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Calling real or armchair psychologists: why doesn't DH want sex?

(57 Posts)
coralinna Sat 12-Oct-13 09:09:11

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.

CCTVmum Tue 15-Oct-13 00:04:53

Show dh the list of some of the symptoms, ask him to see GP. You will be surprised how enlightened, empowered an adult will feel to suddenly realise their is a title to why the think and feel differently.

Ask for referral to ASD spefific team if they have one in your area or psychiatrist at local community mental health team for asd assessment. This may or may not help your relationship but if ASD is the cause it might help you understand too that this then is no one fault.

You could ask him to do Aspergers Questionnaire by Prof Baron Coen...sorry cant thread from phone but it will be on google.

oh and yes someone can have traits only and therfore no diagnosis (not enough symptoms to reach diagnosis) we all have some traits.

ilikemysleep Sun 13-Oct-13 21:03:07

AS is still diagnosable in the uk as we use 2 classification manuals, the DSM5(which no longer uses aspergers as a diagnostic category) but also the ICD10 which retains the diagnosis. In America they only use the dsm so American websites would say no longer diagnosable.
Asperger people don't have significant learning difficulties, well, specifically, they have autism without language delay as a toddler, but they aren't all like little professors.

coralinna Sun 13-Oct-13 19:03:31

Yes, some if that does ring true to a certain extent. The "earthiness" part in particular. He's also prudish - despite living 50 mins outside Amsterdam for about 6 years, he never went to the red light district.

There is also a fair amount from the Madonna side of the Madonna-Whore complex that rings true too, especially the part that involves looking for someone to be like his mother. I'm not at all like her, but often feel he's more comfortable with her than me (NOT in a sexual way at all), and would prefer me to be like her (less emotional, more repressed) but he denies that he is. The fact that his mother is not physical (and she really strikes me as repressed, rather than anything else), muddies the water a bit. His brother and sister, however, have no problems with physicality, far from it.

I've been looking when I could today at HFA and AS (and understand they're no longer diagnoses. What I find unclear and confusing is IQ level part. The only people I've met who had AS were extremely intelligent. My DH is v clever, but by his own admission, not on their level in that respect.

ilikemysleep Sun 13-Oct-13 11:55:37

My sister is an aspie (has aspergers) and is really not bothered about sexual relationships. My son is also an aspie and I can imagine that when he becomes an adult he will really struggle with the 'earthiness' of sexual relationships. He is very prudish (nothing we have done, the rest of us are not, particularly) and finds physicality difficult. I can't imgine him enjoying the smells and squelches and touching involved in sex. He also has great difficulty with initiating in particular, as do quite a few (by no means all) people with autism. It is a great shame because he is a lovely person, kind and funny and not a malicious bone in his body. But he would need a wife who accepts that he won't initiate physical contact, doesn't like light touch, and finds physicality rather umpleasant....not many about I don't think. But I don't think he's gay or a peadophile. He just lives so much more in his head than in the physical world. Does this sound like your dh?

coralinna Sun 13-Oct-13 10:29:51

Thank you! This isn't really the easiest subject to bring up with friends anyway, because it's very personal about him. If it was me who was the cause of the problem, I'd be talking about it!

I can't go into the details of why I can't leave, because they'd put me in a shot to anyone I know in RL, which I don't want to do for the same reason as above.

Anyway, I do need to be told that I can leave if I want, so thank you. I am unhappy about the intimacy situation, but I love him and am certain he does me. I will see the GP this week and see if there are support services. I am not going to leave now (but am aware this is where we're heading if nothing changes), so I can at least keep trying. I want to spend the rest of my life with this man, I just need intimacy, so I don't want to say it's over until I've exhausted everything. Something I bring to the relationship is being able to look outside myself for solutions, which having done here, and thanks to you all, I've found some ideas/confirmations/answers, so I'll see if I can find a way for it to help us. It would be nice if he did this himself, but he does other things that I don't.

CaptainPoop - thank you for your earlier message. I didn't have time to respond at the time, but it's been on my mind. The fact that you have been having individual therapy and now couples therapy offers me a glimmer of hope, because this is what I've felt needs to happen with us. I know that therapy has great benefits, but can be quite tough, so well done for sticking with it.

Lizzabadger Sun 13-Oct-13 09:30:43

Umm...even he is on the autism spectrum that's not a reason for a low libido, as far as I know.

The reason really doesn't matter anyhow. You're not happy with it and he's not willing/able to change it.

Unidentifiedflyingobject Sun 13-Oct-13 09:27:06

That thing you said about being ok with 'girly' and 'pretty' but not with 'womanly' is absolutely exactly the same as my ex I thought this about re the ASD. It's like a proforma for understanding women and stuff outside that is challenging and unnecessary.

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?

Lizzabadger Sun 13-Oct-13 08:32:13

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?

CaptainPoop Sun 13-Oct-13 08:29:23

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.

coralinna Sun 13-Oct-13 03:55:46

Thanks, Slang.

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.

CCTVmum Sun 13-Oct-13 01:03:36

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)

Thistledew Sun 13-Oct-13 00:40:19

Maybe he is just asexual?

DebrisSlide Sun 13-Oct-13 00:21:52

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.

SlangKing Sat 12-Oct-13 23:58:20

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.

coralinna Sat 12-Oct-13 23:13:00

* 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?

coralinna Sat 12-Oct-13 22:47:17

Sorry, that was EPIC!

coralinna Sat 12-Oct-13 22:40:38

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.

CaptainPoop Sat 12-Oct-13 22:24:03

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.

SlangKing Sat 12-Oct-13 22:00:24

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.

Rules Sat 12-Oct-13 21:59:36

My first thought was "gay".

Exactly Slang - you can be a paedophile without actually physically abusing anyone.

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 hmm

SlangKing Sat 12-Oct-13 21:22:12

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.

CaptainPoop Sat 12-Oct-13 21:10:29

Creature, the dh is probably find with the ds's nappies as they don't contain anything unfamiliar.

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