oral (she didn't like it) and positions were very limited. Fell for her big time, lovely person, eventually moved in together. Within 18 months, sex had dried to almost nothing. I tried talking and she basically admitted she really didn't like sex particularly, never had. I encouraged her to talk, go to the doctor to check if there were any medical issues, counselling. Made no difference. She then admitted this was the cause of her first marriage break-up (not that he cheated on her as she had told me).

I realised this was a major deal but loved her. So I stayed. Sexless relationship for four years. Eventually it destroyed itself as I needed that intimacy - a cuddle and a kiss wasn't enough. It made me feel totally undesirable and my self-esteem went through the floor. I left.

I am still single, miss sex ENORMOUSLY, but am happier than I was. She is still single too.

Darkesteyes Tue 06-Nov-12 14:17:15

Offred why doesnt the person who doesnt want sex anymore leave the relationship?

Offred Tue 06-Nov-12 14:19:08

Because being asexual is not the same as not wanting a relationship. It is not wanting the sexual part of the relationship.

Darkesteyes Tue 06-Nov-12 14:22:51

Then they should be honest ffrom the start instead of conning someone into a relationship.
An asexual not being honest about their sexuality is the same as a gay person not being honest about their sexuality.
You wouldnt accept it from your partner if you suddenly found out he was gay so why should it be different rules for asexuals.

Offred Tue 06-Nov-12 14:23:59

And because it is your right to make your own decisions about your relationship. If your partner has decided he doesn't want the sexual part it would be extremely paternal and I would find it quite disrespectful if he then said "I don't want sex anymore, although I love you and want the relationship, I know you will not be able to live like that and so I am deciding to leave you."

Darkesteyes Tue 06-Nov-12 14:25:42

Agree with the last sentence of your post Offred.

Offred Tue 06-Nov-12 14:26:26

It isn't and that's why I said he should have been honest but if he didn't realise, like some gay people don't and was honest when he realised then that's all you could expect and whilst unfortunate and sad you still have the right to make your own free choice about staying or leaving and possibly discussing the mutually agreed terms of the relationship if it went forward. You do not have a right to cheat on him and say he deserved it or it was not wrong. It is still wrong.

nkf Tue 06-Nov-12 14:29:50

Is aesexual a pemanent state then? As permanent as being gay. Not that being gay is always sexual.

Anyway, I agree with the poster who said it's mismatched libidos that causes problems. And, a certain sort of using of sex. Either by insisting or withholding.

Darkesteyes Tue 06-Nov-12 14:31:22

I didnt say he deserved it.
About four years ago he said to "do what i need to do but just be discreet about it" so agreed to an open relationship should i wish to go down that road.
Anyway im getting a bit fed up with having to justify myself so im out of this thread now.

Offred Tue 06-Nov-12 14:46:16

Yeah but that was after you had already cheated. Cheating is never right and absolutely should not be confused with having an open relationship. You should have discussed with him your extramarital sex and he should have discussed with you his lack of desire for sex. Because neither of you did those basically respectful things it is hard to see how your relationship could happily survive.

Darkesteyes Tue 06-Nov-12 20:30:12

I asked him to go to counselling BEFORE the affair Offred and he refused. Which is clearly stated in the article i wrote for moresexdaily.
If you are going to moralise can you at least read the article properly first.

Offred Tue 06-Nov-12 23:25:05

I HAVE read the article. Asking him to go to counselling is not talking about an open relationship and having an affair is not the same as an open relationship. If he wouldn't go to counselling to talk about it then LEAVE, none of it makes having an affair less wrong.

Darkesteyes Tue 06-Nov-12 23:44:53

With my body i thee worship is just as big a marriage vow as forsaking all others keep you only unto them!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now