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To be sad and angry about being in a sexless (but otherwise happy) marriage?

(127 Posts)
UtterlyCrushed Wed 22-Apr-15 13:50:53

Background:
I've name changed but I'm a regular (pan pipe elf, sad weebl pillowcase, lemon drizzle cake).

We're both 32. We've been together for six years, married for three. We have a lovely one year old baby, he works in the city and I did but am now a SAHM. He is kind, sweet, my best friend and perfect for me in every way but one: we never have sex. I want to, he doesn't. God, even writing that makes my tummy churn.

To be honest our sex life has always been lacking. Even when we first met, I knew I wanted to marry him but I always wrote off the fact that he was never interested in sex as being down to us being too busy / stressed etc. We had sex on average every two to three weeks for the first year or so and it rapidly dwindled to once a month and then once every couple of months.

At the time of writing, we've had full sex twice in the last twelve months. Both times I initiated it. Before we got married we did discuss it once or twice. He always assured me that he found me attractive but said that he just had a low sex drive overall. The day (about a year in) that I accidentally found a porn image of two naked women on his phone I nearly ended the relationship. Not because I'm anti-porn but because I was crushed that he was obviously masturbating whilst I lay rejected and lonely in the bed we shared. He maintained that he had no idea how it had gotten onto his phone and I felt utterly devastated that this man that I loved and desired was lying to me. He obviously had an interest in sex, just not in sex with me.

I do believe he loves me, we have so much fun together, we have a great family life (he's a marvellous father and romantic, generous and attentive husband) but the complete absence of sex is beginning to take over. We discussed it before our wedding. I was very candid about not wanting a sexless marriage and said we should wait until it was resolved. He told me it was down to stress and it got better for a short while but then reverted to type. I don't even remember having sex more than once on our honeymoon! We discussed it again a few months ago and he said he'd see a doctor to see if it was anything physical (which I doubt as he still masturbates). But he hasn't done anything about it at all. Last night we were watching a show where a happily married couple were flirting (which led to sex) and I suddenly couldn't bear it.

Discussing it is humiliating because it basically feels like I'm begging him to want to touch me. He says he isn't having an affair / addicted to porn / seeing hookers / gay and I want to believe him but can't. That is, I do believe he isn't cheating on me but I'm assuming it's probably porn. And then he looks at me with sad eyes and says how much he hates to make me miserable. I know it upsets him that I'm unhappy. But I feel like he's apologising for not wanting sex with me which loops us back to humiliation. Somehow the fact that he insists he fancies me and that it's all circumstantial makes it all worse. Surely there must be something wrong, and I'm assuming that something is me? Why won't he talk about it? I've told him that it makes it worse for him to pretend it's not caused by anything but he insists nothing is wrong. Or am I totally wrong, is it possible that he genuinely isn't bothered about sex. He says he masturbates in the shower, not to porn, about once every six weeks.

The humiliation of being repeatedly rejected by a man I adore, for years on end, is something I've stifled for a long time. The fact that we're more like housemates than a married couple breaks my heart. I miss the intimacy that I know can come from a healthy and happy sex life and the thrill of being naughty with someone I love. It's starting to be awkward when we see people on TV having sex. And I miss being desired. When we got together, I was told I was "girl next door" pretty, I was slim and fit and took a great deal of pride in my appearance and men used to flirt with me all the time. But over the last two years I've put weight on which has made me even more depressed. He is sad to be making me unhappy but he is happy with the amount of sex we have.

The weirdest thing is that if it was medical (if for example, chemo made him impotent), it wouldn't matter in the least. It's the fact that he masturbates rather than having sex with me that breaks my heart.

So judge me. Everything else is perfect: I cannot contemplate ever being happy without him in my life because he is my heart and my best friend, I love him more than anything and we have what appears to be a charmed life so I suspect I'll be flamed for making a fuss about this. AIBU to be increasingly unhappy with this sexless situation? What do I do?

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DoraGora Wed 22-Apr-15 13:57:21

Why not look for some sex counselling literature, with a view to getting some recommendations and visiting a sex therapist, perhaps alone at first and then, maybe, after some persuasion, as a couple.

waffilyversati1e Wed 22-Apr-15 13:57:54

Can I call SNAP?

We have been together for 13 years, married for 3. Got an 8mnth old and have had sex twice since I found out I was pregnant (and had sex only twice in the year leading up to that!)

It doesn't bother me as much as it sounds like it bothers you but that's because I know I have put a lot of weight on and to be honest I don't feel at all sexy (he would never dream of calling me out on this - the desire to make myself more attractive is all me) what with breastfeeding and just life in general

I am losing weight to try and claw back some intimacy - could you do that?

UtterlyCrushed Wed 22-Apr-15 14:00:47

Waffily - yes, I could. I just feel it's pointless as I was slim and pretty for the first four years and the situation was the same then. I can't see why it would be different this time? I would probably be happier in myself, but this situation would still be the same...

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waffilyversati1e Wed 22-Apr-15 14:05:01

but you would be happier in yourself. Don't underestimate the importance of that x

TedAndLola Wed 22-Apr-15 14:05:30

I'm in the same situation but in my case, I'm the one with a non-existent sex drive. It's because of medication I'm on. Without the drugs I am an anxious mess, with them I have almost zero interest in sex. I know my husband feels like you do and it breaks my heart but what can I do? I can't force myself to want sex. I wouldn't be so sure that he's gay / having sex elsewhere. Some people really do have low sex drives, whether due to medication or naturally.

Would he be open to you having an open relationship? If my husband would agree to it I would have no problem with him having (safe) sex elsewhere.

TedAndLola Wed 22-Apr-15 14:06:50

Forgot to add - I find my husband very attractive and I wish he wouldn't take it as a rejection when I don't want sex. It's not him, it's entirely me.

Tanaqui Wed 22-Apr-15 14:08:30

Tbh if he only master bates once every 6 weeks he probably does have a v low sex drive. Many people masturbate every day as well as having a healthy sex life. Is he depressed/ diabetic/ on any meds?

HappenstanceMarmite Wed 22-Apr-15 14:14:51

TedandLola your situation is different from the OP because you have no sex drive at all. Whereas the OP stated:
It's the fact that he masturbates rather than having sex with me that breaks my heart
That is the deal breaker for me.

UtterlyCrushed Wed 22-Apr-15 14:17:45

He's not on medication and as far as I know he's not diabetic. And I don't want an open relationship - I've always been a very sexual person but it's strange, when I met him, it was like blinkers went on. I have no interest whatsoever in sex with anyone else. I love him - I just want him.

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TedAndLola Wed 22-Apr-15 14:19:15

TedandLola your situation is different from the OP because you have no sex drive at all. Whereas the OP stated:
It's the fact that he masturbates rather than having sex with me that breaks my heart
That is the deal breaker for me.

Every six weeks... which is about how often I feel like sex. I agree he should be having sex with the OP every six weeks rather than masturbating but is she going to be happy with sex nine-ish times a year rather than two? I don't think it's the bit to focus on because it's not going to solve the problem.

tumbletumble Wed 22-Apr-15 14:20:22

he masturbates rather than having sex with me

But only once every six weeks. I agree with Tanaqui it sounds like he just has a very low sex drive rather than having an affair / addicted to porn etc.

TedAndLola Wed 22-Apr-15 14:20:36

I love him - I just want him.

sad I wish you and us had matching sex drives, how good would life be! I don't think you're AT ALL unreasonable to be sad and angry about this. I don't think there is a solution though.

TedAndLola Wed 22-Apr-15 14:22:43

...that sounded really weird. I meant I wish you and your husband had matching, and me and mine. Hope that was obvious grin

Number3cometome Wed 22-Apr-15 14:25:54

OP I don't think your OH is having an affair or addicted to porn from what you have said.

My OH looks at porn, it doesn't bother me in the slightest, but would if he didn't seem interested in me - however, I wouldn't take it as a sign that he doesn't fancy you, it may just be at that particular time of his urge that you are not there? It could be a timing thing.

I have a friend who is in exactly the same situation as you, she has a young baby and her OH seems uninterested in sex with her, but is not having an affair (well I don't think he is) but absolutely worships the ground she walks on. After a long chat, it turns out he is terrified she will get pregnant again.

Could it be something that simple?

You have said his sex drive was never high which would indicated nothing has changed.

I do really feel for you, myself and OH have a healthy sex life and if he doesn't seem interested even for a few days it does really upset me and I feel rejected, so I cannot even begin to understand how bad it makes you feel.

I would certainly consider councelling of some form to try and figure out what the issue is (which sounds like comes from before you, and nothing to do with you)

squoosh Wed 22-Apr-15 14:53:33

I suspect I'll be flamed for making a fuss about this.

You are not making a fuss. You have normal human needs that are not being met. Yes you married him knowing he had a low sex drive but your attempts to address it pre wedding seem to have been fobbed off with the promise of things changing.

As he (probably) looks at porn on his phone it's clear he has a sex drive. Maybe actual sex intimidates him and fantasy is easier. Was he brought up in a religious household?

Quitelikely Wed 22-Apr-15 14:57:40

Could he get his testosterone levels checked out?

UtterlyCrushed Wed 22-Apr-15 15:04:16

You know, I was a bit nervous about posting this in aibu. But you're all so measured and kind, thank you!

Lola it would indeed help if we could swap sex drives!

In terms of his background, he comes from quite a cold, repressed family. Nice enough people, but his parents sleep in separate bedrooms. There's no trauma or abuse as far as I know and he's a kind and well-adjusted man. But maybe fantasy is easier? I don't know. He was single quite a lot in his twenties before I came along, maybe he just got used to it? But I'm so frustrated that nothing has changed. And I'm fully aware that it's ludicrous to envy TV characters their sex lives as they're fictional but that's what I feel - jealousy!

It's appallingly hurtful all the same. And we both want another child, though god knows how that's going to happen.

Part of me thinks that if this is the only problem in our marriage, that I should just deal with it. Because everything else is perfect. I promise I'm not looking at the situation with rose-tinted specs, it really is. And most of the time I repress my anger and hurt, but every so often something brings it to the surface...

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Pyjamaschocolateandwine Wed 22-Apr-15 15:04:31

So sorry op this must be very difficult for you.

You arnt making a fuss. I certainly couldn't live like this. No advice but a unmumsnetty hug. flowers

UtterlyCrushed Wed 22-Apr-15 15:06:40

It would actually be easier if I thought I could fancy other people you know. But I can't, and it's horrible, wanting someone so badly, and knowing they don't want you in that way. I just feel so rejected. The testosterone levels are an idea, I hadn't thought of that. But as a pp says, the fact that he masturbates indicates he does have desire...?

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ahbollocks Wed 22-Apr-15 15:07:32

I think he is telling you the truth OP.
Im similar to your dh, I have a normal sex drive but ONLY if I have 9 hours sleep, no money problems, nice lie ins, plenty of nights out etc etc.
The slighest bit of tiredness or stress and I just cant / dont want to.
Tbh I dont know if there is anything here that is wrong or that you can fix, sorry. I suppose it is just the same as some people not liking chocolate or not liking clubs or hiking etc etc.
Im healthy and young and dh is gorgeous and physically really attractive so its definitely not him.
I think you should see a marriage counsellor but not necessarily with a view to change him, because I dont think he can in the long term

fannyfanakapan Wed 22-Apr-15 15:10:08

I agree with quitelikely. Ask him to be checked out, as a low libido is associated with low testosterone. That in turn has some undesirable side effects unrelated to sex drive - like weight gain and thinning hair here.

Sell it to him as concern for overall health, and he may be prescribed something that will boost his sex drive as a side effect.

You can live like this, but its very hard and in the long term, will destroy your self confidence. It also erodes the trust between you and your DH.

ahbollocks Wed 22-Apr-15 15:12:18

Sorry that came off a bit cold! I just mean that yes you might have to accept it. He obviously loves you very dearly and vice versa

squoosh Wed 22-Apr-15 15:14:13

Is platonic love enough though? 32 is very young to be resigning oneself to a celibate life.

UtterlyCrushed Wed 22-Apr-15 15:20:13

Ahbollocks it wasn't cold, it was actually helpful. I don't know why I find that explanation to be the hardest to believe but I suppose it might be possible.

Fanny and squoosh, I will look into the testosterone thing, but as squoosh says, I'm not sure I'm willing to be celibate at 32. I'd even settle for infrequent sex, as long as it was with me, not him with his hand.

God I hate the way I sound. Whining, desperate. Like a spaniel following him around desperate for affection.

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