Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Sex once or twice a year.....for 10 years. My sex drive and my long-suffering dh.(31 Posts)
Have namechanged for this.
I just don't where to begin to fix this. I'm deeply embarrassed to admit it even here with a nc, but dh and I don't have a sex life at all, once or twice a year we make love, that's it. On one of those occasions I conceived dc2 now age 8.
I have NO sex drive whatsoever. I love dh very very very much and I really WANT to express that sexually but I have completely lost whatever it is that makes people want to have sex . I don't know how dh has managed through this time, I really don't. He loves me deeply and somehow that's held him here in a sexless marriage, plus his own parents divorced and he vowed never to put his own children through that, so I know that holds him here too. He stopped initiating sex years ago because he said the constant rejection is hurtful.
I keep thinking day after day after day I have to get my act together otherwise he will leave and he has every reason to. He didn't sign up to a sexless marriage. It isn't a loveless one, although I am rarely physically intimate either.
I think the cause may lie in my childhood, but I'm not sure. My mum had serious mental health problems which were largely untreated and I experienced physical (not sexual) and emotional abuse.
She killed herself 11 years ago and almost overnight, I stopped having sex with dh. I had a lot of counselling to come to terms with what she did and what I went through whilst she was alive. Dh and I also went to relate for couples counselling to deal with the fallout that her death caused.
But still no sex life and this is entirely down to me. Dh is endlessly patient about it and has somehow accepted this existence.
I had a long term relationship prior to dh and a few years into that, the sex disappeared, but that's because I fell out of love with him. He turned out to be pretty weird and was thoroughly disliked by all my family and friends who knew he wasn't right for me, but I was in denial about it for years and didn't get the courage up to end it for years until I just saw sense one day.
I don't know what to do, things cannot go on like this. How the hell do I get my sex drive back. I love dh, I'm sexually attracted to him still. What do I do?
To me this seems like possibly an issue for a sexual therapist, as this seems like a specific and specialist subject. There are one or two reputable institutions around that might be able to help you.
Check with the gp who will then refer you.
Do you still get physically close to your OH or is there no touching?
This probably won't be popular, but if there's no other issues aside from you not really keen to have sex, have you ever tried doing it anyway and seeing what happens? Please please please don't take this the wrong way, you shouldn't be crying or gritting your teeth or anything! What I mean is, for example, I have a baby, busy house/life Etc and a lot of times I can't be bothered etc. But, sometimes, not every time he may ask mind, but sometimes if my husband initiates sex I may go along anyway even if I'm not massively into it per se. What I find though, is that once I've bothered, I usually have a pretty good time and them I'm sort of thinking oh yeah! That's right, I don't mind this after all! However, this is not the result of any unpleasant pressure from my husband or anything like that, it's more a case of me going, oh okaaaaay then but being happy with the result iykwim? It seems like you really love him and he doesn't pressure you or harass you etc, have you given any thought to maybe doing something like this? When you haven't had sex for ages it can turn into a big deal and sometimes it's hard to see where even to start. With you though, it seems like you would have to commit to having a go. Though you have no sex drive, could you see yourself having sex again at all without necessarily "feeling like it"? That's something only you can decide.
I agree with HowBoutNo - But probably because that reply is me & my sex life down to a tee!
With 5 kids under 10yrs & a 12acre farm I really can't be arsed most of the time, by 9.30pm I need to sleep! He tries his luck constantly day & night and once a week or so I give in and it's actually quite nice (ok, I'll admit it, I sleep better afterwards!)
We did try one thing, which may sound weird to most of you but.... The other night he needed some 'relief' so I said that if he could relieve himself without touching or disturbing me while I lay on my front and read a book, then fine, go right ahead!
It worked until he couldn't help himself and by then I was quite relaxed & rather turned on (especially as we hadn't had the usual 'pre-bedtime defensive discussion' on why I am so tired!) I was more than happy to give in on that occasion!
"I have completely lost whatever it is that makes people want to have sex"
Rather than losing something I think you've gained inhibitions. Wanting to have sex is 90% mental, 10% physical and it relies totally on creating a 'moment' where you lose inhibitions, allow emotions to surface and concede 100% trust in another human being. Any stray thoughts interfering with that and it's gone like a puff of smoke. I don't know how you coped at the time with your mother's suicide or with the physical abuse preceding it but, if you went the route of fierce self-control of emotions, it could be that you now find it hard to let your guard down even when you want to.
is it really just not your husband you don't want to have sex with? i know it'd be a hard one to acknowledge there but surely you'd like to have sex with other people?
I agree with cogito about gaining inhibitions along the way.
Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I have wondered for some time whether I need to see a sexual therapist. I seem to have parked all my remaining demons in front of my sex drive. It's never been high (and also very very fragile if that makes sense). I will ask my GP whether I'd be able to see one on the NHS.
The point about trying anyway and seeing what happens - I have done this, and I haven't disliked it and have thought, 'oh that was pretty good, the closeness, I must rebuild this back into our lives'. And then of course I don't, I just retreat back into that place where I don't engage in intimacy. I get very frustrated with myself (no pun intended!).
Sometimes I've wondered whether it would be better if dh was more insistent about it? Boredtotears you made me laugh with your dh trying his luck day and night :D! If my dh did this, would I have 'stepped up to the plate' and tried to engage more? I'm pretty sure the answer is no, if I felt any kind of pressure about it, I'd be in tears trying (it has happened which won't have helped dh because that must have been awful for him, however much I tried to reassure him it's not him it's me, that's dreadful for any normal, loving man to cope with).
Cogito - yes definitely. I have continued to gain inhibitions. I've carried on collecting the bloody things, and dumping them in the part of my brain labelled 'sexual desire'.
In reading up on it, I did come across some info about women being prescribed testosterone. We do have the hormone and I wondered whether more might work, but as I'm getting too many chin hairs as my forties march on, I haven't dared ask the GP about that one :D!
A big fear I have about seeing a therapist is revisiting a lot of really painful stuff yet again. Trawling through it all again, but maybe it won't be like that.
If you see a sexual therapist you should be in the driving seat of the process regardless and you don't have to discuss painful subjects with anyone you don't trust. If you are not happy with the pace, direction or subjects of discussion, you can end it and find a new sex therapist. As Lueji says, I think you can see a sex therapist on the NHS, but if that doesn't work, you can go private. It might be costly short-term. Either way I hope you find a resolution/what you are looking for Hooray.
Mu, good question. There was at work a few years ago who I thought was very handsome, but I didn't fancy him, it was just a pleasure to look at his face! Lots if people did think he was hot and as he was single at the time, he caused quite a stir. I told dh all about him and how his film star looks were setting hearts fluttering.
Now there are people on screen that I have fancied for years and still do (Eg Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth). But I don't have to maintain a relationship with them do I? Ho hum. I know all this is not normal.
Oops...there was a man at work I meant!
If you enjoy it when you do it, but just don't think about sex, could you try arranging a date night monthly, book a babysitter and go out for dinner tell yourself (not him, do't add pressure) that you'll offer sex when you get home. See if you have mentally 'booked' it would it be easier for you to think about it?
However i do think you need to see a therapist.
I always feel when people say they 'enjoy it when they do it', what they mean isn't that exactly, more something like 'I totally built myself up to it and dreaded doing it and it turned out not as bad as I expected', which isn't quite the same thing is it? Because I think when you actually enjoy something, you want to do it again. Is that how you feel OP?
Apart from more counselling, I don't know what to suggest. You could always just set a date every three or four weeks to do it no matter what... sounds dead predictable but it might work. At least you're aware of it and not acting as though it's not an issue.
How would you feel about your DH being with someone else? Have you ever had a conversation about your sex life along those lines?
It's a good point, if I really enjoyed it, I'd be keener to do it more often.
I've often said to dh I don't know how he puts up with it all, and he says the same thing every time 'because I love you'. So we do talk about this and the thought of him leavjng me for someone else is awful. I love him so it shouldn't be this difficult to get my brain into regular sex mode. Dh would be elated with once a month.
I need help. I don't want to lose him. Will investigate therapy. In the meantime, it's small, but we enjoy watching a film together without the distraction of the dc's, but don't seem to make time for it. We do cuddle up on the sofa still, so if I can combine those two things, it's a small start.
We like the same things in the main and have a lot in common, talk politics a lot (boring to some, but we've always loved a debate). In the end, if I want us to stay together, I have to work this out.
1. testosterone gel
2. a rabbit to be used on the self at least twice a week (with erotic literature to hand). If you don't know what turns you on, you can't communicate it (told me by a PRIEST! That self-love is Godly!!!!)
3. the more you do it? You more you like it. Promise. Commit to once a week whether you feel like it or not - because you love and care about HIM. When you forget about yourself and focus on him, that is a very freeing thing. It is amazing what happens when the cobwebs get brushed aside and you have a few injections of testosterone....
If you don't want him, can I have him? He sounds absolutely lovely.
Hooray Yours sounds like a really lovely, solid relationship and by the sounds of things, I'm sure your DH will support you patiently through any therapy you need to go through around this issue. Be patient with yourself and please try not to tell yourself that resolving this issue is something you 'must' or 'should' do... You are trying to change the situation because you want it to be different and I'm sure that's the way it should be.
I must admit that I'm always a bit unsure about the 'schedule it in and commit to it' type of advice that tends to appear on threads like these. Personally, I have my own mental battles with sex, and I know from experience that telling yourself you should go through with something can create a terrible pressure and heap guilt upon the guilt that is already there. If you are in an intimate situation with someone you love and trust, yet feel scared, sick, revulsed or tearful; then 'just going through with it' can be very damaging for both parties, in my experience.
Good luck with this Hooray, you sound lovely.
Gosh, thanks everyone for some really helpful input [sm
Here's the I meant to add. I know it's not normal but now I've voiced the problem I don't feel so helpless about it all.
"Now there are people on screen that I have fancied for years and still do (Eg Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth). But I don't have to maintain a relationship with them do I?"
You don't have to do anything with them either. That's the thing.... it's far easier to indulge in a fantasy from a safe distance than to do something for real. Phobias tend to get more exaggerated the more the trigger activity is avoided. This doesn't sound like a phobia exactly but as you're already sensitised to there being 'a problem' and tend to avoid intimacy, the danger is that the anticipation that other people use to heighten their desier instead turns into something more negative like 'dread' or 'anxiety'.... the tears you mention.
ABitwobbly- what's your experience of testosterone gels? Just curious 'cause I googled it after reading your post and have found lots of stuff saying they're not advised for use by women. Is that what you meant, or no?
This was me years ago and eventually I lost DH, my own fault. Abitwobblynow has the right idea: common sense but amazing what u miss or glide over til it's too late ( I haven't tried those gels tho! )
DH sounds lovely. I wish you lots of (sexy) love and luck!
I agree waterlego, testosterone for use by women is not approved by the FDA as far as I know and I wouldn't take that advice OP.
I am a dad and have been a quiet reader of this site since we had our first son couple of years back. This is my first post , I hope it is not an interference in women's talk.
HoorayForHollywood, you are not alone to have this problem. My DW and I have been going through more or less the same problem for last eight years. We had sex only two or three times in a year and even that happened during deep sleep in the middle of the night. None of us had any issues of consent regarding this but we don't sleep together now as I really feel badly rejected.
I am not sure how you guys have coped for so long but then I ask myself the same question. My DW is an amazing woman, I could not find a better wife but this problem has really shattered my nerves over the years. In the early years, I tried to persuade her politely for counselling/therapy sessions but never got a positive response from her about that. I still love her but sometimes I do wonder why she is not concerned at all about how I cope with this situation. She takes care of every little need of mine but how can she ignore this issue which is eating me up psychologically. This still remains unanswered and perhaps it will always be this way.
What hurts me more than not having any intimacy in all these years is the fact she does not make an effort to address this problem.
I don't mean to make you feel guilty about your situation but I would suggest you to make an effort about this, do get professional help and let your husband know about this clearly. I would have felt less worse if my wife did so no matter whatever the outcome would be.
I wish you all the very best.
Summerdad im in a similar situ to you. My DH didnt want to get help either.
Old post of mine from last year.
carernotasaintSat 27-Aug-11 16:52:08
Hi. Im not a mum but i felt i had to join to contribute to this discussion. I too am in a sexless marriage but its such a long story i will do it by timeline to make typing this quicker. I apologise if this comes across as cold.
1992 I met my husband and moved in with him after 3 months. He was 42.I was 19.
1996. The sex dwindled and then stopped altogether. I was 23.
1998. We married although it has never been consumated. I still loved him and fancied him at this point.
2001.I started work at (ironically) a sex chatline office.
Feb 2002.I started at Slimming World and lost ten stone in eighteen months.
June 2003. My confidence soared but unfortunately so did my sex drive. I started a new job and met someone through work. My lover was also older than me by seventeen years. The affair lasted for 4 and a half years and was the most passionate exciting and loving time of my life.
March 2006. My husband had a massive heart attack which has led to disabilities and loss of some lung function. I did run the affair alongside caring for hubby until Jan 2008 when i ended the affair. At this point i will say it probably would have come to an end anyway. My lover did have emotionally abusive tendencies which i have actually discussed on another forum.
However since the affair ended all that while ago i have been overeating and put a lot of weight back on. I have started back at SW and am trying to lose it but i have been feeling depressed. My husband didnt just stop the sex 15 years ago. There have been no hugs no touching of ANY description.I feel so lonely and am sort of scared of being slim again. I think part of me thinks that if i am overweight no one will fancy me and i wont be tempted into another affair.But i long to be kissed and touched and stoked and held much more than i long for the actual sex act. Before the affair i asked my husband to go for counselling for seven years but he refused. He has never liked kissing much. He stopped affections TEN years before his heart attack.But partners of ill people need some comfort in life too. We are carers not saints hence my username. Great site by the way xx
Darkesteyes My heart goes out to you. It is a complex issue which fillls you with bitterness, sadness and an emptiness.
Join the discussion
Please login first.