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We've stopped having sex and I could do with some advice

(37 Posts)
EllieG Mon 11-Jul-11 21:44:45

I love DH, but I don't want to have sex at the moment, and haven't for ages. I don't think I find him sexually attractive any more. I work long hours, have 2 kids, and am generally so tired, but we used to be able to fit it in, but recently.....nothing. And I don't even care. But he does, and that makes me sad. He is so lovely about it and would never ever want me to do anything I didn't want to, but he is a bit sad, I can tell. We've had a bit of a tough time relationship-wise recently and whilst I feel close and loving and caring about him again, the sexual feeling for him just seems to have gone.

I am a bit sad about it - I can't have a sexless marriage at 33, but neither can I bear to fake-it-til-you-make it just have sex to keep him happy (used to have to do that with ex, and it was horrible).

Might not be able to post back for a bit, but would welcome some advice. But not of the 'just shave it off and jump him' variety please, because I know how to have good sex, it used to be great. I just don't want any at all. Can you have a marriage like that? I don't think so. But I would never want to leave him. But he will not want to be like this for much longer.

EllieG Mon 11-Jul-11 21:48:06

Hmm. Possibly should have namechanged. Oh well.

buzzsore Mon 11-Jul-11 21:52:46

Maybe talk to your GP? There might be a health issue, or your form of contraception?

Are the issues in your marriage properly sorted out or are you holding onto some resentment that might be killing your libido?

Is there anyway you can get more downtime? Being exhausted is a sex-drive killer. Does he share housework and childcare? Could you get a cleaner/manage financially if you dropped some hours?

Lizzabadger Mon 11-Jul-11 21:57:11

What about trying Relate?

EllieG Mon 11-Jul-11 21:58:20

I guess I don't really feel that connected with him, though things are better than they were a couple of months ago. He does plenty round the house (though not as much as me, but nearly) and I changed jobs recently so although still very busy (I am main wage-earner) I am less manic and my hours are better. Recently we had a bad patch when all we were doing was arguing - not in a massive way, it was just like 2 bickering lodgers sharing a house. He is a kind and nice man but he does moan quite a lot about petty stuff and it gets me down a bit sometimes. I thought - surely there must be more to it than this? I'm sure I signed up for something better? And I pulled myself together and tried harder and sure enough we are getting on better. But the sex just ain't there. I don't want him in that way.

confidence Tue 12-Jul-11 00:38:15

What if you were to have a happy platonic relationship and tell him you don't mind him going out and getting sex elsewhere?

SimpleDad Tue 12-Jul-11 11:51:33

Please do not tell him he can have sex with other women! I talked about this kind of thing recently on another thread and men really do connect sex and love being one in the same. Telling him he can go and have sex with someone else is a huge rejection.

Have you discussed this with him as you have discussed it on here? I ask because that is the first step. It sounds to me like the pair of you need to re-connect again as a couple. Not as parents but as husband and wife. Your life sounds very similar to mine - young kids and both working. Very hard to make time for each other but it is so important. In fact I would say it is the most important thing in any family situation! No marriage/partnership - no family.

It's obvious from your writing that you love him dearly and want to find a solution, otherwise you wouldn't be looking for advice on here smile It's very easy to lay the blame at yourself in these situations and there may be an underlying reason why you feel no sexual attraction to him but this is something you have to deal with as a couple. Communication is huge here. I find it easier to talk to my wife (as my wife) when we are out of the home environment.

Don't get me wrong. A night down the pub with him is not going to fix everything and I found it took a while to get us both back on track. Also, once we knew what was going round both of our heads, our expectations of each other changed or were at least understood a bit better.

Please talk to him about it but not over kids bath time/veg time on sofa/ironing etc... Take time for each other (trying really hard not to sound too cliched here). Good luck. Let us know how you get on.

Apocalypto Tue 12-Jul-11 11:53:59

If he's just not interested, what's to discuss?

SimpleDad Tue 12-Jul-11 12:13:12

Maybe I got the wrong end of the stick. It sounds like to me he is interested and she has lost interest. But she also said "I can't have a sexless marriage at 33".

EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Tue 12-Jul-11 12:21:52

I do think that a lot of women consciously, or subconsciously, shut down their sexual side after a while. I think women do have a struggle to allow their sexual side to exist, due to social pressures, anxiety, feeling it's not 'nice' etc that women's sexual selves can be a bit delicate and fragile and easily scared. Therefore when other things take over (family, job, stresses, children) and go hand in hand with confidence loss (post baby bodies etc) it can just make the sexual side go into hibernation. It can take a bit of work to bring it out again but it can be done.

My advice - try to switch your sexual side back on by yourself not for, or necessarily with, DH. Buy a sex toy or two that's just for you. Buy some erotica. Spend some time getting to know yourself sexually again. The more you do it, the more you want it. Think about sex lots grin and sex will get back on your mind.

UnhappyLizzie Tue 12-Jul-11 13:30:16

I agree with Eric. You need to be careful, if you keep rejecting your partner he will lose confidence and stop trying. You won't initiate it, he won't dare to try and before you know it you'll be really stuck. Absolutely not saying that you should do it for the sake of it, or to please him. Just try to rediscover your sexual self as Eric suggests.

If this doesn't work counselling or sex therapy could help. It sounds like you love him. You need to fix it someway, or you will lose your relationship, not because he will play away but because you will get to a point where you can't fix it and there's no alternative.

TheRhubarb Tue 12-Jul-11 13:37:48

Hmm. Our relationship has been through patches like this.
My dh is lovely but he suffers from psoriasis which can be horrible to look at and very very unattractive. Plus we tend to get stuck in a rut so whilst he will always remain my best friend, I do find myself looking at his receding hairline, reddened face and psoriasis covered body and I shiver with repulsion at times.

What helped me and what may also help you is time out. He will go and do his own thing from time to time (he's going to a music festival at the end of Sept) and I can do mine.
Last year he went away to Turkey for a week and when he came back I was all over him. Then I went to Croatia with my best mate and the same thing happened.

Obv having a week away from each other may not be possible, but it does sound as though you've got stuck in a rut and rather than see him as your husband and lover you see him as your housemate and brother.

Can you arrange a weekend away with the girls on the promise that he can have time out with the boys? Trust me that once you've been away and had your confidence boosted it does make you feel sexier and you return with your libido back in place - for now!

TheRhubarb Tue 12-Jul-11 13:39:46

I think those saying he will cheat are being a bit insensitive. The problem is lack of confidence and a feeling of boredom and that is a joint problem, not just the OPs.

He needs reminding of how lucky he is whilst you need reminding that you are still a fully sexual and attractive woman. So get your glad rags on and start phoning your girlfriends x

EllieG Tue 12-Jul-11 21:32:17

Thank you for the responses. They are really thought-provoking for me, especially useful to get male perspective simpledad.

sorry confidence, I'm sure you meant it usefully, but telling DH to go get it elsewhere would destroy him utterly. He loves me and would feel horribly, completely, rejected if I did that.

I think there is something about connecting as a couple, or maybe just finding some space to make me feel like a sexual being again. I guess I don't feel very desirable at the moment - not because I've particularly let myself go or anything, but more because my needs are generally always on the back burner. I can try all this stuff I suppose, but I just hate the feeling of oh-god-I-have-to-have-sex ugh ugh don't want to don't fancy you. It's not fair is it? I would hate someone to feel that way about me. Maybe if we get on better though that will help.

EllieG Tue 12-Jul-11 21:44:13

Maybe I don't really love him. I kind of feel a bit detached if am honest. I like him. Generally I like him a lot. I just don't feel he is essential to me in the way I used to. Now I feel - well, family is important to the kids and I want them to be happy. I want to feel he is essential again.

So I'm on the computer and he's on playstation - that'll help won't it? hmm

We have a night out planned on sat at a friend's wedding - no kids, someone else putting the little one to bed so we can go out early (first time in 3 years!). He told me tonight how excited he is that we can go out and have fun and dance and spend time together. And I thought, how sweet, actually, so am I. And that surprised me. Maybe will be OK. It has to be really.

wotabouttheworkers Tue 12-Jul-11 21:51:31

Rhubarb, I suffer from psoriasis and, realising I would experience the kind of revulsion that you feel towards your DH, I am now celibate

SimpleDad Wed 13-Jul-11 09:38:33

Have a great time at the wedding Ellie - as was said on here earlier, get your glad rags on, spend a bit of time on yourself getting ready (you time)and let your hair down. Dance like a teenager with your DH - does wonders for the soul.

Just keep at - don't wait for another wedding to turn up to do this again.

TheRhubarb Wed 13-Jul-11 09:59:47

wotabout - sorry but I'm being honest. My dh has very severe psoriasis that covers his legs, lower arms, back, buttocks, hair and occasionally face. It is me who sweeps up his skin dandruff from the floor and chairs, me who changes the sheets because he's bled on them, me who tries to pull bits of skin out of his hair before we go out anywhere and me who cringes with embarrassment when he scratches his legs in other peoples houses and the skin flakes off.

It is very very difficult to find someone sexy after all of that. Dh sometimes doesn't appreciate the effect his psoriasis has on all of us. He can be very selfish at times.

Ellie - that detachment does not mean you have stopped loving him. It is a sign that you are depressed. Of course you should not have sex if you feel 'ugh' about it, I think those women who say you should just get on with it are wrong, sex is to be enjoyed by both of you. You need to work on your own self esteem and confidence and then you will find those feelings coming back.

All the things you've said; lack of libido, feeling of detachment, feeling your needs are being pushed to one side, feeling tired. These are all symptoms of depression. Couple that with you having experienced this before with your ex? You need to make time for yourself as no-one will do it for you. It's bloody hard being a mum, wife, friend, work colleague etc - you are expected to give so much more of yourself than men are (generally) and it does get you down.

There is no shame in saying "I feel depressed". It's a sign that things have to change and if your dh knows what is wrong then he can get involved with trying to sort things out. So sit down and tell him how you feel, ask him to get more involved with the kids instead of his Playstation, ask him to look after them for a weekend whilst you go away. Seek out people who make you feel good about yourself and spend time with them. Yes your dh should be one of them but because they are there all the time we often do take them for granted. So spend some time away and concentrate on you for a change. Your feelings of depression won't last forever but you do need to take action as these things don't get better by themselves.

dreamingbohemian Wed 13-Jul-11 10:11:32

I think it will definitely help to go out more, just the two of you, or even to have 'date nights' at home if you can't get out. Yeah, I know it sounds kind of corny, but there is something about putting just a bit more effort into the evenings that helps a lot. We wait til DS is in bed and then have a nice meal, light some candles, background music, the works.

If it helps, the point of these nights together is not to have sex, but to be romantic. To be sweet to each other, to really pay attention to each other, to really listen. Maybe also to have a few drinks and be silly smile But basically, to have fun and a bit of romance.

Then maybe you will have sex -- or maybe you won't. Either way is fine. For me, making sex the goal makes it all seem, well, very unsexy. It works better for me to, as it were, create the conditions likely to lead to sex and then just go with whatever I feel like doing.

We started doing this when we had a bit of a rough patch after DS was born, and have tried to keep it up. I've noticed that when we let things go for a while I start to feel more detached from DH and I feel less sexual, so we do really try to make the time.

Have fun this weekend! Maybe you can use it as a launching pad for more nice times together?

EllieG Wed 13-Jul-11 22:46:51

Good point about making the goal more sex is less sexy - it makes me want to cringe. Will try to keep up the dating thing too, it might work.

I hadn't thought about being a bit depressed, I have been before, I went through a patch where I didn't work for 6 months a few years ago. It's something I thought I was very aware of my triggers, but I wonder if something has been creeping up on me a bit and I have not been really aware of it. I don't think I am depressed, but I think perhaps you might be right, there are elements of it in my thoughts and feelings and behaviours, and perhaps I am stressed and need to address those things too.

Thanks all, you've given me some useful pointers and things to think on.

Helltotheno Wed 13-Jul-11 22:58:54

Do people not think there's such a thing as just not fancying someone any more fullstop? If you literally don't fancy someone any more, is it possible to get it back?

EllieG Wed 13-Jul-11 23:00:21

Don't ask me.....that's the reason I'm here....really hope not though cos otherwise my marriage is going to be a bit depressing sad

SingingSands Wed 13-Jul-11 23:21:39

I could have written your post, OP. I don't have any answers either, I just seem to keep turning it round in my head, over and over.

And I don't know if it is possible to fancy someone again once you lose it... I think maybe it is, but it perhaps depends on why you stopped in the first place.

I think for me, sometimes life just seems really "full-on" and I feel like I'm the one driving the bus, organising everyone and everything and what I need is to be a passenger for a while. I'm hoping that our 2 week holiday will sort that out a bit.

LittlePushka Wed 13-Jul-11 23:40:11

EllieG - I think that your story is a very familiar one and a one for which there is no quick fix. I believe that one of the reasons why couples become ambivalent to each other is because family life (as opposed to life as a courting or childless couple) changes your priorities from your relationship with your partner to the relationship with your children. I think that lack of sex is symptomatic of a general lack of closeness, and the wider that gap becomes, the more difficult it is to close.

Now, I do not think that duty sex will get you to where you want and need to be... Nor will sex outside your relationship. In fact I think that the sex thing can be a bit of a red herring - lots of people have zero libido but have a really fond and close relationship with their partner. I think that if you can re-connect and redevelop your closeness - look beyond the physical into what attracts/attracted you to him,...then you may rediscover why you like to be with him. get that and you have a first step to enjoying your marriage again. I'd say forget the sex and just be together.

I agree with the sentiment that this is always easier to do when you get out of your daily routine. If you can manage a weekend away (anywhere,..even camping) it will help you just be a couple again and let you do things you used to do. It will get you off your computer and him off his playstaion ...which I know is tricky, so much easier to talk to a screen. If you cannot manage a weekend then try and mastermind an afternoon or night out together every two weeks maybe... I know that is so much easier said than done ...but it just needs you both to make it happen. I think your goal could be just to get close to him again - the sex may or may not follow, I don't think that matters so much.

Also i think that you could do to talk to him at some point just as candidly as you have to us,...so that he knows where you are and so that he can tell you about where he is. If he is not the type of chap who will openly talk about his feelings/fears then at least you will have shared yours . Between you may have a bit more of an idea how best to shape your marriage into something which you are both happier with.

Hufflepuzzpig Wed 13-Jul-11 23:56:20

Ah Ellie sad I agree with what the others have said really, you sound pretty down and in a rut; there's lots of work to be done both for yourself and as a couple. Take it slowly and don't put too much pressure on yourself.

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