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.
Calling real or armchair psychologists: why doesn't DH want sex?(57 Posts)
DH has mental blocks that prevent him from having sex. This is the latest reason (came out last night) and I feel there might be something in it. He's said he'll try to think about why he has these blocks (refuses therapy point blank and I'm going along with this rather than argue more over it as I've resorted to "smoking him out") and in a few weeks I'll ask him how it's going (so he does it).
I don't know if our relationship is going to work out, but I'm trying my hardest, because we have kids (he wanted them too, I had to initiate sex). I feel AWFUL for the kids and want to find a solution. Obviously I want a solution for myself too because (ungreat) sex every 11 months isn't making me happy.
An example of these so called blocks us that when he was just out if uni, a girl was interested in him. Apparently she was very nice. She had a cat, however, and he doesn't like cats, so when she invited him back, he said no and that was that. This was a guy in his early-mid twenties who now, many years later has a cat. He says he doesn't know why he couldn't see past the cat at the time. There are loads of examples like this, this is just the most straight forward to write down.
So, what do you think could be the cause of his blocks? I want to have some ideas so I can ask questions that get us somewhere. I've asked him in the past if he was abused as a kid, gay, asexual and he's said no. I'm thinking it's along the lines of little self confidence.
I'm going to be in and out today, so not at computer all the time. I will check back when I can.
I do not know the signs a paedophile might give away. Do you? I have a DS and he is disabled and now reached puberty. Sometimes I am glad I do not have to change sanitary pads etc and as it is likely I will be changing DS's pads until I die.. does this make me a paedophile too?
See the whole nappy changing thing rang alarm bells for me too.
It could be that he was abused and doesn't want to go near his dd as he had certain thoughts which he struggles to process.
I don't know, but the poster who suggest peadophile - I'm not going to flame them.
Sole, the DH is only staying away from his DD's nappies. Not his son's.
My gut reaction to this was 'gay'.
That may be untrue and unfair...but anecdotally, the only men I have ever known of who werent interested in sex at all or who lived in sexless relationships with women were actually deeply repressed gay men.
some heavy posts on here..
So, another guess from a stranger here.. could it be mother issues? What is the relationship with his mother like?
Or a kind of Madonna/Whore complex? Did you have an active sex life before marriage? And since your're married he sees you in a more non sexual way? Do you flirt with him sometimes? Is there any chemistry?
Regarding the nappy changing aversion, it could also be interpreted as a kind of a phobia of female genitalia, which could tie into the mother issues?
I don't think it's fair to assume that the reason he has trouble with dd's nappies are because he's a paedo. Many people do not grow up in households that are comfortable with nudity. It may be that the dh has only experienced nudity with females in a sexual context, and it may take him a while to get used to the idea that nudity doesn't equal sex. Our society doesn't really do itself any favours in this respect, as the female body is usually carefully covered unless purposefully exposed in a display sensuality ie, lads mags, page 3 etc.
The nappy issue may be a completely from the lack of physical intimacy with the op.
Creature, the dh is probably find with the ds's nappies as they don't contain anything unfamiliar.
No, Sole, of couse not. But, unless you say otherwise, you aren't also lying to your partner to justify a low sex drive (that was never high to begin with), or refusing to seek help for acknowledged 'issues'.
Rooty - thanks for, in part at least, agreeing with me. As for the rest and another poster* asking a similar question. If to this OP (or any other) there are any number of conclusions that might be reached, are you suggesting that I/we should only express the more palatable? Even if less inclined to believe them?
I said he MIGHT be a paedo' - I didn't say child-molester. The two things ain't the same (unless you write for the daily mail).
*I am on a phone, typing with 1 thumb, so forgive slow replies and forgetting your names. I can't open a 2nd window for reference.
On its own I wouldn't think much of it although I think that's a lame excuse. With the other stuff however I'm a bit
Exactly Slang - you can be a paedophile without actually physically abusing anyone.
Thanks, Creature. In retrospect I probably ought to've stressed that in my first post.
CaptainP - Fine examples of working with the evidence. I genuinely hope your 'conclusions' are more accurate. As to my 'unfairness' - while I accept that somebody with mother/tactile issues might not seek help this DH does seem particularly reluctant and lied to a (seemingly) supportive wife. I think he'd more readily seek support for those issues than paedophilia. I beg to differ that I'm being unfair - it's one of many possible rationalizations of the evidence. If OPs ask for opinions, we shouldn't fear expressing them. Similarly, if the explanations were easy, this forum would be dull cuz the would-be OPs'd figure out the answers themselves and not post.
Slang, I don't think your interpretation of the situation is unfair, but the way you present your case is unreasonably dismissive of all other possibilities. You 'couldn't argue yourself out of it'. That's very emotive language. We don't know enough about the op, her dh and their backgrounds to be so definitely certain of anything. Your interpretation is really insightful and intelligently thought through, but it's not the only possibility.
Ok, I'm back. I'm on my phone, so it's probably address themes, rather than posters. Thank you all for helping me out here!
Firstly, the paedophilia issue. It was a shock to read and was something that hadn't occurred to me before. While I can see some of it fits, my gut tells me it's probably not that. My heart hopes it's not and my head tells me I'm right, but should keep my eyes open to the possibility, just in case.
For the nappy issue, he is happier doing it now than when she was newborn. At the time I got the feeling that he was scared by it and he confirmed it. I mentioned it this evening and he says he's comfortable now with it. He does seem more confident. His bonding in general seems different than with DS. He is bonding though, I just think it's an unknown for him, whereas a son wasn't unknown.
The Madonna-Whore complex has rung some bells. I had a quick google about it. I don't see any of his past relationships/flings as fitting into the Whore description. In fact, I'd almost be happy to hear he'd had relationships that were all about sex. He hasn't though. He hasn't had a whole lot of relationships either.
What seems to make sense though, is the whole Madonna side of things. I would say that he puts almost all women in the Madonna box.
As for his relationship with female family members, his sister about 8 years younger than him and he's been overprotective of her in the past. His mother though is the great repressor. I've seen her with other grandchildren as babies and after that, the affection doesn't change but the amount of touching does. DH has told me that his family don't hug.
In reading about the M-W complex it seems clear that he's goth me on a pedestal.
As for being gay, I've begged him, in tears, to tell me the truth and he's advent gr wants to be with me.
Get out plan: I'm working on it - it'll take a few years.
* he's adamant that he's not gay and wants to be with me.
The female genitalia issue is something he's not comfortable with. In general I'd say he's not comfortable with femininity in general, especially womanhood. He's more comfortable with the idea of girly (and by that I mean pretty, uncomplicated) than he is with the strength that womanhood can offer. I don't think there's anything sexually attractive for him about girls (although, like I said above, I will be keeping eyes open), it's more that he's maybe stuck at puberty - if that makes sense. Stuck in the stage before a real sexual interest in females start (or males), where they are too shy to interact properly.
This is all massively drip feeding, which I wanted to avoid, but the questions and issues raised were something I thought I should address.
Does anyone know how being on the autism spectrum could tie in with the M-W complex?
Point taken CaptP - I didn't intend to appear CERTAIN, and thought I'd done enough to make that clear. Perhaps it was only clear to me. Thanks for the input.
I'm glad your gut tells you otherwise, OP,, and sorry if I freaked you out but I thought you should consider the possibility. At least he's talking to you. Good luck to the pair of you.
If he's always been like this, then you are the one that is changing the goalposts, you know?
You seem to be assuming that he should be up for regular sex, but you allude to it always being the case that he wasn't. It's not very fair for you to be pressurising him now, is it?
He might have issues, but it is clear that the payoff from him not addressing them is greater than that of doing so. Be gentle with him, even if it means that you tell him that you can't be his wife any longer.
Does your DH have these mental blocks any other time? Or is it just over 'sex'?
If latter it is for a reason?
If it his ? being on spectrum their would be other signs...ie reads social communication wrongly, doesn't understand sarcasm, jokes, prefers being alone, may have sensory probs with noise/foods/colours/touch ( incl hugs you mention), motor clumsy esp handwriting, very literal and loves routine same every day, and annoyed if someone is 1 minute late or doesnt come back when they say they will 'be a minute' and not read emotions of others and can't often express own emotions and ends up at melting point etc lots and lots of symptoms really and not every person the same symptoms. Does he talk much? Initiate conversation?...chit chat? Ask questions about your day? Or does he just talk about himself (when asked)? Does he have interests he will talk about a lot if conversation arises? Not get the social cues when people are bored of him chatting about his interest etc? This is what ASD is mainly like. Does this ring a bell? Hope these symptoms help you to recognise if dh is ASD or not?
But if blocks a lot not just over sex I would get him checked out neurologically ie seizures (absences that last few seconds etc)
Debris - yes, you're right that to a certain extent I'm changing the goalposts. This is because what was implied to me - that it was just shyness and would melt away, especially if I do x, y and z, which I've done - isn't the case. It's also true that things have gotten worse, which is what has prompted most of the frustration to come to the surface. I'm not expecting regular sex, but certainly more than once a year, only at my initiation and pretty crap sex, yes, I do expect that.
Thistle - I have talked to him about that. He assures me that he is not, that he wants sex and is physically attracted to me (I remain not entirely certain as there are clearly no signs).
CCTV - yes. These symptoms ring a bell. Not all of them, but out of 17 (I grouped a few) symptoms you listed, he has nine that I'd say I recognise immediately. They're not really, really strong, but I'd know you're talking about my DH.
If it's borderline ASD (would that even make sense? If it's a spectrum, perhaps you're on it or not?), does this essentially mean there's no hope because its unfair to expect things to change significantly with DH?
How could I possibly leave him (one day) for something outside his control, yet how can I live the rest of my life without having a proper physical relationship?
I'm starting to think that his mother may have known something. She was very worried that he'd never get married. I thought they were joking, because it was always said as a joke, and DH used to joke about it, but i realised a while after the wedding that it wasn't a joke. She used to work with children, so was exposed to wide ranges of behaviours. I'm also sure that there is something in his psyche relating to his mother, aside from possibly being "borderline" ASD, so it's not (possibly) the only issue.
Things are starting to slot into place a bit. The second pregnancy was really hard. I was on bed rest for a few months and incredibly stressed. He didn't get the emotional side at all and despite doing a LOT to keep the house and DS ticking over, he wasn't there on any level emotionally with me. It was like he just didn't get it. I thought he was mean and couldn't understand why. He didn't touch me, hold me, sympathise much, other than with the practicality if being stuck in the house. He's unable, entirely unable to put himself in someone else's shoes. He can imagine if it were him, but not take himself out of himself.
You're allowed to leave for any reason. Just because it's something beyond his control doesn't mean you MUST stay and be miserable forever. People split up for all kinds of reasons. Not being happy with the lack of intimacy, for whatever reason, is absolutely an acceptable reason.
This relationship doesn't sound happy for either of you.
It doesn't sound like the problem can be resolved as he's always been like this.
I'd be inclined to put less energy into speculating why he is how he is and more into parting amicably.
You say you would leave if you could and that you are working on a get-out plan but it will take a few years. What's holding you back?
It sounds like you have a lot to think about here. The default "sex therapy" option seems to be sensate focus. I suspect that wouldn't be something he would do, but might be worth suggesting?
Join the discussion
Please login first.