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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!

mumnosbest Tue 06-Nov-12 23:51:43

19 months of no sex here. started due to pg and has become a habbit. we are ok but not very close. need to break the habbit somehow.

Offred Tue 06-Nov-12 23:54:57

Those marriage vows are relevant only to religious marriage and breaking one is not made better by another being broken is it? Why not leave if he broke his vow? why break yours too? As I've said, it is understandable but it is still wrong. All people do wrong sometimes, if you have a problem admitting when you have done wrong then you have a bigger problem than simply what you did IMO.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Tue 06-Nov-12 23:59:38

I don't think having an affair is remotely wrong in the situation Darkesteyes describes. Her H was treating her like a toy he didn't want to play with but wouldn't let anyone else have, either.

Don't forget: monogamy is a social construct, the purpose of which is to allow men to own a woman each for domestic work and childbreeding. That's all it is, so forget all the guff about the sacredness of it; do it if it suits you and bin it if it doesn't.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Wed 07-Nov-12 00:01:22

Also, it takes guts for a woman to have an affair when she's married to a man who is selfish (and to withdraw sex unilaterally and refuse to discuss it is selfish) - women are still socialised intensely to put men's needs ahead of their own and endure bad marriages. Affairs are often the best way of escaping a bad situation.

Darkesteyes Wed 07-Nov-12 00:02:21

So before my registry office marriage i guess i should have
. foreseen all this before taking my vows.
So with my body i thee worship is only for religious marriage but keep you only unto them is for ALL marriage.
Wow Offred are you rewriting ALL the marriage vows or just the parts that suit you.
All "people do wrong sometimes" Really?? Really. Talk about belittling.

Offred Wed 07-Nov-12 00:03:39

Monogamy is nothing to do with it. No-one forced her to stay. She could have discussed it, he could have done. They didn't, instead they both played a pathetic game of tit for tat. What is the actual point? Facts are she is perfectly entitled to be non-monogamous, he is perfectly entitled to be asexual but the part that is unacceptable is the part where each of them lie to each other about what they want:

Offred Wed 07-Nov-12 00:05:02

No darkest as you well know I am NOT saying he didn't do you wrong. I am simply saying doing wrong to him in retaliation for a wrong done to you is not right. Both of you have done wrong to each other.

Darkesteyes Wed 07-Nov-12 00:07:11

Hi Solid. I was 19 when i met DH. Im now 39. I used to post as carernotasaint. im beginning to see things so differently since rediscovering feminism last year at the age of 38.
i know that if i met the sexiest most loving man on earth tommorrow i would still never marry again.
Our marriage is open on my side now but it had to go through a lot to get to this stage.

Darkesteyes Wed 07-Nov-12 00:10:23

i never lied to him Offred. I tried to broach the subject many times over the course of SEVEN YEARS before the affair.

Offred Wed 07-Nov-12 00:14:25

Having an affair IS lying otherwise it would be an open relationship and not an affair. You chose to have an affair rather than leave when you were aware of his refusal to discuss things.

Offred Wed 07-Nov-12 00:17:05

The fact you tried to talk for seven years and were met with refusal doesn't make me think having an affair was right it makes me think "why would anyone put up with being so completely stonewalled by their spouse?" It doesn't give you some kind of martyrdom points that you can spend on secret extramarital sex, it just makes you disingenuous, most especially to yourself and secondly to your husband.

Darkesteyes Wed 07-Nov-12 00:23:12


OneMoreChap Wed 07-Nov-12 10:13:19

Also, it takes guts for a woman to have an affair when she's married to a man who is selfish (and to withdraw sex unilaterally and refuse to discuss it is selfish)

I'd have said that's not gender specific.

Affairs are often the best way of escaping a bad situation.

Been there, done that. I regret it. I should have just left, and I tend to agree with Offred a bit.

I do wonder how it would be received if a man said, "Well, I love her, but no sex is a dealbreaker, so I'm leaving." Some posters, I'm sure, would say victim blame - "Well, why doesn't she want to have sex with you...".

notanotherstatistic Wed 07-Nov-12 10:34:42

I think the point being made by Offred is about deceit and respecting one's partner. Monogamy has very little to do with it. Yes, SolidGold..., I totally agree that marriage and monogamy are social constructs, but when two people have signed up to that construct, one of them having an affair is deceitful. This shouldn't be about tit for tat, but about resolving what is clearly a deal-breaker for Darkesteyes.

notanotherstatistic Wed 07-Nov-12 10:36:43

And in the long run resolving it by having an affair rarely helps either person in these sorts of relationships.

Helltotheno Wed 07-Nov-12 10:43:20

Our marriage is open on my side now but it had to go through a lot to get to this stage

Glad to hear that carer / Darkest, I remember some of your other posts and I don't blame you at all. Life is short....

Darkesteyes Wed 07-Nov-12 15:18:36

Hello Hell. thanks

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Wed 07-Nov-12 16:12:25

Look, deciet is actually, really, not that big a deal. People who are totally honest are actually really fucking grim to live with, because 'honesty' generally means never keeping your trap shut when you have an opportunity to say something negative. I'm all in favour of the pragmatic lie in a tight situation.

People make far, far too much of a fuss about couple relationships and heteromonogamy, and I think anything short of deliberate abuse of a partner is just part of life and should be got over.

BelaLugosisShed Wed 07-Nov-12 16:35:37

So now you know people, being lied to is no big deal and if your partner is shagging someone else, it's best to just "get over it". hmm

Deceit is actually a very big deal deal to anyone with an ounce of emotional intelligence - you only have to read this board to see the damage done by a lying partner.

Honesty isn't "grim", it's vital in a healthy and happy relationship.

Offred Wed 07-Nov-12 16:42:09

Monogamy is nothing to do with this. cheating is not unique to hetero-monogamous relationships it is a completely unrelated point. Deceit is quite a big deal actually and cheating is pretty abusive.

Offred Wed 07-Nov-12 16:43:06

And there is a MASSIVE gap between actively deceitful and totally honest btw.

Oblomov Wed 07-Nov-12 16:55:04

"Look, deciet is actually, really, not that big a deal."

were you refering to little white lies here: does my bum look big in that dress...
or were you refering to deceit as in an 'affair'.

We all know affairs are very damaging. Then are 100's of threads on Mn, from ladies (and Men) who have found out that their dh/dp/dw has had an affair.
Surely you can't argue that they are not damaging.

Darkesteyes Wed 07-Nov-12 17:22:10

Offred so you want to talk about dishonesty so here goes.
In last months issue of Easy Living there was a very big article on sexless marriages. There were several examples including the example of "Dave" and "Maria" (not their real names obvs) They havent had sex for well over a year but when she broaches the subject he doesnt want to know.
HOWEVER when they are out in public he is very taciturn and touchy feely and affectionate.
But at home he doesnt want to know. Now if there is nothing wrong with what he is doing at home and it is not abusive to withhold affection then he shouldnt need to put on a show in public should he? BUT HE DOES. And ive seen threads on here which have mirrored this couple.

WaitingForMe Wed 07-Nov-12 17:43:46

My relationship with my ex was a bit like "Dave" and "Maria" Darkesteyes. I think that was the hardest bit. I remember one day him making a comment on a night out and I just flipped and said it was all bullshit and that actually he was frigid.

Not my best moment admittedly but I used to feel I was going mad when I lived with him.

Darkesteyes Wed 07-Nov-12 17:56:44

So sorry to hear that Waiting. I dont blame you in the slightest. i think i would have done the same.
In my case though DH isnt affectionate in or out of the home. So in a way at least thats a bit more honest.
In fact an ex work colleugue of mine went to give him a quick thankyou hug after we had given her a lift home from my old night shift job.
He nearly jumped out of his skin.
She apologised and said that she is quite a touchy feely person and thats how she expresses thanks.
DH glared at her and said "Well im not" So people around us know that he isnt taciturn anyway.

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Wed 07-Nov-12 18:06:21

I agree that sexless relationships can and do work of both people are ok with it

Of they're not I think it's a recipe for disaster

I also think having an affair isn't the worst thing you can do, I can totally see why some people get to that point. Is it great? No but it's not illegal and sometimes it works out for the best. Often things are not completely black and white

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Wed 07-Nov-12 18:07:47

Why does my iPad think I want to say of when I want to say if?! Sorry about that

Offred Wed 07-Nov-12 19:05:08

What are you talking about now darkest? You appear to be responding to a point I never actually made. I have ALWAYS said hiding asexuality or a desire to end the sexual part of a relationship and/or refusing to talk about it is WRONG. As is having an affair (wrong but understandable but still wrong - repeat ad infinitum) but your partner is not to blame for a choice to stay in that situation and it does not give a license to behave wrongly yourself. Why is that so difficult to understand? You seem to be looking at this marriage as some kind of tug of war with your husband and if people think what you did is wrong then you assume they must be saying your husband is right. The most important thing seems to be who is right and who is wrong to you, who is considered to have the upper hand. Well I think it is a mess. You don't get points for staying in a shit relationship and I really just don't get all the blather about hetero-monogamy from sgb when actually what she seems to be advocating here is staying in a shit relationship and doing anything you can in order to remain in that shit relationship where each of you treat each other badly competitively. in order to keep up the appearance of some kind of monogamy

Helltotheno Wed 07-Nov-12 19:16:12

Offred I don't think anyone would disagree that the obvious solution if something's not working is to get out. See in real life though, that's not always easy for people from a logistics perspective or for other reasons.

If someone opts out of the sex and they're not bothered changing the status quo, imo that person's partner is well within his/her right to get it elsewhere and I do agree with SGB that it shouldn't be a big deal... in refusing to do something about a problem, you're or less tacitly saying your partner can take the matter into his/her own hands. That's the way I'd read it anyway. I certainly don't think it should involve endless months and years of heads being banged against walls trying to change a situation that's not going to change.

Offred Wed 07-Nov-12 19:49:51

I haven't commented on whether leaving is easy or hard. It is simply my opinion that cheating is always wrong. Being wrong is not the end of the world. Sometimes being wrong is understandable BUT someone doing you wrong does not give you "a right" to do them wrong. I think that is a pretty despicable (and pointless and life ruining) attitude. I have also said i agree darkest, obviously, is perfectly entitled to seek extramarital sex, that is not the same as saying she is entitled to seek extramarital sex secretly. It is nothing to do with the sex or with monogamy, it is the cheating and the covering up of a lack of desire for a part of the relationship the other wants; the deceit (on both sides) that is the part that is wrong. Nothing can make that kind of behaviour right in my eyes (although I appreciate something being not wrong is not the same as it being right). It just seems terribly miserable and pointless from all perspectives.

Offred Wed 07-Nov-12 19:52:45

And I'm not speaking from an ivory tower either. Mostly I'm influenced by the experience of a partially retaliatory affair in an abusive relationship. It was not right, I behaved terribly, it hurt the OM really badly, it made things much worse all round.

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