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Is this ok?

(82 Posts)
gropey Sat 20-Apr-13 13:55:18

I have been struggling with a very low libido for quite a while now and have no interest in intimacy or sex at all.

I can't figure out exactly what's causing it - I have a stressful full time job and a ds so am totally knackered at the end of the day and I don't sleep well either so that doesn't help.

Dh and I have been through a rough patch and he has done some things that have shocked me and frightened me in terms of bad arguments. He has never hit me but can be verbally abusive and throws things around, shouting a lot and has threatened to kill himself etc.

However, he has settled down a lot and most of this is in the past and he has worked really hard on it. Every now and again when he gets frustrated he might call me names but apologises very quickly.

I think that what has happened in the past has affected my libido because I was scared of him tbh. I can't seem to move on or forget it and it's causing big problems.

The main point of posting is to get some opinions on what is acceptable in terms of touching and intimacy. For example, during the day he will come up to me and touch my breasts etc and I am uncomfortable with this. He likes a lot of cuddles and affection and quite often makes sexual remarks during the day. For example, he will call me "hot" and it's the last thing I feel as I am overweight and I think I am very unattractive. It actually irritates me when he starts saying nice things about me! I don't know why. I feel in no way like a sexual being and actually don't want to be. I know this is not right. I hate it all. When we wake up in the morning, he just touches my boobs and I hate it.

He says he wants a nice romantic evening and I actually don't know what that is. I sound really pathetic. I have felt quite depressed recently and withdrawing into myself. I crave time on my own a lot and I can't be bothered to talk or anything. I know I'm being really cold and I know it's driving him crazy.

He might send me some sexual texts out of the blue and I can't bear it because it means nothing to me.

What do you think?

Lueji Tue 23-Apr-13 13:30:26

That's really good indeed. smile

Just make sure that you stick to those boundaries.

Sadly, I suspect he'll push them. But fingers crossed. smile

GreyWhites Tue 23-Apr-13 13:07:43

That's brilliant Gropey. I think being clear and being firm about your boundaries is a good start.

The suggestion of making a visit to the doctor's is a good one. Write down the things you want to say before you go so you don't get flustered and forget. It's worth mentioning your low sex drive, as the ADs don't help and some ADs are worse than others in this regard. That's not to say there aren't lots of other very good psychological reasons why you're not interested in sex right now, but making sure there are no pharmaceutical blocks to this will help get you work slowly back to a position where you might be able to consider it with less indifference.

When my partner was on ADs we hardly ever had sex and when we did it was awful. Eventually he told me that he couldn't face sex and the idea of touching or any intimacy (eg kissing, hugs, sitting together, anything) with me disgusted him. Obviously that was horrible for me to hear but at least he was honest. Once he was no longer depressed and off his ADs, his sex drive returned to normal. So don't fear that your sex drive is gone forever or that your relationship with your partner will never be intimate. He just has to be patient with you. If he really loves you, he will be.

Fluffymonster Sun 21-Apr-13 22:49:20

Hi gropey - very glad you've tried to talk to him.

Whether he really will take it on board is another matter - I think you're right - right now, he will be upset and probably feeling sorry for himself. Don't give in to any emotional blackmail - it's just smoke and mirrors.

If he's smart, he will be super nice for a while, which is very typical. It will be interesting what happens when he gets tired of that though.

If you do go to the doctor's - perhaps it might be an idea to ask if you could be referred for counselling, to talk about the trust and intimacy issues?

Or maybe look into some cognitive behavioural therapy?

I've not had experience of it myself, but know people who have, who said that CBT can be very effective in helping to them counteract that constant negative self-talk.

Of course you're not a 'failure' - at least, no more than anyone else. But it must be very difficult if you can't believe that, and how draining, to have that going on in your head all the time! It doesn't have to be like that.

Anyway - take care, and there are always people here if you need to talk.

peacefuleasyfeeling Sun 21-Apr-13 22:38:58

Good evening, Gropey. Well done, those were big things you addressed with your partner in one sitting! You seem, despite feeling low, very clear about how you want to move ahead. I hope your talk with your GP is fruitful.

For what it's worth, I realised I missed making the point yesterday that your partner will only truly feel OK if he himself puts in the work to look at himself and his "stuff" (most appropriately done in a therapeutic context) and that any "making it alright" that you might provide is only a sticky-plaster and will not even touch the sides of the kind of self-loathing I imagine is fuelling his behaviour. So all the more reason to let him shoulder this responsibility himself.

Much love to you.

BicBiro Sun 21-Apr-13 21:25:26

hi gropey, well done instigating a conversation and making yourself heard.

i really hope he gets it this time.

be kind to yourself. and we'll still be here if and when you need to chat.

AnyFucker Sun 21-Apr-13 21:07:42

Keep in touch, love

You sound lovely

You have been very clear with him, and if he lets you down it isn't your fault it would be because he cannot step up to being a decent partner

One more name call and he is out. Make sure you stick to that. Empty threats really do put you further back than you ever were before, if you do not follow through

Take care x

gropey Sun 21-Apr-13 21:00:21

Hi everyone and thanks for your messages today.

Well we had a long talk and I was brutally honest with him. He took it quite well and said he understood. I told him that sex was off the agenda completely and that all the touching and sex talk had to stop. He said that he would stop.

We talked about splitting up and he said he would go if I wanted him to. He then said that he would have to give his business up if we split which made me really angry. It felt like emotional blackmail and I told him that I was not responsible for him and his choices.

He seemed to get it and I made it very clear that his past behaviour was inexcusable no matter how frustrated he felt.

He is now feeling upset and Air suspect a bit sorry for himself. I have warned him that one more name call and it's finished.

I still feel really low and don't want to talk much. I think I will go to the doctor for a review on my ad's.

I need to stop looking at other people and feeling like a failure. It's like a background soundtrack to my everyday life and it's a horrible feeling. I feel like I've wrecked my life. Sorry for all the self pitying crap.

You've all made me see what's going on and helped with a way forward. Lets see how long it all lasts.

gropey Sun 21-Apr-13 20:54:58

Hi everyone and thanks for your messages today.

Well we had a long talk and I was brutally honest with him. He took it quite well and said he understood. I told him that sex was off the agenda completely and that all the touching and sex talk had to stop. He said that he would stop.

We talked about splitting up and he said he would go if I wanted him to. He then said that he would have to give his business up if we split which made me really angry. It felt like emotional blackmail and I told him that I was not responsible for him and his choices.

He seemed to get it and I made it very clear that his past behaviour was inexcusable no matter how frustrated he felt.

He is now feeling upset and Air suspect a bit sorry for himself. I have warned him that one more name call and it's finished.

I still feel really low and don't want to talk much. I think I will go to the doctor

Fluffymonster Sun 21-Apr-13 13:43:01

Hi gropey - how are you feeling?

I should clarify (thank you BicBiro) that when I referred to "your frigidity" in an earlier post - I meant "so-called" - because yes it's an out-dated and derogatory term and not really appropriate. Everything you described would put most people off sex and anyone calling you - or you calling yourself - 'frigid' is missing the point.

Also agree with everything peaceful said about it not being your job to fix his issues with rejection. That is his responsibility and his alone. If he has difficulty with it - he needs to seek help (separately). You can't help him by trying to make it so he never feels rejected, because it has been destroying your self esteem (and libido) in the process.

AnyFucker Sun 21-Apr-13 13:15:04

I would be interested to know if OP does tell her H that sex is off the agenda for a while, but more importantly how he reacts to that

BicBiro Sun 21-Apr-13 12:55:12

how are you doing today gropey?

Lueji Sun 21-Apr-13 07:11:37

His calling you names and apologising is a typical cycle of abuse.
He's telling you what he's thinking, but then bringing you back in.

Of course it's toned down. You said yourself that if it was as bad as before you'd have left.

Accept that you are rejecting him. Your body and your emotions are rejecting him, yes. Listen to them.
It doesn't make you a bad person.
Even if he was a good man, you cannot force yourself to be attracted to someone else if you don't.

Fluffymonster Sun 21-Apr-13 02:00:29

I second what others are saying about asking your dh to leave sex completely off the agenda for a while - as feeling pressured into it is not helping matters and making things worse. You need some breathing space.

Counselling may also be a good idea as you have mentioned similar things happened with your previous marriage, and other partners, now dh.

However...not sure couples counselling is the way to go at this stage. The reason I am a bit cautious, is your dh is still verbally abusive towards you.

It may be that there is an abusive pattern in your relationships, because your 'potentially-abusive-partner' alert, needs work - understandably, because of what happened to you.

In which case - couples counselling may not be appropriate. However - I'm not an expert.

So sorry you're having a rubbish time - I'm sending you an un-mumsnetish [hug]. Will check back tomorrow to see how you are.

Ouchmyhead Sun 21-Apr-13 01:18:51

Oh Gropey, you sound so defeated and sad, it must be awful to be going through this. You put so much blame on yourself and seem to carry everything on your shoulders - you need to be much more forgiving on yourself, none of what has happened is your fault!

As for the sexual contact and your husband, it is understandable that you don't want a sexual relationship or to be touched by him. You ask what is normal for other people, and to be honest with my DP we have a very touchy feely relationship, he will grab my boobs or my bum unexpectedly, but I'm fine with that and like it. With your situation it's completely different, he's worn you down and been abusive, with sexual abuse in your past as well, it must make things so much worse.

I can only suggest counselling and visiting your GP about your anti depressants as it really does sound like you need support right now and advice. As for your husband, tell him straight you really need him to be there for you and not expect anything in return - that's what people in relationships do, when my DP was depressed I had to be strong for both of us, and it's what he should do for you. You don't deserve to be called names or made to feel guilty, you should make it clear to him he either supports you or leaves, because you can't deal with getting yourself better and him draining your strength at the same time. Good luck.

BicBiro Sun 21-Apr-13 01:16:35

i dont think find use of the word frigid is appropriate or necessary when describing someone's libido.

Googleit Sun 21-Apr-13 00:57:55

It's clear that due to your past abuse you are unclear about what is normal intimacy in a marriage or relationship. From what you have described it is perfectly normal to have intimacy during the day and spontanity in touching and text messages.
It's also normal for you to have a low libido do you may end up coming across a bit frigid but you are tired and bearing in mind your abuse in the past only understandable.
Work on the relationship and try to move on from the past.

Fluffymonster Sun 21-Apr-13 00:57:29

You're not a loser, gropey - your instincts are working fine. Somewhere inside you, you knew the situation wasn't right, that's why you're unable to get turned on by him. It's self-preservation at work.

I think, maybe you just needed to hear some validation, because your inner voice has been drowned out by dh's needs, demands, and name-calling.

Crying is a good thing, let it out. Awareness of something wrong, is the first step towards putting it right. Try and get some sleep if you can - it's time to take care of your emotional needs, that can only be a good thing in the long run.

fionathepink Sun 21-Apr-13 00:43:19

He is probably trying to build your self-esteem by making sexually explicit comments and calling you 'hot'. He probably doesn't realise this is not the right way to go about making you feel good about yourself and that a heart felt apology and understanding for the past hurt he has caused will go a lot further.

If you feel uncomfortable then you need to tell him and also tell him why. He most likely feels rejected and then acts out as a result. This isn't saying it is your fault but that it takes two people to make a relationship work. He might just be a prick trying to make you feel crap but he also might love you and want to make you feel good about yourself the only way he knows how. You need to tell him how you feel, specifically tell him how what he does and says makes you feel and why.

Sex should be an integral part of a relationship and if you feel your libido is nothing then there is something integrally wrong in your relationship that you need to address, whether it is past abuse or something else.

After you've told him how what he does makes you feel then start again slowly. Talk about how you met, the things that attracted you to each other, what you love about each other. If you need more contact without sexual implications then tell him e.g. I like it when you rub my shoulders, it relaxes me but when you want that to go further it makes me feel tense so for the time being can you just rub my shoulders and accept that is all I need. Then maybe do something non-explicitly sexual for him that he would like. See where that takes you.

Over all, you should both talk about getting some counselling or advice maybe for sex as a couple to work these things out in a safe environment.

BicBiro Sun 21-Apr-13 00:34:46

wonderful post peacefuleasyfeeling. you have such a lovely calming, grounding presence.

gropey, how about changing that to NoMoreGropey), please read the posts above, please put yourself first. you will feel so much better once you are being true to your feelings. you will be able to think straight once again.

peacefuleasyfeeling Sun 21-Apr-13 00:28:11

And yes to Bic and Hopkin 's suggestions just now that he needs to stop approaching you sexually, say you'll come to him when and if you're ready, however long that may be.

peacefuleasyfeeling Sun 21-Apr-13 00:25:36

Dear Gropey, this is making me weep. I feel so sad this is happening in your life. (I've just had a long interruption while composing this message so I apologise if I'm going over what has already been said in my absence.)

I can't add much to the good advice you have been given, just the encouragement to give yourself the gift of being heard; listen to yourself, your posts are lucid and intelligent.

I can see you are determined to see the best in your partner and whereas I do not want to discredit this effort on your part (although I do think this tendency 'fits' with the dynamic of the relationship you are describing) I think the best place for you to start is with making space for you. This is about you and your wellbeing, and to paraphrase an earlier poster ( Cogito ?) you need to put yourself and your needs at the centre of this. Your partner's needs (for intimacy, affirmation, acceptance, whatever it may be) are totally secondary now, at least as far as your efforts are concerned. I would be inclined to return to counselling if you can find the time and money. In my personal experience, once you begin to dare to feel what you are really feeling and trust that it is OK to act in congruence with your true feelings, you tend to feel a lot clearer and better equipped to do what is needed; whether that is creating boundaries, speaking your truth, making requests, anything.

Perhaps, if your parner is in earnest, he would also benefit from some counselling or a local men's group. You really, really are not responsible for making things OK for him, and in a therapeutic context he might find the support he needs and some useful mirroring and feedback too, if he's lucky, however uncomfortable it may be at times. Hopefully, it would allow you to relinquish some of the sense of responsibility you feel you have for making him feel better about it all. If he struggles with remorse and rejection, he would do well to take responsibility for that himself. Not because you have too much on your plate, but because it is not your job.

I will check in on this thread tomorrow, and in the meantime send you lots of love.

hopkinette Sat 20-Apr-13 23:41:26

You're not a loser. You're having a really hard time at the moment and you're struggling, and that happens to absolutely everyone. I would bet you that most, if not all, of the people you're comparing yourself to also feel like "losers" and believe that they've "screwed their lives up" - everyone feels like that sometimes and for the most part we plaster on a smile and pretend that everything's great. So don't compare your internal world to other people's external appearances and use that as yet another stick to beat yourself with!

Sexual abuse is an absolute bastard. I know that you've had counselling, but would you consider having more? Because it does sound like it's still eating you up. And do you think you could make your DP understand that he NEEDS to stop making sexual demands and that this is absolutely crucial for your happiness right now? Do you feel you could say that to him? Do you think he'd respect it - and I mean really respect it, as opposed to saying he'll respect it and then pestering you, groping you, and calling you ugly names when you are forced to reject his advances?

BicBiro Sat 20-Apr-13 23:38:19

I've gone off sex with many partners I've had too gropey, it's not just you. it's an act which for many is an expression of intimacy built on trust and security, like fluffy said.

once that trust is broken, to me it's only natural the sex goes too. your body shuts down, it cant respond anymore.

your DH is thinking only of himself every time he demands sex, shouts at you, calls you vile, hurtful names, prods you and whatever else he does. it's all about him.

our culture promotes sex in a marriage - we should be doing it X amount of times, in X amount of positions, regardless of the state of the actual relationship.

what if you took sex off the agenda altogether and said to your DH "look, i want no sex for 1/3/6 months - i will come to you", how would that be for you?

gropey Sat 20-Apr-13 23:02:41

Oh fluffy I am in tears at your post. It rang true. I've come to bed early and just want to cry.

I am such a loser compared to my friends and family and people at work. I've screwed my life up so many times I don't know how to get it back. I feel like shit and hate the world. Im so angry.

Fluffymonster Sat 20-Apr-13 22:45:20

Hi gropey

I'm not surprised your libido is low and you don't feel like having sex.

You have a stressful full time job, are often tired and not sleeping well. That's enough, for a start - but as well as that, he has frightened you by being physically violent, shouting, and threatening to kill himself. You're still traumatised, with good reason.

Your comment that he called you a "frigid cow" only a few nights ago concerns me. He is still being abusive.

So every time that happens, your libido probably sinks a little lower. It's hard to believe someone can love us, if they can be so hurtful, so easily. That's why you can't let go and trust him. Because you shouldn't!

Sex isn't just mechanical, it requires being in the mood, and trust plays a big part. In that context of verbal abuse, you can't trust him. Your instincts are right, your libido is right.

No matter how much he comes up to you and touches your breasts, (which btw, would be a real turn off for me - they're not lumps of dough to be kneaded at will, fgs - and it's insulting, if he thinks giving them a honk and a tweak is enough to turn you on). Unless you're 'feeling it' in your brain - you won't be 'feeling it' anywhere else. You don't want to be sexual because you actually just want him to leave you alone, because he hurts you. How can you believe him when he says you're "hot", when he could just as easily be pouring insults?

And in this abusive context - no, you don't know what wanting "a nice romantic evening" means. It's not pathetic, or cold. It could mean an evening where he gets his rocks off, and he may well think it's romantic - while you end up feeling used.

Every time he badgers you for sex it's just exacerbating the problem, because the underlying issue isn't your frigidity, it's his history of physical aggression and intimidation, and continuing verbal and emotional abuse.

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