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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.

The root of this is likely to be in his childhood - not necessarily abuse. And therapy is the most likely way to get to the bottom of it.

It's good that he sees he has a block, and also good that he sees he doesn't know the root of the problem.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 12-Oct-13 09:15:12

Does he struggle with intimacy more generally? Is he affectionate with you and the DCs? Is he a tactile person?

sixfootplus Sat 12-Oct-13 09:28:22

Morning OP

Sounds like a poor excuse there for an issue he's not being honest with you about.

What was your sex life like in the early days? He's obviously capable because you've said you have kids, so think back to when this all started and see if there are any triggers.

Depression, low self esteem, worries, low levels of testosterone can all be key factors in the loss of sex drive.

There are dozens of reasons why this could be happening & only one person that can tell you for sure what it is, his lordship!

I would set a time-line here and make it clear to him that this is completely unacceptable for you & he needs to work with you to over come this issue, or you will show him the door!

Be nice, supportive and patient (while he is willing to actually do/try things to sort this issue out). But most important of all, be firm and stand your ground by not accepting his point blank refusal to go to therapy.

If he really does loves you and wants to be with you, then he should be willing to move heaven and earth to over come this problem!

Best of luck to you & hope you get it sorted out.

coralinna Sat 12-Oct-13 11:49:13

NotQuite - thanks. I agree that it's a good step and I'm kind of clinging on to it amidst all the rubbish that is said. Go you think there's any way other than therapy (you said "most likely way")?

Cogito - he struggles with intimacy with me, but not the kids. He's bonded more with our son than daughter (she's two months, but this issue has nothing to do with having young kids, or I'd just wait it out). He was nervous to change her nappy because "it's so complicated", whereas with my son he was/is a lot more hands on. I try to make him get her ready for bed everyday though, so he has to, and he's fine. He is very tactile and open with our son. I don't feel he's holding back at all. With our DD it's too early to really tell, but I think he's quite bemused by her in a good way and is getting warmer.

He tells her - and me - that she's beautiful, and it's said almost in awe. He NEVER tells me that. The only time was when I arrived at the altar to get married. He might say an item of clothing I wear is nice, at a push, but never that I look nice, that I'm beautiful etc. I don't want to always fish for compliments, or seem shallow, but it would be nice. I tell him it makes me feel crap, because I decided a year or so ago that I have to let him know all these things are really affecting me.

He gives me a peck on the lips to say goodnight and (very) occasionally during the day. Very occasionally he'll hold my hand and never something like putting his arm around my shoulders or waist when we're alone and only very occasionally if we're out and people are around (which annoys me).

I'm very tactile (or I used to be, I'm becoming a shrivelled up old woman), so this has been hard for me.

SixFoot - he's physically capable of DTD but obviously it's not earth-shattering for me given the length if time between them. He's always been shy (his words and I agree) and up until two or so years after we got married, I truly believed this to he the case. I was led to believe (not something directly said and the situation was complex) that it would change after we got married. He wouldn't walk around naked after the marriage, including going to the bathroom after sex, until I pointed out how silly it was that he'd have sex with me, marry me and be shy in front of me. Now he's not bothered.

I also can't show him the door. I don't want to go into details because I've name-changed and the details would out me easily, but it's just not possible without causing me more problems (a lot more) than this situation does. If I could leave, I'd have separated before now.

Can anybody think what, other than abuse, in his childhood could cause these blocks? I think I'll need to have some leading questions.

I also don't know what to do, other than explain that this will ultimately take us to divorce (which I did 15 months ago and have mentioned again since) to get him to take it seriously.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 12-Oct-13 11:58:13

Do you think it's you he has the problem with rather than a 'block'?. Quite a few people decide that they can stick it out in a marriage for the children as long as they don't have to be intimate with their partner. The 'cat' example was obviously a big fat lie to get out of being intimate. You say there are other examples. He's not willing to have therapy. He might simply be being dishonest.

JaceyBee Sat 12-Oct-13 12:08:51

You CAN show him the door. It might be difficult but it's not impossible. It probably would be possible for him to get to the bottom of why he's like this but it doesnt sound as though he's that bothered. I think you either have to accept him as he is or split up. I know which I'd do.

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

I think if he's being dishonest, then it's with himself too. He generally doesn't lie and when I asked him what he thought the common thread behind these blocks are, he looked genuinely stumped.

I think that maybe his level of self-awareness isn't as high as it might need to be to find the answer, rather than deliberately lying. That is partly why I'm asking for ideas, because I don't think like he does.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 12-Oct-13 12:18:30

Stumped for an answer can just be someone being evasive. i.e. they're perfectly well aware of the real reason but aren't prepared to say it. After all, if he did say 'I just don't fancy you any more', you'd be pretty hurt.

LowLevelWhinging Sat 12-Oct-13 12:25:42

it's perfectly possible that he genuinely doesn't know why. like you say, not everyone has that insight into their own feelings and subconscious thoughts.

I really think working with a therapist might be the only way he'll figure it out.

Unidentifiedflyingobject Sat 12-Oct-13 12:29:32

Is he slightly autistic maybe? The outright blocks on things for example, bemusement at dd, not identifying need for affection or intimacy? He doesn't sound nasty, but does sound slightly lost...

coralinna Sat 12-Oct-13 12:34:16

Sorry I'm about to go out, but unidentified I have wondered that.

It worries me, because I wonder if there's any solution for me in that case..

getinmybelly Sat 12-Oct-13 12:38:26

It might be that he needs to identify what internal rules he's following and how they need to change (e.g.i should show affection when other people are around because that is what couples do)

CaptainPoop Sat 12-Oct-13 12:43:06

OP, I have intimacy issues but less extreme than your dh. I find physical closeness with my dh, unless initiated myself, very suffocating and anxiety inducing and I basically have a mild panic attack. We do cuddle frequently but it has to be on my terms. I also have problems hugging/touching other adults, such as hello/goodbye kisses and hugs, and I never touch anyone when I'm talking to them.

With our DC I have no inhibitions whatsoever and could cuddle them all day long. My DM doesn't hug me ever and that makes me sad, especially as she used to when I was little which I enjoyed.

The thing is, there is no one reason for my discomfort with physical contact, and it's probably the same for your dh. I was sexually abused by a family friend when I was about 3, and when these memories resurfaced 18 months ago it made it even more difficult to hug my dh, and we didn't have sex for 6 months. Even now it's only 2-3 times a month.

I also have mild aspergers, which means I can find eye contact and touching incredibly uncomfortable at times, even overwhelming.

The difference between your dh and I is that I am desperate to work through the various contributing factors to this problem. I've had a therapist for 2 years and next year dh and I will go to couples counselling. I really care about the effect not being cuddled has on my dh. I totally understand how he must feel like he's unloved because our physical relationship is infrequent and completely dictated by me. I love dh and really resent that he has to suffer because of my emotional baggage.

Does your dh express any concern for your emotional distress at an unfulfilling relationship?

If he does then I would push for him to go to therapy and explain exactly how this is making you feel and why.

If he shows no concern at all then there is no point as the marriage is dead. Make an exit plan, even if it takes a few years. And don't make the mistake of 'staying for the children'. There is a thread around at the moment about that and some of the posts are heart breaking (sorry, can't link on tablet).

Unidentifiedflyingobject Sat 12-Oct-13 12:43:18

I wondered this about a previous partner of mine too. It was as though he hadn't got a radar for how to behave towards me. He was ok with the children though like your dp. That amazement at dd being beautiful is quite interesting... As though thinking that is not something he has experienced before (and would be consistent with him never telling you that either) that's what made me think of it.

What attracted you to each other initially?

TheMagicToyshop Sat 12-Oct-13 13:01:44

I had an ex who had a 'block' a bit like this - I think he had performance anxiety so extreme that it totally inhibited his ability to perform, so he would lose his erection if I tried to touch him etc.

He would give similar excuses to your DH, say he would take time to think through what the issue was etc. I soon realised this was simply a deferring tactic to get me off his back for a few more weeks, he was utterly determined to not address it or talk about it. He wasn't really willing or able to look inside his head. I think you need to give an ultimatum and insist on therapy in this situation.

FrancescaBell Sat 12-Oct-13 14:21:28

The only other example of this 'block' as you call it was when he avoided having sex with a woman because she owned a cat.

So it doesn't appear to be you he has a particular sexually intimate block about- it might be women generally.

Have you considered he might be gay?

ilikeFISH Sat 12-Oct-13 15:08:28

coralinna How is your DH with other women in his life? His mother, sister, friends etc?

He sounds very unable to relate to women in a meaningful and intimate fashion. The not holding hands willingly is worrying. The vague act of putting his arm round you in company falls into one of two options. Either he is showing "ownership" or he is trying to show affection but only in public.

SlangKing Sat 12-Oct-13 17:42:40

This'll horrify you - and I hope I'm wrong - but my gut reaction to the OP was "Paedophile" and I can't argue myself out of that conclusion. Please note that your DCs aren't necessarily in any danger. Paedophiles who molest children lack empathy/control, like rapists. Just like most men don't rape random women they 'fancy', so paedophiles don't act upon their urges. So, to explain why I suspect this,,,,. From your OP it seems the only time he made any effort to initiate sex with you was pre-marriage. Post marriage, you've had to initiate in order to conceive. In a (stereo)typical relationship engaged/newlyweds are 'at it like rabbits' before settling into a routine that's mutually compatible (if they're lucky). Sure there are medical/hormonal reasons that can explain low sex drive but many/most would've manifested themselves in other symptoms by now. You don't mention him being ill/tired or that the inadequate sex is getting worse. Also, he admits it's due to mental 'blocks' so there's no reason to assume it's medical. Then, there's the nappy thing. Most men, I think, have some kind of brief, visceral reaction when first confronted with child genitalia, but they're quickly over it and just get on with the job - or prefer that mum does it cuz their reaction confuses them. A reluctance to change nappies alone is indicative of nothing concrete but his different reaction to DD than to DS is a 'red flag' since it appears to be ongoing. Could be that he's deeply 'puritanical',, but about those 'blocks'. People can suppress (childhood) trauma, sometimes completely but usually they have an inkling or more. If he were completely clueless he'd likely want to find out if it was ruining his sex life so it's fair to assume he has an inkling or knows. NOBODY, including you, is buying the cat(s), especially since you own one. So, what's he lying about/hiding? You've given no indication that he's otherwise dishonest or lacking in empathy so it's a concern. Could be he's a closet ANYTHING but I return to the nappies and his different reactions to DCs. That's not indicative of a closet gay. If he were gay it'd explain his reluctance to tell you and others but not the nappy reaction. There's every indication that he's hiding something he doesnt want you/others to know. If it were cat phobia he'd seek help. It's no secret that men are visually stimulated. If it moves and/or has an orifice, we'll sexually assess it. Most of us are attracted to women and will try to appropriate something close to our ideal. Stray too far from that ideal and it doesn't trigger our sex drive - we struggle to get it up or can't at all. Resorting to stereotypes to make a point - blokes arses do nothing for hetero males and vaginas do nothing for gays. So, unexplained medical/psychological issues aside, your DH's ongoing reluctance and (near) inability to have sex with you strongly indicates that you are well removed from his sexual ideal. He may love you but doesn't fancy you. THAT, I suggest, should be your starting point. You've given no indication that your marriage is otherwise unhappy but you do need to know what he's hiding. There's a lot to suggest he's married you for social acceptance/advancement that wouldn't be available if he followed his true desires, whatever they are. There's no indication that he's acting (or would act) on those desires and that he IS trying to make a sham/show marriage work. To conclude then - If your sex life had plunged cuz you got too fat/thin/changed your hair that'd be (kinda) normal,, but you didn't have a sex life to begin with. That suggests he fancies something other than you (an adult female). He's hiding/lying about what that something is. That he has an ongoing visceral reaction to nappy changing and his different handling handling of them indicates that the something may relate to children. I repeat, this is only a best guess from the clues you've provided. I'm not one of those people who sees paedophiles lurking around every corner. I may be wrong and hope I am but, given what you've provided I think you need to consider the possibility.

bertandmarble Sat 12-Oct-13 19:33:20

Omg Slangking. That's hard to read. Are you a psychologist?

SoleSource Sat 12-Oct-13 20:11:49

Because her DH says changing the DD's nappy is too complex he is a paedophile?

Wow

SlangKing Sat 12-Oct-13 20:24:59

No, Bert, but I was well on my way before paying £40 for psychology books (in '82) became less appealing than earning £50 - 100 per night in the entertainment industry. Sorry if I've baffled you.

Not necessarily, Sole, but he could be. I'm not the only person in this thread to suspect he's a closet something. Why does the suggestion that he might be a paedo' bother you more than that he might be gay?

rootypig Sat 12-Oct-13 20:29:33

Because being a paedophile is appalling and deeply problematic and being gay, while not ideal if you're married to a woman, isn't? hmm

rootypig Sat 12-Oct-13 20:31:28

(sorry OP no wish to derail your thread but was reading and felt compelled to chip in with that last. Actually I do agree with SlangKing on the possibility that you are removed from his sexual ideal, and I think you must find a way to get him to counselling asap)

Suelford Sat 12-Oct-13 20:32:37

"Why does the suggestion that he might be a paedo' bother you more than that he might be gay?"

Because the accusation that someone is a paedophile is rather more alarming and serious than the accusation that someone is gay? Unless you think they're on the same level?

SoleSource Sat 12-Oct-13 20:39:49

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.

MerrilyMoo Sat 12-Oct-13 20:46:37

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.

2or3 Sat 12-Oct-13 20:56:42

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?

2or3 Sat 12-Oct-13 20:58:47

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?

CaptainPoop Sat 12-Oct-13 21:08:27

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

My first thought was "gay".

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.

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.

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.

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

Sorry, that was EPIC!

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?

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.

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.

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

Maybe he is just asexual?

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)

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.

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.

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?

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?

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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