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To think you can’t have it both ways regarding sex?

(225 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

GinDaddy Mon 06-Aug-18 14:48:59

(Before anyone starts with the obvious gag, I don’t mean sexual practices...wink)

A few friends of mine (M and F) were this weekend chatting about loss of sexual interest in a long term partner, and what causes this to happen.

It made me think of numerous convos and threads both on MN and elsewhere where people have said “I can’t stand the idea of sex anymore, I’d much rather watch a box set and have a biscuit” etc, or “Who wants all that huffing and puffing, I won’t let DH anyway near me” etc

Yet there are also plenty of threads and common discussions out there bemoaning and slating people (often men) for moving on from a long term relationship due to a lack of physical love or sex.

AIBU to think the two are connected?

Am I being unreasonable to wonder whether the people who prefer to have a biscuit, cuppa and soap, are also unrealistic to that their partner may want exactly the same? And therefore don’t really have the right to sound off in a blinkered fashion if the inevitable happens?

Relationship betrayal and cheating is wrong. 100%. However if someone basically says “I’m done with physical love, and I’m not going to ask you whether you feel the same”, AIBU to think this places some relationships into potential risk?


1) This clearly does not apply to couples where one partner has suffered serious mental or physical illness. Or where both have tacitly or otherwise agreed to a non-physical relationship

2) I understand raising children can be a huge contributing factor to loss of desire for some, but that’s not for everyone

3) this is not my situation, so I’m not going to either add personal anecdote or take personal abuse smile

HarrietKettleWasHere Mon 06-Aug-18 14:53:30

But if you don't want sex, or have no desire for sex, what is the answer- just have it anyway? Let it happen to you whilst accepting you don't enjoy it, or want it? Because it gets a bit murkey in terms of consent then really, doesn't it?

Frosty6611 Mon 06-Aug-18 14:54:24

I get what you’re saying and I do kind of agree. I think it’s only ok to completely cut out intimacy forever if there is a good reason (illness etc) or if both parties are 100% on the same page with not wanting it anymore.
If only one party wants to give it up and the other doesn’t (and there isn’t a reason like illness getting in the way) then I think it’s really shit of the one who doesn’t want it to expect the other to be celibate too.

Sirzy Mon 06-Aug-18 14:55:05

Surely the issue is lack of communication?

Frosty6611 Mon 06-Aug-18 14:55:33

@Harriet if that’s the case for someone then they shouldn’t be in a long term relationship with someone who DOES want sex. Best to find someone who is on the same page and isn’t interested in it

annandale Mon 06-Aug-18 14:55:41

I agree that unilaterally withdrawing sex permanently from a relationship is a major breach in it, and I don't personally think badly of anyone who leaves a relationship for that reason.

But I don't recognise your picture of mn. Overwhelmingly the threads I have read are about frequency. Monthly or bimonthly sex - is it enough? Or unenthusiastic sex - a recent thread I got far too invested in was from a man who was having sex with his wife three times a week but she was very passive and he found this unsatisfying?

araiwa Mon 06-Aug-18 14:57:56

Its no real surprise that if you dont have sex with your partner, eventually, they will leave you or cheat

paap1975 Mon 06-Aug-18 14:59:09

I'm with OP here. Can you expect someone to stay faithful to you if you deny them sex for years? How long is acceptable? Did you let your partner know now to expect sex after children came along?

I agree it's very complex. I would never want to have non-consentual sex, but I do sometimes have sex when I don't really fancy it. Why? Because I know it is important to DH, because it builds intimacy, because I do actually enjoy it once I get going...

Frosty6611 Mon 06-Aug-18 14:59:53

I had a friend who decided she didn’t want sex anymore with her partner when they were 26 years old. She didn’t have any real reason for it, she just couldn’t be bothered. She fully expected him to still remain faithful and to be celibate for the remainder of his life. He’s happily married to someone else now

Pengggwn Mon 06-Aug-18 15:01:33

You can decline sex when you wish and for whatever reason you wish.
Obviously you cannot expect another person to feel the same way as you do about that decision.

ConkerGame Mon 06-Aug-18 15:01:35

I sometimes do it when I don’t really fancy it because I love DP and want to ensure that we keep that physical intimacy and I also want him to be happy. I always find I get into it. So (Assuming no illness or abuse etc), I do think the person who’s not into it should at least try.

If I was the one who wanted it more often and the other person wouldn’t agree to that then I would firstly ask if they minded me getting it elsewhere. If they did then I would eventually probably leave. It’s not fair to expect someone to give up their sex life forever if they don’t want to.

ElspethFlashman Mon 06-Aug-18 15:03:04

I have seen threads which raise my eyebrows a bit. "DH is leaving me! He says he has feelings for someone else! 25 years! How could he do this to me!"

And later it slips out they haven't had sex in years and I'm there thinking this may be pertinent to the situation, but I'd never dare mention it and nobody else does either!

redannie118 Mon 06-Aug-18 15:03:18

My ex Dh never wanted sex. If we did have it it was so clearly under duress i always stopped. We were only 18 when we got together. I cried, begged pleaded for him to talk to me or get some medical help- he flat refused. We were together 20 yrs and he was very EA and i firmly believe this was another form of abuse, he would say no to me then masturbate in bed next to me. He also had a porn habit and later a string of affairs. It nearly destroyed me and was the main reason i began an affair of my own. I NEVER felt guilty and my OM and i have now been very happily married for 6 years. As someone who has cheated and been cheated on- its very rarely black and white

Love51 Mon 06-Aug-18 15:07:58

This is all about communication. If you are married for decades you are going to go through peaks and troughs, and if it is a decent marriage you have patience with each other. You also work through issues even slightly awkward / uncomfortable ones. There can be quantity issues, quality issues, timing issues, health issues. I've still got menopause issues to look forward to! It is how you deal with it that matters.

SnarkyGorgon Mon 06-Aug-18 15:08:39

There's a huge amount of double think around this. On one hand, sex is so meaningless and unimportant that you can reasonably expect your partner to forego it for the rest of their lives. Whilst on the other, it's such a huge and important thing that should your partner have sex with someone else, it's grounds to break up a marriage and potentially a family.

user1493413286 Mon 06-Aug-18 15:12:14

I’m kind of with you; I think if you decide you don’t want sex any more when your partner does you can’t expect to have a long and happy relationship; I don’t think that makes cheating ok but I do think it explains the breakdown of some marriages. I wouldn’t expect anyone to have sex if they don’t want to but I do think it’s important to not let life get in the way too much; for us it’s not loss of desire with having kids but more tiredness and lack of time but we both try and put effort into it.

ElspethFlashman Mon 06-Aug-18 15:17:08

I remember one thread where they hadn't had sex in 6 years! That one went on for about 3 more threads, all seething about what a bastard he was. (He wasn't, really. He just made the mistake of having an exit affair)

StormTreader Mon 06-Aug-18 15:19:09

No-one ever has to have sex when they dont want it, and a partner trying to manipulate and coerce it is wrong.
Noone ever has to stay in a relationship where its fundamentally not making them happy and meeting their basic needs. "I'm not happy" is a valid reason for ending a relationship.

Relationships are compromise and finding a middle ground that works for everyone. Someone can decide they are never going to have sex again, but they must also accept that that may have the consequence of their partner ending things because of it - everyone has the freedom to choose for themselves.

MyDcAreMarvel Mon 06-Aug-18 15:21:09

*But if you don't want sex, or have no desire for sex, what is the answer- just have it anyway? Let it happen to you whilst accepting you don't enjoy it, or want it?*
Yes, if it’s your spouse, unless you are ill either physically or mentally. It’s not acceptable to deny sex for long periods. Obviously extreme tiredness , having recently given birth are in the same category as illness.

IDontEatFriedTurtle Mon 06-Aug-18 15:23:44

I think usually the "I'd rather have a biscuit" comments are tongue in cheek and the result of being an exhausted parent (as most are on MN).

Sometimes I hear some women talk about sex online and I realise they've never had good sex and sex has literally been being humped until the man came and went to sleep.

Very much lay back an think of england.

IN those circumstances I think not being interested in sex is the obvious outcome and the man only has himself to blame.

You also have women who are doing literally everything after a baby or children and have some guy pawing on them while they still have a baby hanging off their tit.

Again. I see where they are coming from.

However, all things being equal if one partner is just basically asexual, I do think they owe it to any potential partners to be honest from the start. They should either be happy with their partner going elsewhere for sex or be looking at other A sexual people.

IDontEatFriedTurtle Mon 06-Aug-18 15:26:03

mydcaremarvel would you enjoy sex with a partner cringing while fucking you? I wouldn't. ANy man who could keep an erection while shagging an willing woman is a rapist and not someone Id want near me or my kids.

IDontEatFriedTurtle Mon 06-Aug-18 15:26:52


Coolcool Mon 06-Aug-18 15:28:21

Ive never heard a man say he would rather have a cup of tea. On the other hand according to threads on here and in a few couples I know in real life, it is the man that is not interested in sex for whatever reason. I think it’s quite common.

Maybe some couples reach the stage where they would both prefer a cup of tea in which case everyone is happy.

Everyoneiswingingit Mon 06-Aug-18 15:29:39

I have a friend un this situation. She really doesn't enjoy sex. She has given her DH permission to seek sex without strings which he does. They seem very happy.

Everyoneiswingingit Mon 06-Aug-18 15:31:07

I agree Idon't sounds worrying.

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