Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

living in an almost sexless marriage...9 yrs

(88 Posts)
Nienna Sat 17-Jul-10 10:32:01

Hello. I grew up thinking girls were the ones who could go off sex, or not really want it, nothing in my life prepared me for a man who prefers top watch tv in the evenings after our DC is in bed, to watch tv until midnight. or to read books, or to do work out. you name it. anything but get intimate with me, whom he suppossedly loves.
he was a virgin when we got together. a 30 year old virgin in these day and time. but we had a lot in common and i have been in so many wrong relationships i thought i found mr right.
He was always not so much into sex, but he was curious so although it was infrequent I thought that would change...we always think we change a man at the start of a relationship. I was so wrong.
he is a great friend, and very supportive, kind person. he just doesnt have interest in sex. when he got me pregnant that was a miracle, that he felt horny that day and came on to me like for the first time that year (s) without me having to arrange it. I had a hangover, so I was not driving it or asking for it as it is almost always the case.
it was very infrequent before our DC, now is RARE or not there. by infrequent I mean with luck once a month. twice a month would be a miracle. now it's twice a year on predictable days like valentines, or my bday.and also because i have ranted and argued about how neglected I feel and how it's bringing me down big time. And of course it's always me making him remember the "date" and dressing up like a slut (if I dont he doesnt get aroused at all) and setting the scene and rushing things at uni to be home, do the chores, set the mood, do the dinner and do everytihng in my power so that he doesnt feel stressed out or too tired ...either all that from me or it doesnt happen.

He has a LOT of porn mags and vids. a lot of books on sex and sexual techniques, to please a woman etc. you would think his sexual prowess is amazing. It's not. it's the most boring, lame sex in the world. No books can replace experience. and he doesnt really know how to kiss. he is half blind so he is always groping if we are in the dark, and sometimes is totLLy unflattering and a turn off...and worst of all, he has very little or zero passion. he gets tired after 5 or 10 mins....our meagre sex sessions are boring, awkward and all I end up doing is performing to satisfy my hunger for affection and closeness in my heart and try to help him feel like he is good at it to encourage him to try it more often. I am not that cruel to tell him how much he sucks at it. it would break him.

I have tried to get him to see a dr, he doesnt follow it up, after it takes me breaking down and verbally abusing him to make hiim realise this is not me over reacting, that he has a sex problem and that intimacy is what makes a couple. He doesnt thnk is that important. He could quite happily go without. I feel like I am living with a roomie. a flatmate. a good friend for whom i would do anything. everytime people remind me i am "married" or that he is my "husband" I cringe internally and feel like screaming and shouting IT'S ALL ONLY IN PAPER!!

he is agreat father, kind and patient, he works hard for us, i am finishing a degree and he supports me all the way. he never bothers me with anything. but hates it when i have a complaint about how he handles something. even if i put it nicely, at the right time,like he has asked me to, with kind words and no aggressive body language, even so, he does not like complaints. he is disabled, and i think his parents tried to never bother him with anything and let him be, to the point that he grew up very isolated, withdrawn and was bullied at school lots bec of being disabled. he has achieved a lot in life, and there isnt anyone i would rather live with, but the lack of intimacy has killed my love for him as a man, all i can love in him is the kind father, the great friend and the admirable human being. I have never cheated on him, although I have been sooo tempted. I flirt like crazy because it's the only way i can feel liked and get some form of male attention. my self esteem in shattered and i feel so lonely. I cant see a way out and the strain this is having on me is beggining to show a lot.
if i cheat on him it will hurt so much, i want it desperatley, maybe i could hire an escort? would that be cheating too? i have tried self gratification, but a toy is no substitute for the love of your husband. husbands are supposed to want to sleep with you, hwy did i end up with a guy like this?

please forgive me for the long rant. first time i ever plucked courage to talk about this online. what can i do? he wont do counselling, he said he wont talk about his private things to a stranger. he has no close friends, and he isnt close to his family. i am his only true friend, i feel i am in an impossible position. if he knew i have told my closest grilfriends, he would die of shame. but without their caring, sound advice i would have strayed a long time ago.. they help me keep my sanity. on top of everything i have to deal with, there is this underlying my entire emotional map.

Please help me. I am in tears and very upset and I do not know what to do. please help me.

Sorry for the very long message. Would love the opinion of a man on this. Thanks for your time.

ineedabodytransplant Sat 17-Jul-10 17:51:08

Nienna, I am so sorry for you. I have been married for 34 years and my OH 'went off sex' 8 years ago.....

Me personally, feel so blooming horny everyday that it actually hurts now...wink

Unfortunately, I made my wedding vows and feel compelled to adhere to them. Others on here will post that I am a total t**t.

Anyway, is there anyway your OH may have..ahem 'other' tendencies?

expatinscotland Sat 17-Jul-10 17:57:44

This guy sounds like he is asexual.

You have several choices: open up to him and tell him you are going to seek satisfaction elsewhere; don't tell him you are going to seek satisfaction elsewhere and still do it; walk, or put up with how things are.

My mother has two friends who are/were in sexless marriages because the man didn't want sex.

Both had/have long-term lovers whose wives had gone off sex. One has had many flings as she worked away on business quite a bit.

If their respective partners knew about it, they never let on to anyone else.

wannaBe Sat 17-Jul-10 18:10:04

I'm going to be blunt - why did you get together with him in the first place? Did you fall in love or did you feel some sympathy/admiration for him because he has a disability?

I ask because you've made reference to his being disabled at at least two points in your post.

I don't know the nature of your dh's disabilities (although being half blind should not make a difference IMO, speaking from experience). But his being disabled should not impact on how you feel/act/move forward.

At the end of the day we are human beings with different emotions and needs. If the person in your life does not fulfill those needs then you have a right to stand up against that and decide to move on if that's what is best for you.

You need to have a serious talk about where your future lies. Because if you are unhappy now things will not get better.

Tell him honestly how you feel. Tell him that his rejection of you is killing the feelings you have for him. Tell him you can't stay in this relationship indefinitely, and then give him a chance to tell you honestly how he feels - this is not one-sided, he has feelings too, and if there is a reason why he is not sexually active then I would give him an opportunity to talk about that.

His disability is irelevant here unless you knew from the outset that his disability would cause him problems wrt intimacy. But if there are no such issues then you should not feel obliged to him because of his disability.

wannaBe Sat 17-Jul-10 18:11:54

and what expat said.

GeekOfTheWeek Sat 17-Jul-10 18:14:44

Op I am sad for you.

Some will say sex is unimportant but imo it isn't. Far from it, especially if your needs are left un-met.

Tbh to me it sounds like you have a friendship not a marriage.

Is it possible he prefers men? Could the porn be a smokescreen?

Am really sorry op but you sound so unhappy and i, personally, couldn't stay in a relationship that made me feel like that.

expatinscotland Sat 17-Jul-10 18:26:08

I agree his disability is irrelevant. I went out with a climber who was a paraplegic and believe you me, once a month would not have satisfied him .

londonartemis Sat 17-Jul-10 21:04:16

NIenna - You have my sympathy...I recognise a great deal of your husband in mine, and after last DS birth went five years without sex. In the end, I had to say something to him about it. He was relieved that I had brought the subject up. I then went to Relate on my own which was very helpful. We are slowly getting some of the physical back. He is a good dad, so I am reluctant to bring the set up to an end. However, I know that if I didn't have children I would have moved on because my sexual frustration thing is too much to have to cope with. I have posted before about an emotional affair I am having with OM who does not live nearby which is very good for self esteem. I don't know where it is going, but it helps me and certainly helps him. So, my advice is :
Speak to him
Go to Relate
Boost your self esteem (although other MNs will disapprove of the way I am doing it)

Nienna Sat 17-Jul-10 21:30:22

thank you all so much. Your anwswers have helped me to organise the thoughts in my head.

Why did I start with him? because I had no idea about his sex problems. Because besides that he embodies everything I wanted in a man, because his looks are amazing, because he is kind, sensitive and caring. Because he is loyal and never gets angry. Because he is an amazing human being. We have a lot in common, and our relationship didnt start with a sexual bang, it was more two kindred spirits meeting. He wasnt in a hurry to bed me, I thought that was cute. I had not been in that many relationships to worry that my herald the onset of lack of sex. I guess I was very naive, I just thought things would get better and gave him a chance, over and over again.

We have already talked about this,m every year, a heart to heart, at least once a a year. He said he is not into men, he knows that is not a problem to me, and that I would understand if that is what makes him happy. He knows the depth of my other kinds of love for him, and knows I would help him be with a man, if that made him happy and me free to seek love elsewhere. But it is not the case.

He told me he finds sex a bit uninteresting, kind of overrated, that the orgasms are so brief, such a little moment, that all the exertions untowards seem to him pointless. So I think he either has low testosterone, or is asexual. I have never taken the physiological route so that will be my next tack. He gets tired in the middle of it, you can tell he just wants to sleep or read a book or just, be left alone, as he did his manly bit. Time off now.

I do not know if his disability has any influence here. He is deaf and partially blind, i think it's called Usher's Syndrome. It did make him introverted at school and because he was bullied so much he builds walls around himself every time he is being put under pressure. I guess that's how he feels when I rant or look miserable.
He is progreeively losing his sight, and may end up blind at some point, maybe before his 60. It's a lottery. And I cant leave him, I cant. It would kill me to leave him alone, I just cant abandon him. This is his only problem, other than that, he is a lovely human being. I made my vows, and I am not going to leave him. I just wish I could find a solution, a compromise.

Londonartemis, thanks for sharing your experience. I have heard about Relate and the thought of going alone angered me so much. Now I see it could help. Therefore I will go, somehow amidst all this chaos, I will find time to go. I do flirt with men to boost my almost non-existent self esteem. Many people dissaprove of it, because I chicken out when it starts to get a bit serious and I know one day it's going to get me in trouble. I never planned to flirt or cheat, all I wanted was a husband that would show me his love in the usual way. I guess I have to decide if I am not leaving him, if I should tell him I will find gratificiation elsewhere, or keep it quiet. It hurts so bad, I only ever wanted him, not any other man.

If he is asexual, what to do?

Nienna Sat 17-Jul-10 21:38:48

Ditto, he is a great father. If we did not have children, I would have left him earlier on. Or forced him to confront him in a stronger.

Nienna Sat 17-Jul-10 21:40:09

sorry, my pc froze, meant to say, or force him to confront it him in a stronger way. Like separating, etc

expatinscotland Sat 17-Jul-10 21:43:03

'If he is asexual, what to do?'

You live with it or you seek satisfaction elsewhere.

Nienna Sat 17-Jul-10 22:01:59

Why are there people like this? it looks as if all my choices are sad ones.
Thanks expat, everybody, for your kind words and advice. Anybody here male? I would love to hear a gentleman's take on this, if only for the sake of hearing another man out.

Thanks you all.

richardx Sun 18-Jul-10 00:29:29

Hi Nienna,

If you Google 'sexless marriage' you will be given links to 'The Experience Project' which has a group of over 10,000 people who are in a sexless marriage. You can browse all the stories and gain an immense amount of insight into sexless marriages. You can join for free in a few minutes and submit your own story which will be answered by lots of members.

It may surprise you to see that about half of the posters are indeed women who are being starved of sex and intimacy and are living in their own tactile deprived hell. This has a really major effect on their marital well being which they vocalize vociferously. You will find an immense amount of support and empathy from this support group.

All good wishes,


BitOfFun Sun 18-Jul-10 00:53:27

Forgive me if this is an intrusive question, but can you say more about the porn? Do you think he has it to put up a front or convince himself, or does he actually masturbate?

ItsGraceActually Sun 18-Jul-10 02:24:57

Nienna, I've read your posts carefully and I don't think I like your H very much. This isn't do with his asexuality or his disability; it's about the way he criticises you for the way you criticise him confused

In short, he won't tolerate criticism (so always gets his own way?) The other thing that bothers me is that you're describing a total absence of affection & affirmation in your marriage - this is why you flirt, yes?

He seems to be inflicting a form of sensory deprivation on you. Your opinions are unwelcome, even when you deliver them in the exact way he's specified. You get no physical affection. You're starved of positive feedback. I'm not surprised you feel frustrated & miserable.

I'm having a day off from being a Mumsnet Harridan wink and, in any case, I'm not convinced I'd call 'abuse' here. Yours does, however, look like rather a life-sapping marriage. Since he refuses to be criticised, rejects counselling and generally goes about things in his own weird way with little thought for your feelings, I don't know how you'd go about improving your life. But I do feel you should look into it, otherwise you'll end up one of those horrid old women whose faces are set in a scowl ...

Basically, I think this is about far more than sex, so I'd like to draw your thread out into a wider frame.

ineedabodytransplant Sun 18-Jul-10 10:16:48


sorry I didn't make it clear in my reply to your OP. I am male.

SolidGoldBrass Sun 18-Jul-10 10:42:37

Asexuals quite often use porn and masturbate - what they have no interest in is sex with a partner. You might find some useful stuff here OP.
Basically your options are as follows - you either resign yourself to a life of celibacy, you tell him (not ask his permission, tell him) that you are going to be seeking sex elsewhere, or you end the marriage.
Because asking him to change or go for counselling is not working, is it? The option of finding a way to make him turn into a sexually passionate lover is not available therefore you have to pick another one.

marantha Sun 18-Jul-10 11:13:00

Nienna, All the "someone must be to blame"/quickness to shout, "abuser" that seems to take place a lot on this site doesn't seem to apply here. In fact, it would be totally out of place and wrong.
It's not your husband's fault that he isn't interested in sex, nor is it yours. It's just an unfortunate situation.
I don't know the answer- although SolidGoldBrass does give you the choices in black-and-white- but, please, don't get drawn into the blame game.

expatinscotland Sun 18-Jul-10 11:55:16

I don't think there is any blame to be assigned here.

And, even from your OP (and my first response) it would best appear your husband is asexual.

A friend of mine is married to an asexual man. They married for love and to have children.

But he knows she seeks sex elsewhere.

Nienna Sun 18-Jul-10 12:42:35

I am so glad I posted this here. Thank you.
It is hard to criticise him, but I must admit I am the temperamental type, and in the past I didnt always put it in a nice way for him, so he began to always raise the walls, without checking if I was doing it the right way or not. When that happens, I explode, literally, I am latinamerican and I am not used to this, and I always end up in a shivering heap of tears and frustration,my self esteem in shatters (it has never been high at all) and I apologise for the shouting, and he always forgives me and we always make up.
I have reached the conclusion I am not the right person for him. He needs a quiet, sweet wife who will bear with him without disturbing his otherwise peaceful existance. Who will put things to him in a nice, collected way, at the right moment, when he is in a receptive mood. I cant do that, my life is so stressful, we are always so busy there is never time to talk. Never. In the evenings he is shattered and me too, so he doesnt want to discuss sex problems, he wasnts a cuppa and he wants to be left alone.
He doesnt think it's such a big deal. So I make him the cuppa and leave him alone to go and cry bitter tears. If it is a day I am desperate for contact with him, more often than not he will push my hands away and say , sorry I am tired, another time? he has even acussed me of plotting to have sex with him in the past. Do you get it? acussed of plotting to get him tipsy in order to sleep with him. Evil wife me. wow.
When he rejects me, then he would tense up seing me get incredibly angry and it would kick off from there. Shouting and arguments ensues. These are less frequent now because I dont bother much anymore. As a result of that I am going out of my mind with need for male affection and have been more friendly than usual with people I meet when going out with my friends, exhanging phone numbers and later texts, only with this one guy so far, whom I would normally would have never even looked at, but who makes me feel so happy when he looks at me with those big searching, deep mediterranean eyes. I shiver when he looks at me, Why cant it be my husband? he never flirts of give me any looks of any kind because of his eyes problem. That is so sad.

But going back to the dynamics, he would NEVER shout at anybody, even when he is right to get mad at them, he will always be calm and logical, notihng can take his cool away. He has been my rock in many , many traumatic moments, he helped me through post natal depression, he sacrificed himself for me in so many ways. He just does not feel compelled to sex with me or anyone else, and that kills everything else he has done for me. I cant live without a lover. I was adopted as a child and my foster family never really loved me, my mum died of cancer when i was 6 and my father didnt want me, so I have had to fight for affection from the day I was born. I always thought if I am a good girl, and work hard, and make someone of myself, life will reward me with a great man, who will love me and will let me love him the way I know and will be loyal to me and me to him. My husband ticks all the boxes, except the intimacy part. That is why I am so reluctant to end it.
He does not abuse me. If you saw how I shout you would think I am the abuser. It's just been so long. I did think he withheld intimacy as a form of punishment for being such an assertive kick ass woman, but although I can soothe my manners to live amongst the lovely people in this country, I cant change a whole life time of experiences. I asked him this and he said no, it's not that. I put him off when I am too assertive but he says I can be the sweetest girl most of the times, and that he knows this and holds onto this. SO it's nolt that.
I cant not be passionate as I am, to love until it hurts, to be loud and expressive, it is this precisely that which drew him to me. And I love the fact that he is shy and dependable and sweet and caring. Our CD adores him. Their relationship is beautiful , as it's mine with our DC.
Last argument, 2 months ago, I made him promise me he would see a counsellor with me after I finished my degree and we had a bit less stress going on. That is next year, he grudingly agreed to it, but I want to hope he will come along. I will try Relate, I have never tried that. And I will also rule out anemia and other conditions that might sap a man's testosterone. If after doing all that we find out it's all to no avail, I will have to find myself somebody.
It will break my vows, but at least it wont break me or the family.

expatinscotland Sun 18-Jul-10 12:48:41

Well, if your vows were to love, honour and cherish, and he is asexual and you tell him you will seek what you need elsewhere, how is it breaking your vows?

'L', my pal, is a very passionate woman who loves asexual 'T' very much.

He loves her, too.

He's just not interested in sex with a person.

At present, she has two lovers, one man and one woman.

Works for them!

As long as everyone honest about it.

OrmRenewed Sun 18-Jul-10 12:53:07

nienna - I suspect I am veering towards the asexual. I could very happily not bother agai. I do because I love my DH and it is important to him. The one thing I would say is that there have been times when we havent reached a balanced state regarding sex - he wants more and I want less. At such times it began to feel as if DH only touched me in order to initiate sex - and that made me tense and unhappy. Is there any chance that that is the situation with you two? I know that wouldn't help with the sex issue but it might shed light on the fact that he seems to avoid any intimacy at all. Would it help if you were able to be physically close and tender together even without sexual intercourse?

Nienna Sun 18-Jul-10 12:54:12

Bitoffun, yes he masturbates. I can say he is a pro at it. He even buys these books about multiple orgasms and how as a man to control your eyaculation in order to have a better experience. It's like a tantra kind of book, but , sigh...he practices them alone. Because he wants to show me what he has been learning. I can just picture the disbelief in your faces. Try to imagine how I feel.
About the Porn: it's all girls, heterosexual, non gay porn. Big boobs, etc you know the score. Perfect bodies. I even thought it was because I am dark skinned and not white and a bit chubby and not svelte and with them long legs that he did not feel aroused unless I dressed with the things they wear. I know I look good in these outfits but I cannotm, will not, always dress up for this. I am not that ugly and I hoped he would love me as I am. He said to me I have the same issues because I love it when he wears perfume. I said to him that wearing perfume was not a requisite to get me in the mood, whereas me dressing up sexy was. No answer to that.
Something that worries me is that he does not seem to get morning glories anymore, for the last few years. It must be since our DC was born. And he looks very shattered most of the time.
I would like to thank the gentlemen who have replied to my post. This is the first time I dare to tell a man and I was terrified of the outcome. I felt I was letting him down by doing this, but I needed to know the other side of it.
Thanks to the ladies for their sympathy and for taking time to give me some advice.

Nienna Sun 18-Jul-10 13:00:32

OrmRenewed,you got a very valid point. But I cant only touch him for sex, as I am a hug monster, I am the most tactile, huggy kissy person you will ever meet in the UK, because latinos are very into touch to communicate.

He loves cuddles, and pecks, and holding hands, and he gets all of that from me. We can only have intimacy if the baby is in bed and we are alone. so when I want to try it, my touches are more intimate, without a hint he would know what I am going for. That is when he gets sad and tense. And on a good day I just feel bad and sad but stay with him watching tv. On a bad day, I storm out and cry.
I am sure your husband loves you dearly, as I do mine. Would it not break you if he had a lover if only not to pester you with his needs? How would that make you feel? I dont want to hurt him, I love him so much.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: