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The reason your DH had an affair was because you didn't have sex enough

(181 Posts)
PTFsWife Wed 19-Feb-14 18:19:59

I just need to write this down to get it off my chest more than anything because if not, it will fester and not end well.

So my husband had an affair last year, which I have written about on here. We are working together to get though it and make our marriage stronger. We have had counselling individually and jointly and basically it is all moving in the right direction. He is trying very hard and if there can ever be a 'good' outcome of an affair, I think we have it in that our marriage is better than it was before because we are both more committed to fixing it.

Several of my friends (and family) knows about the affair. One friend also knows (as I confided to her drunkenly last year) that my husband and I had only had sex twice in the last year. As it turns out, our sex life had been an issue for years (since the arrival of kids) but it had been improving just about the same time that he started his affair ironically.

So I was chatting to my friend today about our marriage and mentioned that although things were better and we were working hard to work through issues - and have even managed to have sex a few times which was a big deal for me given what he had done - sex was still irregular in our house and I wasn't sure if that was due to the affair or more of a continuation of our previous sexless marriage.

And my friend then said: 'The reason he had the affair is because you didn't have sex often enough. Men need sex. Do not underestimate that. You have to have sex more often, even if you don't feel like it, you just have to. The more you have it, the more you will want to and the better it will be.' This was meant as well meaning advice - not to be hurtful.

I understand her thinking because that is exactly the reason I believe he had an affair - he got attention from someone and got to have sex. He knows it was a monumental mistake and is immensely sorry.

The reason this has upset me is that my friend's attitude - and it's probably an attitude shared by many people - is that I am partly to blame for my husband's affair because I wasn't having sex with him enough. Even if they don't say it, it's what they think.

I know that it probably helped contribute to it, but I have always refused to accept responsibility for him having an affair. He doesn't expect me to either. He blames himself for his actions entirely. But I know that there are others out there who think like my friend i.e. that I obviously wasn't keeping my man satisfied so he had to look elsewhere. And that pisses me off and makes me deeply sad at the same time.

Thank you for reading this diatribe. I'm not really looking for answers - I just needed get it down and out of me.

MildDrPepperAddiction Wed 19-Feb-14 18:28:24

I think your friend is misguided. You do not 'have to have sex' just so our husband doesn't cheat on you.

If you find for whatever reason that this issue arises in a relationship then you need to communicate to solve the problem.

Good luck getting things back on track.

StarSwirl92 Wed 19-Feb-14 18:28:28

I agree with you, lack of sex does not cause a failure in a man's brain. To think so belittles men and women. You did not control his actions and while the situation at home was probably less than ideal, nothing forced him into it.

I wish you all the happiness in the future, whatever happens.

Logg1e Wed 19-Feb-14 18:29:17

Good to hear that things between you and your husband are working out PTFswife (I must admit, I didn't think they would). And you know that that's the important thing, relations between you and your husband, not what your friends think.

chateauferret Wed 19-Feb-14 18:30:32

Men do not need sex. Where would he be if a dog ate his nadgers? Some men think they're entitled to it. The technical term for these us "twat".

secretkeepersssh Wed 19-Feb-14 18:33:35

Just because you weren't having enough sex doesn't mean you were to blame for his affair at all. If there were other factors that led to his affair, I.e you treated him badly, I could then understand you blaming yourself.
Why was their lack of sex, was it down to you not wanting it at all and turning him down or was it a problem you both shared.
Either way, lack if sex can be resolved, he could of helped get you in the mood more instead of going somewhere else.
I can't believe your friend out rightly said that to you either. I would be hurt if I was on the receiving end of that comment.

ateddybearfromdelaware1 Wed 19-Feb-14 18:34:07

Bullshit. It's because he was a twat and made a mistake. It's not your fault.

pausingforbreath Wed 19-Feb-14 18:37:22

Hi PTSwife,
Lack of communication and self entitlement on his part led
to it.
Lack of sex on your part did not - FFS.

Also , people like your friend and her views possibly contribute to the minimising of men when they get 'caught out'.
Wouldn't it be a simplistic world if all wives just put out more often- then no husbands would have affairs.
How self entitled would that make them then .....

Stupid thing to say .

morethanpotatoprints Wed 19-Feb-14 18:40:06

I can see where your friend is coming from tbh and think it works the other way too.
However, he could have worked through it with you rather than having an affair. So yes your lack of sex life probably did contribute to the affair, but he could have done lots of things to encourage a sexual relationship with him.
It certainly isn't your fault, but moreover a factor that you both should be working through. IMO

DrJeanGrey Wed 19-Feb-14 18:40:38

I will go against the grain here and agree that most men need sex (many women do too) and if it is being withheld, it creates a "lack" of something in the relationship that can be a danger zone if there's no communication.

I'm not saying people should lay back and think of England to keep things quiet on the home front, but I do think married people should put in an effort to provide for the needs of each other - emotional, sexual or otherwise.

It's no different to if you needed affection or someone to listen to you and your partner was not doing it..You'd be more likely to get those needs filled elsewhere because it leaves a void and it makes you feel rejected.

I think a healthy relationship in most cases has to include a sex life that is satisfying to both parties and although there might be a compromise on what that entails the important thing is to talk about it and genuinely make the effort to do what's required to make time for each other.

That said, it's most certainly not your fault he had an affair. This is never anyone's fault but the person who had it. If you're married and one of your needs isn't being fulfilled you talk about it and work on it. That's his failing, not yours.

I applaud you for your courage to work on your marriage after such a blow and he sounds like a lucky man. I really hope your relationship does grow. I do think sometimes marriages can grow into something deeper and richer after going through such an experience.

And for whatever I said up there...after kids come, it's not bloody easy to find time / energy or otherwise for sex. It's more about accepting this is a need for most people and finding ways to include it as part of the relationship.

Phalenopsis Wed 19-Feb-14 18:43:13

I'd be confiding in better friends than her. Men aren't animals. They are capable of controlling themselves and conversely, women are sexual beings with lots of desire coursing through their veins.

It's depressing to read this pseudo-psychotherapy from the 50s shit.

AmberSpyglass Wed 19-Feb-14 18:46:40

You have to have sex even if you don't want to?

So, that's rape, then, essentially?

Sounds like an awesome way to fix a marriage <intense sarcasm> your husband had an affair because of choices HE made. He didn't have to. No-one forced him. It was not your fault.

Kundry Wed 19-Feb-14 18:59:33

I think the sex thing is a grey area. We've had loads of threads where the man is badgering and groping his partner for sex every 2 minutes saying he has needs - clearly that's abusive.

But we've also had threads from men and women who have higher libidos than their partners and are really struggling with the lack of sex. Most people when they get married are expecting some sex so finding there is no sex at all could be a healthy reason to leave a marriage.

I think a lot of people have also had the experience of having sex when they aren't into it and finding they got into it as they went along - calling that rape is just stupid.

So I can see where your friend is coming from and that her advice is well-meaning. It also doesn't mean that your partner wasn't a monumental twat by having an affair. If your relationship had minimal sex then an adult approach would have been to talk to you, suggest counselling, tell you what it meant to him and ultimately decide whether it was a deal breaker to him or not.

What he actually did was have an affair. Which is twatty. And not your fault.

You should be having sex with each other because you both want to and you both feel it is an important part of your marriage. Not because you're scared he'll run off with someone else. However if it emerges during your counselling that sex is something he needs from the relationship, you will have to address your feelings about this if you want to continue.

Onepactupac Wed 19-Feb-14 19:04:51

The reason he had an affair is because he disconnected from you almost completely. He sounds like a sentient human being, capable of thought. He just stopped thinking. Had he thought, he would have tried to reconnect with you and not gone outside the marriage in search for what he was missing. One of the ways a couple connects is through sex, but that is all.

I too would refuse to accept any responsibility for my husband's affair (if he had one). Women don't have a monopoly on doing the right thing.

Capitola Wed 19-Feb-14 19:50:38

My mate is a sex therapist and would disagree.

Almost all the couples (with infidelity issues) she sees are having sex, but have shit relationships.

Regular sex does not automatically equal a good relationship, but I agree that no sex in a relationship means something crucial is lacking.

PasswordProtected Wed 19-Feb-14 19:55:51

Toyboy and I were discussing this recently. His ex-wife had several affairs, because he worked too hard!
The conclusion was that men are happy when their tummies are full and their balls are empty.

Lazyjaney Wed 19-Feb-14 20:37:38

Most people in relationships do need sex, its a large part of why they are in them. Its just bollocks to suggest they don't, there are enough threads on here testifying to the devastating effect when sex stops.

It's not the only cause of problems but if there isn't sex in a relationship and one person isn't happy about that, the probability of things going awry will go up significantly.

Fairylea Wed 19-Feb-14 20:47:19

I think lack of sex where one person wants more sex can lead to very deep problems in a marriage - and I've been married 3 times and been both the one not wanting sex in one of my marriages and then on the receiving end of a dh that didn't want sex in another marriage - and now dh and I are evenly matched. Mismatched sex drives is awful and leads to resentment from both sides.

However, that being an excuse to have an affair is a very cheap get out clause as a way of avoiding dealing with the problems or simply ending the relationship.

Most people who loved their partner but were unhappy about the sex wouldn't go on to cheat on them.

Having said that a marriage without sex is very much like two roommates or best friends living together. Most people, men and women, want passion and romance. If you don't at least have some of that in your relationship then I believe you do create a vacancy... not necessarily for a lover but an emotional affair or a sexual fantasy that may lead to a lot of soul searching.

You are braver than me. I couldn't forgive someone who cheated on me, ever. My trust in them would be broken.

MissScatterbrain Wed 19-Feb-14 20:47:20

You are only responsible for 50% of the relationship.

If sex was a real issue, what did he do to address your sex life? did the chores so that you are less tired? organised dates/weekends away? ensured you both share equal amounts of child free leisure time?

MissScatterbrain Wed 19-Feb-14 20:49:07

*50% of your relationship and certainly not for the affair.

Fairylea Wed 19-Feb-14 20:50:56

Sorry I also meant to add that generally lack of sex is a symptom of things generally going wrong in the relationship. People rarely go off sex just because they're tired or getting older - if I think back to the early days of relationships I'd be having sex at 3am absolutely shattered and surviving on 3 hours sleep. Sex is usually the first thing to go once resentment and breakdown in communication goes.

The reason your DH had an affair is because gave himself permission to do so. That's it.

he gave himself permission to do so

Beccawoo Wed 19-Feb-14 21:38:50

My ex dh had an affair while I was pregnant with dc2, I'm sure part of the thing that pushed him away was my lack of interest in sex, esp while pregnant. Not an excuse though, as everyone has said, they still make the conscious decision to do it, but could be a triggering factor.

Cabrinha Wed 19-Feb-14 21:39:15

The only thing that a lack of sex gives you the right to do is...
Talk to your partner about it.

It doesn't give you the right to have an affair.

But you know that - you rightly don't blame yourself.

I do see where your friend is coming from, but it isn't the sex that is missing, it's the communication about sex.

I feel your annoyance though! When I told my sister my STBXH was using prostitutes, she said he can't have been getting enough! FFS!
(not that it matters, I had the higher sex drive)

Cabrinha Wed 19-Feb-14 21:44:40

And I'll just add... Because my STBXH was almost certainly sleeping with prostitutes (now confirms he was, hence dumping him!) I didn't sleep with him.
1. Why would I want to?
2. Fear of catching something
3. Frankly he was shit at sex anyway

This meant I went FIVE YEARS without sex. Five flipping years. Did I have an affair? NO.
Did I become close to it and was that one reason why I was gearing up to ending it when I found the evidence anyway? Yes.
But I didn't have an affair, when frankly if you want justification then I think your husband cheating on you with prostitutes for your entire 9 year relationship is up there on the forgiveable list!!

But sex is a want, not a need. I am proud that I didn't cheat. His actions were appalling, but having an affair would have been MY decision and MY responsibility. It is possible not to have an affair.

Charley50 Wed 19-Feb-14 22:04:00

Hi don't think your friend was blaming you in any way or that you should blame yourself.
But I do agree that sex can lead to a feeling of closeness with a partner that can help you both to reconnect with each other. I think chemicals are released that promote this closeness. I also think that sometimes it's good to have sex even if you don't feel like it as who knows where it might lead? Obviously it's difficult if there is a lot of resentment etc but it can help you to feel closer.

feelingvunerable Wed 19-Feb-14 22:18:53

My Styx mil told me my stbxh had had an affair because I didn't give him enough sex.
I soon put her right by telling her that I had his cock in my mouth the night before he left and strangely enough he didn't seem to be complaining!

Seriously lack of sex is a symptom of other problems.

I would put money on you being the primary carer of your dc, doing the majority of the mundane chores, cooking, cleaning,nannying, all of which are not synonymous with feeling sexy.

My ex told me I had a low sex drive and didn't seem to enjoy sex with him anymore. He wouldn't do things for me to turn me on. It was all about his needs.

Sex with my Newman is fantastic. He makes me want it all the time. Just the thought of what he does to me turns me on.
The difference-is amazing.

Whilst my ex made me feel like a nanny, cook and cleaner, my current partner cooks cleans and takes me out.
I could quite happily do without sexwithmy ex, not so now that I have found someone who love sand respects me.

Your h needs to make you feel loved, cherished and wanted.

superstarheartbreaker Wed 19-Feb-14 22:22:23

I do think that if you are only having sex twice a year then something is badly wrong and the connection has fizzled. No excuse for an affair but I would feel very rejected if this was the case.

rainbowsmiles Wed 19-Feb-14 22:25:04

I wouldn't worry if anyone is thinking that because it's such a shallow way of looking at the issue. You should have said "think you'll find its a bit more complicated than that".

I think the lack of sex in a relationship(if no physical issues) is usually a symptom of something else. Couple of times a year is not mismatched libidos, it is something else.
It's the "why" you weren't having sex that's relevant.

It is a big indicator that trust/intimacy/closeness has gone.

If that had been ignored and not addressed for years then your relationship was probably in a bad way.

Your husband chose to deal with it by having an affair. That's his thing. He has to work that out and then share it with you.

You will have played your part in the relationship breakdown but that does not equal you were the reason he cheated. He was the reason he cheated.

It is not your fault.

Hakky Wed 19-Feb-14 22:45:01

OMFG?!!
Not having sex is never an excuse for anything, ever!
I cannot stress enough OP, your partner's behaviour is his responsibility not yours. This is male propaganda dressed up to leave the blame at your door and your friend has swallowed this cr*p whole. You do not need this. I appreciate she may be a good friend in other ways so don't dump her (unless you feel you can't get past this) but definitely take a break from her. Focus on yourself/your relationship, your partner is very lucky to have you, don't doubt yourself. Good luck x

Puddles1234 Wed 19-Feb-14 23:31:54

This will be completely against what most people think, however I agree with your friend.

Contrary to what some previous posters have said sex is important to men otherwise why would they cheat, granted I'm not speaking for all of cheating men and in no way am I excusing his behaviour but twice a year is shocking really no wonder he looked elsewhere. Relationships are about give and take and if your husband has a high sex drive you can't expect him to be happy with sex twice a year. I think you are partially to blame however your husband should have addressed these issues with you before he looked for affirmation elsewhere.

I agree with previous poster in that something else may be missing from your marriage therefore counselling hopefully will help and address these issues.

Apologies if my opinion is not to your liking but I wish you and your husband the very best if luck.

In all fairness, sex is a form of communication after all, and a marriage with little or no sex where one partner is unhappy with the quota, requires some deep consideration and resolve.

That should not take the form of infidelity - paid for or otherwise.

If the cause can't be identified between yourselves or with professional counselling, then in my opinion if it was my marriage, I would consider it grounds for divorce.
No point sacrificing such a fundamental element of a partnership and no point hurting either yourself or the other person in the process by ignoring it.

ChapterThree Thu 20-Feb-14 02:56:48

Your husband chose to cheat. The responsibility for that choice is 100% his.

A sexless marriage, unless both people are happy with that, is a marriage in crisis. This crisis 'led' both of you to a fork in the road.

Path 1: Face the lack of intimacy in your relationship and work hard to solve your issues as a couple

Path 2: Cheat

Path 3: End the marriage

Path 4: Keep going straight ahead, continuing on in a sexless marriage.

Your husband chose to cheat, and it sounds like you may have chosen to go straight ahead.

You are not to blame for the choice he made. You didn't stand behind him and push him down that path. But you are both responsible for getting yourselves to that fork in the road.

It always seems such a massive shame that it takes a bomb going off in a marriage before both partners commit to Path 1.

AdoraBell Thu 20-Feb-14 03:20:51

By your "friend's" logic my DH was to blame for his first wife's affairs because she only had sex with her own husband once each month, because her religion doesn't allow contraception, regardless of all the other reasons for her affairs.

He was obviously stupid/useless/non human because he was trying to make their marriage work.

I hope you can work through this and create a stronger marriage if that is what you want for your future.

You need different friends though, or maybe just not that one.

AICM Thu 20-Feb-14 07:16:20

Many people have commented on your DP not talking about the issues and they are of course right. However communication is a two way process. When you first withdrew sex did you have an open discussion with him? Surely he would have been entitled to this?

PTFsWife Thu 20-Feb-14 09:44:16

Thanks for all the comments. Just so you understand, the lack of sex in our marriage wasn't entirely down to me. Yes, I was definitely a big part of the problem. I wasn't 'withholding' sex. He doesn't have a massive sex drive - but he obviously needs sex more than I do. Our marriage had just reached a point where we existed - both working hard, young kids, knackered. I realised that there was a problem and took us both off to see a counsellor three years before his affair - so it wasn't that I just accepted it and was happy to continue that way. We both tried for a bit, but for whatever reason, we never really managed to get the sex bit right. It became embarrassing to discuss or attempt to make right, which is really stupid.

I do think it is why I have managed to 'forgive' his affair. What I don't accept is that I have tried for years to communicate with him and to fix the failings in our marriage. He was as incapable of communicating as I was to find the motivation to have sex. Instead of addressing it honestly and frankly with me, he chose to look elsewhere.

We are now talking about it and trying to work through it.

Jan45 Thu 20-Feb-14 11:13:15

I think your OH had an affair because he wanted to and I don't think it has anything to do with lack of sex, it's to do with disconnecting from your partner and choosing to look elsewhere.

Men do not need sex, women do not need sex, we like it and want it, not the same thing.

I think most people have affairs because they actually feel entitled and it's really a flawed characteristic of them rather than a reflection of a dissatisfied relationship. Surely, if you loved your partner and wanted a good relationship with them, you'd work at making things better, not look elsewhere. You can't trust him anymore, he's broken that, you now know what he is capable of, I wish you all the luck to putting things good again.

dadandproud Thu 20-Feb-14 13:39:33

kdoldkcodkcodkc

Offred Thu 20-Feb-14 13:52:37

'The reason he had the affair is because you didn't have sex often enough. Men need sex. Do not underestimate that. You have to have sex more often, even if you don't feel like it, you just have to. The more you have it, the more you will want to and the better it will be.'

No-one needs sex. I am speaking as someone with a really high sex drive btw. Bf has a really high sex drive too and I can wear him out and still be up for more. There have been long weekends when all we have done is have sex, where we've done it three times in the evening, I've woken him in the night and done it a few times more in the morning only coming up for air to eat and have a bath. I still think no-one needs sex.

When people make statements like 'men need sex' they really are saying they believe men have a right to use women's bodies for sex on their terms no matter how the woman feels. Her further explanation really explains that.

There have been times in my life when I didn't want sex, after babies, healing from abuse and when the relationship was wrong but I didn't realise it. I have a right to determine when I want sex and when I don't.

Your husband didn't have an affair because you weren't allowing him to have sex on you against how you feel, if you do that it is likely your sex drive will diminish even further until you are only having sex you don't want. I'm not sure why your friend is trying to encourage you to do this but it is likely because of her issues not issues in your marriage.

I can see why you are upset. It is a common but toxic, woman blaming and misogynistic view.

Your husband may have felt sad about the lack of sex. He may even have felt desperate and rejected but it is not why he had an affair. He chose to have an affair, it may have been in response to the lack of sex, but if it was that was an unacceptable response which he is wholly to blame for.

Offred Thu 20-Feb-14 13:55:09

What does your h say about it? Does he feel that lack of sex is an excuse or reason for the affair or does he accept it was simply his weakness as a person?

feelingvunerable Thu 20-Feb-14 13:57:40

Just to add I would suggest it is now your dh responsibility to make you feel loved, desired and wanted.
You have done nothing wrong.

It' hard to feel sexual when mundane chores drag the guts out of you.

You friends relationship sounds dire btw.

Jan45 Thu 20-Feb-14 14:03:54

So if men need sex then women must too cos they're up there with the affairs also.

It's got fuck all to do with the act of sex, yes your OH felt neglected, unloved, whatever, but so did you, it wasn't you turning him down, you both got in a rut where neither of you were instigating it.

Again, he choose to have an affair, he never choose to try hard and making things good between the two of you.

I would actually find that more difficult to forgive but I couldn't forgive a cheater no matter what the circumstances.

Offred Thu 20-Feb-14 14:08:05

What would your friend say I wonder if you explained that the lack of sex was fairly mutual and your h has quite a low sex drive?

Seems she has some truly dodgy views about men and women and what sex is. It sounds very much along the lines of the traditional patriarchical view of women being frigid and needing to endure rather than enjoy sex on a man's terms so that they don't lose financial security for them and their children.

LadyofSpain Thu 20-Feb-14 14:16:13

Your husband didn`t have an affair because of lack of sex. He had an affair because of lack of communication. Probably the biggest single reason for the breakdown of most relationships.

MonsieurReynard Thu 20-Feb-14 14:30:18

Lack of sex is probably a dead herring - had 9 years in a relationship without sex, or pretty much any intimacy - didn't consider cheating as I valued not hurting my partner over experiencing sex/intimacy. If someone cheats (goes for either gender, I think) it's because they felt that hurting their partner was at best a risk worth taking, or at worst, irrelevant to them.

stalepalemale Thu 20-Feb-14 14:40:16

Offred, What would your friend say I wonder if you explained that the lack of sex was fairly mutual and your h has quite a low sex drive? I think her friend already knows quite a lot (perhaps too much) about their sex life – and he clearly doesn’t have ‘quite a low sex drive’, hence the affair.

OP, does your DH know that you chat to friends about your irregular sex life? What does he think about that? Nothing you’ve written about what she said to you suggests she thinks you’re to blame, so if you got that feeling from her, it probably comes from somewhere else.

BeeInYourBonnet Thu 20-Feb-14 14:44:54

Totally agree with Ladyofspain

There are many threads from men AND women about lack of sex and general emotional connection. Many women have said they had considered affairs.

No one should feel like they have to have sex, but there is a lot to be said for putting as great amount of effort into exploring the reasons why sex has become so infrequent. I think lack of sex is a symptom of wider problems.

Jan45 Thu 20-Feb-14 14:49:27

I think when it comes to cheating, you're either a cheat or you're not, what I mean is, it's in your character or, it isn't.

I was in a crap relationship for a long time, not once did I consider cheating. Having an affair is an entitlement someone feels and uses lack of sex as an excuse.

ItIsAnIdeasGame Thu 20-Feb-14 14:54:38

My marriage is largely sexless but we seem to be a happy family. My shocked friend told me that i had to have sex with my husband or he would leave me. This is from a woman who had an affair for 3 years despite shagging her husband 3 x a week.

Offred Thu 20-Feb-14 15:27:09

Offred, What would your friend say I wonder if you explained that the lack of sex was fairly mutual and your h has quite a low sex drive? I think her friend already knows quite a lot (perhaps too much) about their sex life – and he clearly doesn’t have ‘quite a low sex drive’, hence the affair.

So people only have affairs if they have a high sex drive and people with lower sex drives don't have affairs? Could make logical sense but it isn't true.

OP, does your DH know that you chat to friends about your irregular sex life? What does he think about that?

* I think her friend already knows quite a lot (perhaps too much) about their sex life*

Why can't women/people talk to their friends about sex? Are women meant to be delicate little frigid flowers in your world view? Is sex something to be ashamed of? Do you apply the same standards to men?

Nothing you’ve written about what she said to you suggests she thinks you’re to blame, so if you got that feeling from her, it probably comes from somewhere else.

Apart from "your husband had an affair because you weren't giving him enough sex and you should give him more even if you don't like it" hmm

frogslegs35 Thu 20-Feb-14 16:14:29

So your friend graduated from and was very well conditioned by the School of fucking stupid.
What an utterly rubbish thing to say.
As others have said previously - even the ones that have huge amounts of sex at home will still cheat if are that way inclined.
Jan45 nails it in her last post.

stalepalemale Thu 20-Feb-14 16:36:15

Offred, Why can't women/people talk to their friends about sex? Are women meant to be delicate little frigid flowers in your world view? Is sex something to be ashamed of? Do you apply the same standards to men?

I think that chatting to friends about the problems in your sex life, and your relationship in general, is disloyal and disrespectful to your DP and can cause a lot of trouble, not least between the DP and the friend. I honestly believe it can be as damaging to a marriage as a bloke going to strip clubs.

Apart from "your husband had an affair because you weren't giving him enough sex and you should give him more even if you don't like it"

But the friend didn’t actually say anything at all about ‘giving him enough sex’ (which implies it’s her responsibility), it was about the two of them not having enough sex together. And the OP agrees: ‘that is exactly the reason I believe he had an affair - he got attention from someone and got to have sex’.

PTFsWife Thu 20-Feb-14 16:44:56

Thank you all. And LadyofSPain is right - this isn't about lack of sex, it was about lack of communication.

I don't talk about my sex life with a broad spectrum of people, just friends who I feel can be trusted, but this particular friend's response upset me.

Offred - to answer your question: my husband doesn't think sex is the reason for the affair. I think he feels that the distance between us contributed to him being open to him having an affair, but ultimately, I had the same distance and same lack of sex but I didn't choose to have one. He blames himself entirely and feels it was a stupid, stupid mistake. He has never been good at communicating and it has taken his affair to make him realise how important it is to communicate, which he is now doing.

But we do need to communicate about our sex life as it's still an issue. I had a chat with another close friend today (mainly because I was upset by the other friend's comment and wanted another perspective to see how universal that opinion was - I don't make a habit of chatting in depth about my sex life to people!) She opened my eyes to the fact that this is not my fault (the lack of sex, not the marriage). I won't go into the gritty details here as it's pretty personal, but she turned the way I have viewed our sex life on its head and made me realise that he is just as responsible for the deterioration in our sex life. I have felt for years that it was my fault. Now I can see why really I should have said something years ago and was just to embarrassed to.

Stalepalemale - I told my husband last night about the exact conversation with my friend so he does know that I have spoken about our sex life to my close friends. He is ok with that (even if it might make him slightly uncomfortable) - he knows that I need someone to talk about it.

Lazyjaney Thu 20-Feb-14 17:11:09

"I told my husband last night about the exact conversation with my friend so he does know that I have spoken about our sex life to my close friends. He is ok with that (even if it might make him slightly uncomfortable) - he knows that I need someone to talk about it"

How would you feel if he talked to some of his close friends too? (and kept on going until he also found one who told him he was not at fault)

You both got yourselves into this, you will have to both get yourselves out together, and playing the "I'm righter than you" game is not going to help much.

stalepalemale Thu 20-Feb-14 17:24:17

OP, I’m glad you told your DH that you've been chatting to friends about your problems having sex with him, but please don’t deliberately make him feel uncomfortable, even if you think you ‘need someone to talk about it’. And be prepared for his relationships with these friends to change, especially if he thinks they’ve told their DPs or mutual friends. But it’s good you’ve been honest with him – have you shown him this thread?

PTFsWife Thu 20-Feb-14 17:31:34

I'm not trying to make him deliberately uncomfortable stalepalemale. I need to talk to some female friends about this. When I was a preteen my mum gave me a book on what sex was. The rest I had to figure out by myself. There wasn't youtube back them with tutorials and even now I find it very difficult to find a sex therapist of coach in the UK. Without talking about it with other women, it is hard to know what is normal and what isn't. Perhaps I should have spoken to someone years ago to avoid this problem.

But equally, while I need to talk to some friends about this, I don't want to talk about it behind his back in the interests of open communication. So I am telling him - perhaps not all the details but he knows I am seeking some advice from friends. Similarly, if he spoke to his close friends about our sex life I would be ok with it if I felt that it would help him understand what to do differently/get a perspective that would help.

Lazyjaney - I don't think we are playing the 'righter than you game'. We both know that we have made mistakes and we're trying to work on them. I didn't start this thread to have my sex life pulled apart by a bunch of strangers on the internet. I posted it because I got the impression from a friend that I was to blame for my husband having an affair because we didn't have sex often enough and felt upset by it and wanted to get it off my chest.

Jan45 Thu 20-Feb-14 17:43:29

PTF, you carry on as you want, you can talk to any female friend you like and your OH will just have to lump it. You are not doing it for revenge, you need someone to support and listen to you, that is all. OP, you have done and said nothing wrong.

Your husband went behind your back and shagged someone else, you talking to your friend doesn't even come close to that and I can't believe some posters are comparing the two.

stalepalemale Thu 20-Feb-14 18:51:07

OP, chatting with 'some female friends' about your dire sex life risks humiliating your DH and poisoning your social circle.

Seek professional help if you are that worried about it. You will find a sex therapist if you look hard enough. Otherwise there are excellent books and resources (including MN).

Of course you shouldn't blame yourself for his affair, and I don't think your friend was saying that. But a sexless marriage is a ticking time bomb, and you both should really be doing everthing you can to fix that. Chatting with mates about it, drunk or not, will not help and may well make things worse.

Offred Thu 20-Feb-14 19:03:23

Why has this thread been invaded by MRAs?! confused

Yes, talk to who you want about what you want. Discussing your sex life isn't inherently disloyal.

What have strip clubs got to do with anything at all. Are you promoting a 'women gossip, men perve' stereotype now?

I am opposed to strip clubs not because they are disloyal but because they are oppressive and I have an ethical problem with them. I believe in privacy but I don't think that means someone cannot choose to discuss their own relationship with someone else - obviously they are the best person to know what their partner's personal privacy preferences are.

What you say smacks of an attempt to guilt a cheated on partner into not saying anything in order to protect the infidelity not the privacy.

A sexless marriage is not an affair waiting to happen which is what you are trying to imply with that last comment.

The op's relationship wasn't sexless anyway, they were both not interested in having as much sex as they had before.

I cannot actually believe you would attempt to argue that the op is not allowed to stop blaming herself for the reduced sex now she's discovered he was having sex with someone else rather than having sex with her!

Offred Thu 20-Feb-14 19:04:04

Op should talk to who she wants about the affair, the rest is to stalepalemale...

anapitt Thu 20-Feb-14 19:48:56

I get what your friend says , albeit she is being insensitive.

it's nothing to do with men though. lots of people need/ want sex , affection, closeness. some not so much. sex twice in two years ? why so little?
I had an affair partly because my then husband withheld all of the above and someone else offered it in spades.

it was a bloody stupid thing to do on my part and I will regret it forever. But my husband was being crap and forever pushing me away

Offred Thu 20-Feb-14 19:52:39

*I had an affair partly because my then husband withheld all of the above and someone else offered it in spades.

it was a bloody stupid thing to do on my part and I will regret it forever. But my husband was being crap and forever pushing me away*

No, you had an affair because you didn't want to leave him yet. Leaving him would have been the correct response.

And the op wasn't withholding sex or pushing her h away. The reduced sex was coming from both sides she says.

anapitt Thu 20-Feb-14 19:52:59

and of course no one literally NEEDS sex !

ReadyToPopAndFresh Thu 20-Feb-14 20:02:08

Men do need sex OP. Their penises fall off if they don't get enough. True Fact hmm

Your friend is a twat, dump her.

And to the total knobs on thread who have said the OP isn't allowed to discuss her relationship and should just shut up and be miserable with no one to discuss her cheating bastard husband with. Would you kindly fuck off? She shouldn't have anything to discuss with the friend, the fact that she does is her husbands fault entirely. It is not a problem both of them created.

Lazyjaney Thu 20-Feb-14 20:17:51

"and of course no one literally NEEDS sex"

That's just not true, apart from a small % with no/very low libido we are absolutely programmed for sex as a species at all levels, and we structure all our social systems and culture around it. People will go to great lengths and risks to get sex, it's a life force - ignore it at your peril.

ReadyToPopAndFresh Thu 20-Feb-14 20:27:08

Um what risks? DO you mean rape? hmm

A "need" is water/food/air

Sex is a "who wouldn't that be lovely urge"

I find it very difficult to find a sex therapist of coach in the UK

Some GUM clinics have a psycho-sexual therapist attached to their clinics, and will refer you directly - perhaps try ringing around and see if there are any local to you??

rainbowsmiles Thu 20-Feb-14 20:36:16

OMG are you for real??? The OP shouldn't discuss her problems with her friends. Get real. That is exactly who she should be discussing it with. Maybe she should have done it sooner by the sounds of it as her food friend seems to have enlightened her in some way.

Do you have shit friends or just plenty of cash that you would rather speak to a sex therapist.

The habit of woman blaming is ingrained I get that but really.... Men need sex???? Like they will literally die of they don't have sex. Eff aff.

rainbowsmiles Thu 20-Feb-14 20:38:28

Good friend although if she's anything like my good friends food friend works too.

Offred Thu 20-Feb-14 20:38:39

Lazyjaney - do you know what need actually means?

Humans enjoy sex and that distinguishes them from most other animals but they don't need sex.

Offred Thu 20-Feb-14 20:44:45

If sex really were essential rather than desirable we wouldn't criminalise rape would we?

anapitt Thu 20-Feb-14 20:55:34

lazyjaney there is a difference between highly desiring and being motivated to seek sex and actually NEEDING IT.
you NEED food and water.
you do NOT need sex . you won't die without it

TarteAuxRiz Thu 20-Feb-14 20:59:04

You not having sex with your husband was and is as much of an issue for HIM to resolve as you. It takes two. Your friend is somewhat misguided...

Keepithidden Thu 20-Feb-14 21:15:07

OP another male view here. I disagree with the others though. I'd be happy for my DW to talk to anyone about our shit sex life. I wish she would, even if it was along particularly disparaging lines. I don't think I'd feel humiliated.

For what its worth though I'd be surprised if our marriage isn't an affair waiting to happen, if previous MN cheater profiles are anything to go by anyway.

Offred Thu 20-Feb-14 21:32:40

Only if neither of you communicate or end it keep.

And still even then you'd have to choose to have an affair rather than do either of those things.

Lazyjaney Thu 20-Feb-14 21:42:02

"do you know what need actually means?"

I do, but I'm not sure you do. A Need is defined as something essential or very important.

I think you are confusing maintaining life with maintaining a human life. Sex is always put on the basic level of human needs.

Keepithidden Thu 20-Feb-14 21:43:25

Ha ha, thanks for the vote of confidence Red!

No, I'm pretty sure it won't be me.

Offred Thu 20-Feb-14 21:45:47

Sex is not always put on a list of basic human needs!! :/

Humans enjoy sex. It is not essential or very important. It is normal to enjoy it and want to do it as often as possible but it is still just something they want or enjoy.

Offred Thu 20-Feb-14 21:46:43

I did think you were more likely to be worried it would be your wife keep. I meant "you" in the general sense!

Proseccoisnotrah Thu 20-Feb-14 21:53:08

That was a bit insensitive of your friend. It's a difficult one. Sex is important to me and if my DH suddenly went off it and didn't want to anymore it would trigger a lot of feelings in me, mainly of rejection, frustration and I could see that considering looking elsewhere might be a part of that. But he didn't have to. Nobody needs sex. But a lot of people like it an awful lot. He wasn't aware that the marriage would become sexless and the goalposts were moved iyswim. But the ultimate decision to cheat was his. This makes no sense.

AbleAble Fri 21-Feb-14 00:05:21

My ex-husbands 'need' for sex totally destroyed my libido.

To discover, after he'd left me and our baby, that he had been constantly wanking to online porn, using escorts and prostitutes, utterly ruined me.

Lazyjaney Fri 21-Feb-14 07:20:47

"Sex is not always put on a list of basic human needs!!"

Not in MN Relationships, but it's for self serving reasons. Elsewhere if you suggested sex was not a basic human need you'd be thought delusional.

"Humans enjoy sex. It is not essential or very important"

That is just absurd, but it shows how tenuous your grip of human relationships is.

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 07:59:52

Just because people talk about that on other forums which are likely full of misogyny, doesn't mean it is true. The world is full of misogynistic views like 'men need sex' 'women who dress sexily are asking for it' etc

What I'm talking about is science. The fact that humans enjoy sex differentiates them from most other animals.

Subjectively sex may be more or less important to individual humans. Objectively sex is not essential or very important to humans as a group. It is something they enjoy and which gives them pleasure. You can tell this by what happens when humans are put under stress - they prioritise basic needs and things like sex fall by the wayside.

I love sex and have a lot of it but during certain periods of my life, stressful ones, I have not wanted it at all. Have had two periods of complete celibacy - one for two years after an abusive relationship and one for 18 months in a relationship I wanted to leave while I was pg and had small twins.

It is utterly ridiculous to suggest humans need sex.

Keepithidden Fri 21-Feb-14 08:01:52

I thought you meant the "royal we" Red, just taking deliberate offence!wink

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 08:08:55

Lazy - anyway what's your point? 'Twas both the op and the dh responsible for the lack of sex, they both weren't particularly happy with this and only one of them had an affair... Funny that...

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 08:09:45

Keep - ha ha! wink

How are you getting on?

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 08:11:19

And maslow's heirarchy of shite has been criticised and is not used by psychiatry...

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 08:13:57

Sex is a basic need is rapist logic, as I intimated earlier. No-one is entitled to sex. The law makes that clear. If sex was a basic need we wouldn't criminalise rape. The fact we do means that sex is less important than the security of the person.

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 08:15:33

Is your argument that we should decriminalise rape/sexual assault in order to accommodate sex as a basic need?

AICM Fri 21-Feb-14 08:21:04

Ofred I think you may have issues that run deeper than this thread. The rape argument makes you sound a little odd at best.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Fri 21-Feb-14 08:21:33

OP, perhaps your friend buys into that way of thinking because it makes her feel that her marriage is secure. 'We are having sex 3 times a weeks so in that case he won't have an affair'. It's wrong and it's sad - in lots of ways. Or maybe she's just insensitive and a lazy thinker.

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 08:27:50

It's simple, if sex is a basic human need, above the security of the person, that is a statement that our current law on rape and sexual abuse is incorrect and we should not be prioritising the security of the person above a person's 'need' for sex.

AICM Fri 21-Feb-14 08:31:08

That's the same as saying food is a basic so its ok to steal.

Keepithidden Fri 21-Feb-14 08:32:34

I'm okay thanks Red.

RE: Sex as a need. I don't agree with it being a need on an individual level, but I am seeing it more as a need at a relationship level. However, a relationship should never trump the needs of an individual.

It's not the same as food, water, shelter etc... by any stretch.

AICM Fri 21-Feb-14 08:32:34

Who has said sex is a basic need 'above the security of the person'?

rainbowsmiles Fri 21-Feb-14 08:32:41

And even if we accept that sex is a need it would only be insofar as for a healthy self etc. including the innate desire to procreate. If sex is not available the getting sex does not become an emergency situation.

Even if we could agree that sex is a need in the broad sense it had no relevance here as sex was available to her husband he just chose not to partake.

And even if she was withholding, at what time frame does the not having sex justify an affair.

Everyone has agreed the having of sex is important but does someone's need for sex trump anyone else's needs.

It is irrelevant.

He allowed and she allowed the relationship to break down to the extent that he was able to justify an affair and she was able to understand his need for one.

Sex is just part of the larger more complicated story.

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 08:34:08

Maslow said sex was above security of the person.

Keepithidden Fri 21-Feb-14 08:34:23

That's the same as saying food is a basic so its ok to steal

I swear that's been used as an debate point in some of the philosophy courses I've seen!

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 08:35:10

And I do agree that food is a basic need so if you don't have it it is ok to steal it.

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 08:37:52

And logically security of the person is not a need. People don't die from being raped etc, they get psychological problems, it is therefore not a need but is desirable to promote security of the person in order to have a healthy functioning society. When you say sex is a need you make it more important than security of the person.

On what basis is sex a human need anyway?

People do it for pleasure and to reproduce.

plum100 Fri 21-Feb-14 08:39:20

Op - i can imagine how your friends
Comment hurt you.

However, nobody that i know of who is divorced or seperated or had affairs were having great sex at the end of their relationship. I am not agreeing with what ur friend said.

But, imo, if you are not having regular sex the there will be problems,. Sex to me in a marriage is
So much more than just intercourse. A time for closeness, for love , for trust , and if that is not heppening i think it can have damaging effects NOT the green light for an affair but just becoming less close.

Thats what it means to me anyway and i appreciate not everyone feels the same x

ReadyToPopAndFresh Fri 21-Feb-14 08:41:54

If you were starving and you stole it would be taken in to consideration by a jury and the police.

If you raped someone because you needed sex and no one wanted to have sex with you would not get the same leniency.

AICM Fri 21-Feb-14 08:50:06

Ofred
You said Maslow was Shite know you're quoting him.

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 08:51:00

Er yes, I'm quoting his shite theory that sex is a need above security of the person... hmm

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 08:51:50

Which is rape apology... In reality...

AICM Fri 21-Feb-14 08:59:07

That's not what his theory says.

An individual has a basic need to feel secure and when they are they will strive to meet other needs.

It doesn't when an individual is secure they can destroy the security of others.

I don't think your bizarre distraction in this thread is helpful to the OP, the general debate or in fact anybody so I won't respond to any more of your comments so the debate can get back to the actual issue.

Goodbye Ofred

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 09:03:51

It is what his theory says. What you say is broadly correct about his broader philosophy. However in his hierarchy of need sex is put in a category with food and water - of greater importance than security which is needed for psychological not physical health.

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 09:04:10

Apparently.

Bonsoir Fri 21-Feb-14 09:06:27

Withholding sex from a partner (man or woman) who clearly wants and needs sex is a dangerous course of action.

rainbowsmiles Fri 21-Feb-14 09:11:23

Dangerous bonsoir? Interesting word choice.

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 09:12:15

Withholding sex from a partner (man or woman) who clearly wants and needs sex is a dangerous course of action.

Withholding sex can be abusive. So can forcing sex.

No-one was withholding sex in the op's marriage.

Problems with sex which are not normally the source of the problem but a symptom can justifiably lead to the breakdown of the relationship. They don't justify an affair anymore than they justify rape.

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 09:13:13

(An affair might be more understandable than rape though)

Bonsoir Fri 21-Feb-14 09:18:40

Withholding (or rationing) anything that your partner needs is always going to make them feel a bit frustrated. Too much frustration is dangerous.

I couldn't read all 5 pages so I am just replying to Original Post.
Friends sometimes say hurtful thoughtless things (we all do sometimes) so forget it if you can.
Now - men need sex do they - well so do women - no reason to think men's needs are greater than women's (in general - Obviously as individuals we are all different).
If you only had sex twice - why is this the woman's fault? Why not say it was his fault? I'll bet there are a whole pile of reasons why we could say he was too blame!
I know in my own relationship there is plenty of evidence to blame my husband for all of the world's problems.
But why wasn't he there laying the ground work to make you relaxed and seduce you?
In fact why not suggest the oposite of what your friend has said - why not feel sorry for YOu for the lack of sex and say what a bastard he was to deprive you of it? ...

Moving on you just wanted to get it off your chest that you are not to blame for his affair.
I agree with you entirely.
You didn't make him.
He is responsible for his actions.
He had to actively do something to have the affair it didn't just happen to him.
He could have invested that effort into something else like you and the children but he choose not to. Whilst his efforts were invested elsewhere that left you doing twice as much to look after yourself, the home and the children.

You are right though. Many will think in the same way as your friend. I have heard stupid comments like that before.

rainbowsmiles Fri 21-Feb-14 09:21:38

Dangerous in that they might spontaneously combust and burn the house down?

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 09:22:33

I don't know what planet you live on bonsoir. Withholding something a partner needs like food will affect their physical health, withholding sex which they want and which is normally part of a healthy relationship might make them stressed/frustrated/rejected and affect their self esteem but what's your point? The op wasn't withholding sex and what do you mean by "dangerous"?

Lavenderhoney Fri 21-Feb-14 09:23:07

Ooh, OP, you met a time traveller from the 50's! Did she ask if you made him enough hot dinners as well?

Your dh had an affair because he could and found someone who was willing to. He regrets it and is working through it with you.

I wouldn't mention it to her again, because it will become an ongoing conversation and marriage status.

galgaf14 Fri 21-Feb-14 09:23:34

Ofred
Why are you so desperate to make this about rape when it clearly isn't about rape?

rainbowsmiles Fri 21-Feb-14 09:27:15

Ofred isn't making it about rape. Read the thread and you will see she is responding to some fairly illogical suggestions. The logical end to the sex as a basic need argument is the justification of rape.

galgaf14 Fri 21-Feb-14 09:28:45

She obviously ment dangerous in terms of damage to the relationship. You did know that but decided to be sarcastic for effect. Very mature

galgaf14 Fri 21-Feb-14 09:32:03

So do all basic needs justify a corresponding crime?

rainbowsmiles Fri 21-Feb-14 09:34:33

Her choice of language was deliberate and considered and I chose to highlight the inflammatory nature and in the process diffuse the wind up.

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 09:35:37

I want to know what she means by "dangerous" because rape involves danger to a person, affairs could be seen as involving danger to a person if you really stretch it... The end of a relationship I can't see where there is danger in that to a person... Danger is quite a strong and threatening term and in this context it seems like she's suggesting, like the op's friend, that the op should submit to being raped/sexually abused in order to keep a man...

Rape is not irrelevant to the thread. The friend was suggesting a relationship where you are being repeatedly raped and abused is required to keep a man.

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 09:38:28

(Which involves the assumption that women are frigid withdrawers of sex, which is not even true in this individual situation)

galgaf14 Fri 21-Feb-14 09:48:29

Sorry Ofred but I agree the ACIM. You have serious issues with men that run deeper than this thread. Whatever has led you to this distorted state of mind must have been unpleasant and I'm sorry but I think your views on men, rape and relationships are awful. I have experience of rape as my sister was raped years ago and I dealt with the fallout years so I am in no way taking rape lightly, but even I think your views are odd. You sound like a man hater who loves to play the rape card.

ReadyToPopAndFresh Fri 21-Feb-14 09:50:42

If sex is a basci need how are women able to get away with "withholding" it. You'd think they would need it as much as men. Or is it only a basic need for men.

Also assuming women "withhold" sex implies you think women don't actually enjoy sex so are happy to give it up. And if women don't enjoy sex.. and you still think they should provide sex.

Well that's a problem isn't it?

I think men and women both enjoy sex (as a whole) and if initially you are both having and enjoying sex and suddenly it isn't happening anymore it's a symptom not a cause.

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 09:52:15

I don't hate men. I'm opposed to rape. Isn't it funny how people conflate men with rapists so often when you make anti rape arguments. It's people who conflate men with rapists that have a low opinion of men IMO.

Sex when you don't want it is rape/sexual abuse isn't it?

That's what the op's friend was suggesting would get her relationship back on track.

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 09:57:02

Even taking the issue about what you call rape/abuse and the assumption that women withhold sex out of it; Submitting to sex that you don't want destroys intimacy and respect. The friend's suggestion would damage the relationship and be dangerous to the op's mental health.

Sex life falling by the wayside along with intimacy is a symptom of a problem in the relationship. It cannot be solved by just having sex when you don't want it. It can't be solved by having an affair.

It can only be solved by both people working on the underlying cause or making a choice to split up and perhaps move on to other more compatible partners.

Bonsoir Fri 21-Feb-14 09:58:56

If someone doesn't enjoy sex, he/she shouldn't engage in a mutually monogamous contract like marriage.

Keepithidden Fri 21-Feb-14 10:02:03

Why the attack on Offred? I haven't read anything on recent threads (and certainly not this one) that paints a "man hating" picture, the views expressed on sex/rape seem pretty logical and well thought out, okay so they may be contrary to the way some in society think, but that's probably a reflection on society rather than the individual.

Respect for not replying in a personal manner to those offended by your views Red.

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 10:09:30

Bonsoir - sex is not part of the marriage contract since RvR and the sexual offences act 2003.

People are free to determine their own relationships within the legal and financial obligations of the marriage contract. If both partners want no sex should they still not get married?

Besides, it is very, very rare that with any relationship where sex has dropped off after an initial good period the problem is that one person just doesn't like sex because it is quite rare not to want sex.

Because the sex is part of a relationship it seems strange to assume people who aren't having as much sex as they did just don't like sex.

It can be hormonal, work/family stress, depression/treatment for it, bereavement, a change in feelings towards your partner, an affair or a myriad of things which cause a change.

Offred Fri 21-Feb-14 10:10:55

Many people who struggled to want sex in one relationship discover that the problem was their feelings towards their partner at the time or their feelings towards themselves and have great relationships with other people when they have sorted that problem.

stalepalemale Sat 22-Feb-14 01:03:51

Why does everything on this board have to come down to rape? As I understand it, rape involves non-consensual sex. Making an effort to get in the mood to help turn your relationship around does not equal rape, and saying it does just insults rape survivors. It also serves to bully people off this board.

Anyway back to whether it's disloyal and disrespectful the chat with your mates about your dire sex life and relationship, I'll answer your points one by one, Offred.

Why has this thread been invaded by MRAs?!

If you're calling me a men's rights activist, you're wrong. I just can't bear to see idiotic advice taken seriously.

Yes, talk to who you want about what you want. Discussing your sex life isn't inherently disloyal.

If your DP would be upset if they heard exactly what you were saying about this most personal of subjects, then it is - very. I'd even say it was abusive, because it's treating them with utter disrespect.

What have strip clubs got to do with anything at all. Are you promoting a 'women gossip, men perve' stereotype now?

I'm not promoting any stereotype, I'm just pointing out that men have been going to strip clubs and brothels together for millennia, and probably experience some kind of camaraderie and/or release from the pressures they get from their DWs. Doesn't make it right, though, just as bitching about your bloke with your mates isn't right.

I am opposed to strip clubs not because they are disloyal but because they are oppressive and I have an ethical problem with them. I believe in privacy but I don't think that means someone cannot choose to discuss their own relationship with someone else - obviously they are the best person to know what their partner's personal privacy preferences are.

They 'know what their parter's personal privacy preferences are'? Ha! Unless the DH knows exactly what the OP is saying, and is cool with it, then it is a gross invasion of privacy - end of. And abusive, too.

What you say smacks of an attempt to guilt a cheated on partner into not saying anything in order to protect the infidelity not the privacy.

All the friends know about the infidelity already, it can't be 'protected'. The privacy can, and should.

A sexless marriage is not an affair waiting to happen which is what you are trying to imply with that last comment.

It's a ticking time bomb because it weakens a marriage and makes it more vulnerable. And it's a terrible model for children, as well as being no fun.

The op's relationship wasn't sexless anyway, they were both not interested in having as much sex as they had before.

Err, it was still sexless! And we don't know he wasn't interested, just that he 'didn't have a massive sex drive' (with her) which just means he wasn't pestering her all the time. After a few knockbacks, many guys will just give up, as the rejection can really hurt.

I cannot actually believe you would attempt to argue that the op is not allowed to stop blaming herself for the reduced sex now she's discovered he was having sex with someone else rather than having sex with her!

I never said anything like that! I have no idea who's to 'blame' for the lack of sex, if either of them are. All I'm saying is that, if they both want to stay married, they should be figuring out what's holding their sex life back, and fix it, fast. Chatting to mates won't help, believe me. It will just add to the pressure for both of them and be completely counterproductive.

Offred Sat 22-Feb-14 01:21:10

"You have to have sex more often, even if you don't feel like it, you just have to"

This is not consent.

You shouldn't make an effort to have sex you don't want. Not having sex is not the problem in a marriage where there are issues with reduced sex. It is usually other things like affairs or stress etc. Forcing the sex in that situation IME and IMO ruins the relationship further as it ruins any enjoyment of sex and doesn't solve the problem.

In any case in a mutually reduced sex life why does the woman have to force herself to have sex she doesn't want?

stalepalemale Sat 22-Feb-14 06:10:22

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

AmberSpyglass Sat 22-Feb-14 08:47:25

Yoga?! Was that supposed to be a joke?

Sex when you don't want it, whether that's from fear that your husband will have an affair, or any reason, is rape.

Having sex consensually when you can't really be bothered but think to hell with it, is different.

AmberSpyglass Sat 22-Feb-14 08:50:20

If a man was threatening, whether explicitly or implicitly, that he'd have an affair, then that IS forcing her. Rape isn't just about being dragged into an alley and held down. There are many ways to force someone to do something!

I still can't quite get my head round the fact that you compared making yourself go to yoga, with having unconcensual sex!

rainbowsmiles Sat 22-Feb-14 09:50:19

Staplemale your advice is idiotic.

Comparing women getting advice from good friends to men going to strip/lap dancing clubs is such a ridiculous comparison.

Women talk to other women. Mumsnet is just my kitchen table but with a lot more women than I could fit in my kitchen. It is not disloyal to discuss problems and look for answers to problems. Men tend not to do this and I don't think the massive disparity in suicide rates between men and women is unrelated.

Women tend only to discuss sexual issues with good friends they know they can trust.

I had a v close friend who told me one day her husband never had sex with her. He had withdrawn from her for years and she was living her own personal nightmare. She thought she was doing something wrong, she was blaming herself. She thought she was being disloyal even talking about it. You can bet her husband didn't want her to tell anyone. She had slowly lost all her confidence. And guess what? Her husband wouldn't talk about it at all, refused counselling. The best thing she did was to confide in me. Funnily enough she has left him now and her head is high again and her smile back.

Sharing experiences (good and bad), problems, giving and listening to advice within friendship groups is enormously helpful. It is bolstering to the human spirit. To compare that with men getting pissed and going to lap dancing and strip clubs??

And your comment about "after a few knock backs men will give up", huh? In a marriage you think that men just give up because their wife isn't in the mood a few times. Are you 19?

Joysmum Sat 22-Feb-14 10:44:38

And your comment about "after a few knock backs men will give up", huh? In a marriage you think that men just give up because their wife isn't in the mood a few times. Are you 19?

Actually yes.

My DH and I went through a dry patch of sex, like many couples do, after the birth of our DD.

We did talk it through and work through it. One if the things he said which stuck in my head, was that he didn't want to feel like a sex pest. That made me sad, but by trying to initiate and getting knocked back he honestly felt like it was unreasonable of him to keep trying and that I didn't want him anymore. sad

As for the sex an yoga analogy, I agree with that too. It's well known that when you have sex, you want more sex with you have little, it fades away. There's a big difference between not wanting sex with your partner because you aren't in the mood (which is what foreplay is about), and not wanting sex ever again full stop. I certainly found that by having more I wanted more and that's certainly not unusual for a relationship where the woman wants to improve the sex life rather than just not seeing little or no sex as an issue. It's about context.

rainbowsmiles Sat 22-Feb-14 11:15:35

But joysmum your husband showed sensitivity and consideration for your own sexual needs. A decent man does that. And then waits for the wife to let him know when she is ready again. Depending on the individuals involved it can be verbally or non verbally. That is the pattern in a healthy functioning relationship. Your experience is normal your reluctance didn't mean no return to sex and your husband having an affair. It lead to patience, communication and understanding.

Lazyjaney Sat 22-Feb-14 13:05:27

"The op's relationship wasn't sexless anyway, they were both not interested in having as much sex as they had before"

That's a deliberate misreading of the situation here.

There is still a huge amount of avoidance of a basic fact on this thread, ie that the person not getting sex in a relationship has every right to change their situation. The how is just detail.

Offred Sat 22-Feb-14 13:57:28

Sex is nothing like yoga. (Yoga? Wtf more stereotyping there!)

If you want to go to yoga you go, if you don't feel like it you might choose to go because you know it will be good for you, sometimes you can't be arsed.

Yoga is not something you have to consent to. It doesn't involve a potential and damaging violation of your personal/sexual autonomy. It is an entirely individual experience. A hobby.

Sexual activity without effective legal consent is considered a crime because it is so damaging.

The two things are simply not comparable. You are not going to end up with a damaged relationship and/or sense of self or psychological problems from going to yoga when you don't feel like it.

Offred Sat 22-Feb-14 14:01:20

There is still a huge amount of avoidance of a basic fact on this thread, ie that the person not getting sex in a relationship has every right to change their situation. The how is just detail.

No there isn't. Many people have repeatedly said that a relationship with problems which have led to a reduction in sex has every right to change the situation by working on the relationship or choosing to leave. They don't have a right to an affair and the affair doesn't even change their situation - they are still in a relationship which has problems.

The op is the one who said the reduction was mutual I.e. Not just her. She has not said the relationship was sexless. They were having sex, just not as much as before and not as much as she felt she would be happy with.

Offred Sat 22-Feb-14 14:05:17

And this crap about men being red blooded heterosexuals and different to women and needing sex is just as damaging to men as it is women. It sets up the standard to be that men are powerful over women who are victims and it leads to under reporting of sexual assaults/abuse carried out by women (and often other men) against men.

stalepalemale Sat 22-Feb-14 18:34:59

The DH has never threatened (explicitly or implicitly) to have an affair unless the OP has sex with him, so I don't know why people are saying that. The friend has told the OP (and the OP agrees) that their lack of sex was a reason (not a justification) for him having an affair, and she advised the OP to make more of an effort along these lines to improve their marriage (it's not called 'making love' for nothing). If the OP was to take her advice and tried to have more sex, then this would be completely consensual. The point is people do plenty of things they don't necessarily feel like doing at first because they know it's good for them. Calling this rape is insulting to rape survivors and just serves to bully people off this board.

As for the oversharing, there's a huge difference between confiding in your best friend that your marriage is in crisis and you're thinking of leaving, and chatting with mates about your dire sex life. The latter may be 'bolstering to the human spirit' (though many men would claim the same about getting pissed and going to strip clubs with mates), but it's still a gross invasion of your DP's privacy and is utterly disrespectful to them, not to mention humiliating. If you refuse to see that then fine, but know that you're simply justifying abuse. The 'need' to overshare is no greater than the 'need' to have sex - they are both illusions that mask the real human need for profound connection with other people.

IHateWinter Sat 22-Feb-14 18:46:44

I hate affairs. I think it is low, cruel behaviour. Pretty much one of the worst things a person can do. I think many people suffer awful marriages but manage to hold onto their integrity and don't commit adultery. My parents divorced as a direct result of my fathers affair.

However, I do not believe in completely blameless affairs. There is always a reason(s), not an excuse, but a reason. Since marriage is a two person dynamic, it requires mistakes on both sides in order for them to happen, even if that means having missed red flags that the person you married is an egotistical philanderer.

And sorry as a woman who would find years of hardly any sex too much to handle, (liking and needing it a lot) I can't see why this is deemed dismissable as a possible catalyst for seeking intimacy with someone else.

rainbowsmiles Sat 22-Feb-14 18:54:41

Staple I am at a loss. Bewildering thought processes. You inhabit a very different world and I am very glad about that.

ReadyToPopAndFresh Sat 22-Feb-14 19:04:06

A sexless marriage is not an affair waiting to happen which is what you are trying to imply with that last comment.

It's a ticking time bomb because it weakens a marriage and makes it more vulnerable. And it's a terrible model for children, as well as being no fun.

Funny enough my children have no idea about my sex life. hmm I should hope yours don't. If you are parading it in front of them or pestering their mother in front of them they really shouldn't be in your care

and yoga = sex, I'm pretty sure that goes against mumsnet's talk guidelines which are pretty harsh about rape apologizing.

IHateWinter Sat 22-Feb-14 19:09:17

I see nothing wrong with staples post.

On the reverse I have seen posts on here where a woman has said they haven't had sex with DP for ages and have met someone they fancy and are very tempted and people have chimed in with 'the lack of intimacy is making you feel vulnerable etc'

double standards.

Offred Sat 22-Feb-14 19:20:12

Why do you get to speak for rape survivors stale?

Sex is not comparable to "anything else".

Putting 'effort' in when you don't feel like it often makes the problem worse and never makes it better unless you narrow minded lot think the amount of sex IS the problem and don't care about consent.

Do you not understand sexual consent stale? I think this (people still not understanding sexual consent ad comparing sex to a hobby) is more offensive to rape survivors tbh.

Offred Sat 22-Feb-14 19:21:42

And yes, lack of intimacy, sex, communication etc can make you feel things like rejected, low, stressed, frustrated. What it can't do is make you have an affair. You have to choose to do that.

ReadyToPopAndFresh Sat 22-Feb-14 19:22:13

hmmm Not sure what threads you have been reading.

I've only ever seen women be told that cheating would make them absolute cowards for not working it out with their husbands or leaving first. It is fine to feel vulnerable it is not OK to actually cheat. That's the difference how you feel and what you do are two different things.

Offred Sat 22-Feb-14 19:22:25

*narrowmindedly! Not narrow minded lot!

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Sat 22-Feb-14 19:24:57

It was an excuse, not a reason.

I don't get enough from DH but I have managed not to fuck someone else.

IHateWinter Sat 22-Feb-14 19:39:18

So do you really believe that there is never any reason for an affair? Not excuse but reason. Someone just ups and decides I will do the worst thing possible to someone I love and screw someone else just for the heck of it? Truly? And that nothing can be provocative. Its just entirely the persons fault.

And lack of sexual intimacy will make no impact on the wellbeing of a marriage.

Rubbish. Sorry. It would make an impact on me. I wouldn't have an affair but I would not tolerate a sexless marriage. It would be over. It would make feel unattractive, sad, sexless, unimportant to my partner. And especially vulnerable to sexual advances and flirtation. Which is why I would end it.

Call me weak.

ReadyToPopAndFresh Sat 22-Feb-14 19:42:10

I wouldn't call you weak, I'd say that's exactly what you should do. But why wouldn't you have any affair? Because you know it's wrong and there no excuse for one.

EIther you are in a relationship with someone or you aren't. If you love someone you make it work or you leave..

And yes, there are people out there who have affairs because they can. They have sex at home, a person who loves them at home, but they just think the rules don't apply

Offred Sat 22-Feb-14 19:44:42

^So do you really believe that there is never any reason for an affair? Not excuse but reason. Someone just ups and decides I will do the worst thing possible to someone I love and screw someone else just for the heck of it? Truly? And that nothing can be provocative. Its just entirely the persons fault.

And lack of sexual intimacy will make no impact on the wellbeing of a marriage.^

One doesn't follow from the other. Lack of sexual intimacy has a massive effect usually but the correct responses are limited to working on the problem together or choosing to split up - both pretty tough decisions.

People choose to have affairs because they are too cowardly to make either of those choices (both which would solve the problem) and instead make a choice to avoid difficulty and stick a plaster over the problem by having an affair. Sometimes the thing that makes them cowardly is abuse from their partner and sometimes at the other end of the spectrum it is because they are calculating, manipulative and selfish.

It is still a choice though. Feeling bad in a marriage might be an excuse for an affair but the reason for having one is usually cowardice of some kind.

stalepalemale Sat 22-Feb-14 19:46:55

Offred, saying that someone who may not feel like having sex but doesn't want their marriage to be sexless and so makes an effort to get in the mood has not given their consent is offensive to genuine survivors because it trivialises rape. You may not think it's worth putting any effort into making better love with the co-parent of your children, but please don't inflict your prejudices on the rest of us.

Offred Sat 22-Feb-14 19:56:58

saying that someone who may not feel like having sex but doesn't want their marriage to be sexless and so makes an effort to get in the mood has not given their consent is offensive to genuine survivors because it trivialises rape.

No, it doesn't and who are you to make that pronouncement? Calling out sexual abuse and promoting a woman's right to sexual autonomy never trivialises rape.

The reason rape is criminalised is because of the psychological damage done by removing a right to personal/sexual autonomy. Whilst you may think this is a lesser form of that it is still a form of it.

Further to that lying back and thinking of England will not have a beneficial effect. Having sex often may well make you want more, lying back and thinking of England is not a pleasant experience, it feels degrading and it kills both your sex drive and your desire for the person having sex on you because you can no longer trust or respect them.

What trivialises rape is this view that men should be red blooded sexual abusers and women should lie back and think of England if they don't want to be left high and dry.

Offred Sat 22-Feb-14 19:58:10

Smacks somewhat of ken Clark's ill advised comments about not all rapes being equal.

Offred Sat 22-Feb-14 19:59:15

The difference may be one of magnitude or type of effect on the person being subjected to the behaviour but sex when you don't want to is always damaging to your self esteem.

IHateWinter Sat 22-Feb-14 20:11:16

I have to say Offred, I can only speak for myself personally, but I am a survivor of childhood SA, and there are times when DP wants sex, and I feel more in the mood to eat toast or read my rent bill. Not turned on at all. I make an effort because he really wants it. Sometimes its just not great sex for me, mind is elsewhere.

However I never find it unpleasant, traumatic, demeaning or exploitative. There is a sense of trust in my relationship. I do not resent having sex with my partner because his pleasure becomes mine and you know what, next time he gives it back. (although he still doesn't give me sex as much as I want ideally!)

I think there is a world of difference between that what I experienced as a child and what I experience as an adult in a give and take relationship, BUT I can only speak for myself I suppose.

Offred Sat 22-Feb-14 20:31:54

I might have said that too at one point but I've come to realise that because of past abuse my boundaries were shifted and I was able to have sex I didn't want with people I didn't want to have sex with because it wasn't as bad as the abuse/it felt familiar.

It didn't help my relationship because the lack of intimacy was down to the relationship being wrong and the communication not being right. Eventually it just made me quite cold towards him.

We can only talk from our personal experiences 'this true but I still don't think anyone would say trying to promote consent aggressively is what trivialises rape.

Offred Sat 22-Feb-14 20:33:38

I do think it is different in a relationship where sex life is broadly good/happy though. You aren't always in the mood but may get into the mood.

A relationship where there is a problem with sex is quite different I think, you have to sort out the cause.

IHateWinter Sat 22-Feb-14 20:42:43

I might have said that too at one point but I've come to realise that because of past abuse my boundaries were shifted and I was able to have sex I didn't want with people I didn't want to have sex with because it wasn't as bad as the abuse/it felt familiar.

I can relate to that completely. I have to say I have been fortunate in this relationship now.

You are absolutely right about other things like long term lack of communication making intimacy entirely off limits.

You sound like a very strong and knowledgable survivorsmile

PTFsWife Sat 22-Feb-14 22:04:48

Wow -- well I never expected me getting something off my chest would turn into such a heated debate.

Here are my final thoughts:
I am too blame for not having enough sex with my husband. He tried many times and I said no.
I am too blame for saying no and not explaining why I was saying no. There were reasons which I am not going to divulge here (because if talking to close friends about my sex life is deemed as bad, why the hell is sharing it on the web with a bunch of strangers ok??)

He was too blame for not asking me why I said no. He was too blame for not trying harder. He was too blame for not trying that hard to change things and to accept the status quo and not seeming that interested anyway.

We were both to blame for not communicating about this fundamental issue and letting it slide until a point where it was too awkward to discuss.

He is to blame for having an affair. I was in the same sexless marriage and had opportunities to flirt and take things further with someone else, but I never ever let it get beyond a passing thought in my head. He chose to act on what was offered to him on a plate. Do I blame him for doing that? No. Do I blame him for not communicating with me and trying to work on our marriage before? Yes. I had always been the one trying to communicate. He was always the stonewaller.

We are now both working hard to fix things. I am communicating with him about everything including our sex life and the lack thereof plus the reasons it has got to that point (which has been hard to say to him). It is hard for him to hear.

I have spoken to my friends because I needed someone to talk to during a fairly shitty period in my life. He knows that I speak to my friends about this and while it may not be massively comfortable for him, he accepts that I need to do this to work through some of these issues. I have no family here and why should I try and work through this on my own? Frankly, he is the one who committed adultery. Me talking to some close friends to help me get through this is less of a crime.

It's also not comfortable to him for him face my family who live abroad, but which has volunteered to do when he goes to their country on business - he did this because he wanted to, not because I asked him to. He knows he has to make amends for a pretty huge fuck up. He hates himself for doing it and wants to make things right.

So please - I don't view having sex with my husband as rape. I agree that I don't always feel like going to the gym but feel better for it afterwards and get the analogy to sex. But equally, I don't think it is fair to blame me entirely for our lack of sex life and for speaking to my friends about this.

We are going to fix this. It makes me sad that many people out there hold old fashioned views that a man must have sought out an affair due to a lack of sex. yes, that may have been a contributing factor but ultimately it was a decision he took.

I am now bowing out of this thread. Thanks for your comments

PTFsWife Sat 22-Feb-14 22:07:44

before I bow out, my apologies for the typos especially all the 'too's that should be 'to's.

Offred Sat 22-Feb-14 22:56:04

Very balanced response ptf, good luck!

JockTamsonsBairns Sat 22-Feb-14 23:00:02

Offred thankyou for your contribution to this thread, put far more articulately than I could've done myself.

Offred Sun 23-Feb-14 01:09:26

Thanks jock blush

Lazyjaney Sun 23-Feb-14 07:59:08

"It makes me sad that many people out there hold old fashioned views that a man must have sought out an affair due to a lack of sex"

It's not just men, and it's not "old fashioned", it's what people do, always have done and will continue to do. A lack of sex in a relationship means all bets are off.

It does occur to me that the affair has achieved the outcome of trying to repair the relationship rather than one person having to live a life of misery or break it up.

Lazyjaney Sun 23-Feb-14 08:10:23

"Offred thankyou for your contribution to this thread, put far more articulately than I could've done myself"

A quick count tells me Offred wrote about 1/3rd of all the posts on this thread. I also see she was arguing she couldn't live without sex in a relationship on another recent thread, so I'm wondering if one could leave her to write all the remaining posts on this thread and argue both sides grin

Offred Sun 23-Feb-14 10:50:01

It's not inconsistent. I'd say it on this thread too. I couldn't live in a relationship without sex. When I had sex problems in a relationship it was really miserable and part of why I left.

I'm not sure why it is relevant at all?

Everyone agrees it is miserable. I'm simply saying that being miserable doesn't justify having an affair. It's a cowardly way out and no, I don't think him having an affair has achieved the outcome of them working on the relationship. Now they are working on the relationship him having had the affair makes it much less likely the relationship will survive and it makes it much more painful for all involved.

What is wrong with working on the relationship without having an affair?

Offred Sun 23-Feb-14 10:54:08

A lack of sex doesn't mean all bets are off, how ridiculous, only if the people involved are teenagers and have no emotional regulation/self control. Some people respond to misery in their relationship by having an affair, the reason they respond this way is because they are too cowardly to confront the problems and seek out what they see as an easy fix, either that or they just fall for someone else and are too cowardly to finish their secure relationship first.

The reason is not that they are miserable. If it was then it wouldn't be only some people who are miserable who have affairs would it?

Offred I think you've done very well under all of the attacks you've had! I also found your words very articulate and valuable. thanks

rainbowsmiles Sun 23-Feb-14 11:28:03

Offred your arguments have been excellent. I'm glad someone can be bothered to argue with such clarity. It must feel like banging your head off a wall at times.

rainbowsmiles Sun 23-Feb-14 11:28:39

Oh and op good luck.

Offred Sun 23-Feb-14 12:51:16

Thanks guys. Wish you well ptf. Recovering from affairs is always difficult, but not impossible. I hope whatever happens you're happy in the end!

beachside Tue 25-Feb-14 23:08:19

In my experience it's not only about sex, it's about connecting. Relationships can lose their spark, their joy, for a variety of reasons, tiredness from kids, pressure of work, money worries, or just simply boredom.

So then when one partner has been grumbled at, after a long hard day at work, ''you never help me wash the car, hoover the lawn, cut the carpet, water the kids - whatever' then the idea of sex drops off the radar a bit.

Then there's the slobby, but oh so wonderfully comfy and relaxing after a busy day, trackies, the not bothering to shave ones legs (or chin), well, it's Wednesday and nothing ever happens on a Wednesday does it> Oh look Dancing with the Stars is on...

And gradually, one, or both partners begin to feel less cared for, less wanted, less desired, and before you know it, that new guy at work, well, he really did smile at me just then, did't he? Or that girl who works at the newsagent, she's always saying Hello in a special way - isn't she?

Thats how affairs start. A simple smile. The idea of someone being interested in you, not just for cooking / cleaning / paying the bills / fixing the leaking toilet / earning a wage / whatever, but you as a person.

And as for Phal declaring men can control themselves but women are sexual beings - wtf?? Pfffttt!

And Scarlett claiming he gave himself permission to have an affair, they should go back further and investigate - WHY did he grant himself permission, was it because he felt a disconnect?

It all goes back to basics - talk. Communicate. You both nee to put effort in. Work at your relationship. Develop tolerance. Find a middle ground. Have date nights. Remember why you fell in love in the first place.

ormirian Thu 27-Feb-14 14:25:11

No sex is a symptom of something else more important. Finding and fixing that is the priority. You were both responsible for the failure to do that. But I know how it can be....life gets in the way, tiredness and stress take their toll and people can fail to realise how important it is to keep in touch emotionally and sensually with each other while the world carries on turning around them.

He had an affair because he wanted to. That is it. Full stop. It wasn't carelessness or an accident, he made deliberate decisions to do something fundamentally damaging and selfish.

I am glad he isn't blaming you. Your friend is a simplistic fool.

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