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DH has an active sex life, just not with me.

(100 Posts)
Innerdaemon Sat 16-Jul-11 23:32:04

Have name changed for this. I was going to post for advice on how to reactivate your sex life after having a baby and how to talk to my DH about sex, due to the fact that DH and I seem to have entirely lost our sex life, but a few things have come to light that put a whole new slant on my problem. Apologies for huge post.

We've been together for 3 years and in nearly every way is an amazing husband and father and we have a great relationship. He is gorgeous and I fancy the pants off him. But he has always had a lower sex drive than me, and in the past it's caused us a few problems. We have talked about it, though he finds it difficult and embarrassing to talk about and we have made some improvements and when ttc were finally at it regularly and starting to experiment more.

Fast forward to now, DS is 11 weeks old, and we have DTD about four or five times since I got pg and only once since he was born. I had a previous mc so DH didn't want to during the first 12 weeks, which I could understand. Then it was because he felt 'weird' as I got bigger about the baby being there, again which I could understand and I didn't really feel like it myself when I got bigger. But we didn't just have no sex, it was no intimacy or sexual activity at all apart from cuddling and I was a bit put out and quite frustrated.

As I said he struggles to talk about it, and it usually ends up with me talking and him just listening to me going on about how I would like us to be more open and have more sex. He finds it hard to open up to me.

So I've just been working under the assumption that we just have different sex drives (and he has even said this to me in the past). Then last night we went out for the first time together since DS was born for a couple of hours and we had a talk about it again. And I got out of him that he masturbates every couple of days and also that he pretty much always uses porn to do so! shock

Now I've seen all the threads on here about porn usage and I'm pretty laid back about it tbh, I have found it arousing myself in the past and I had an idea that he watched it and wasn't that bothered. But I'm just shocked at how often he does it, when we've not had sex for weeks!! When I asked him about it earlier he said it used to be a lot more and that he's calmed down a lot!!

I don't want to fly off the handle with him, I'm glad he's opened up to me and told me (finally) and I worry that if I go mad with him it'll put him off talking to me, but it totally changes my perception on why we're not having sex. He has also said that he is really tired and doesn't want to have sex when it takes ages. It takes ages because it usually sometimes takes me ages to come. I was conscious of this for years when I was younger and I didn't used to bother even trying at all with a man. So I feel that he's essentially saying he can't be bothered making sure I get pleasure. The last few times we have DTD I was just glad we were doing it so was just happy with a quickie.

So now I'm feeling really rejected and quite put out by the fact that he does seem to have a fairly normal sex drive, but has got into the habit of instant gratification at the expense of our sex life. I just don't know what to do or what to say to him. I'm hoping that this marks a turning point and that he will make more of an effort from now on, but I'm gutted that he seems to prefer porn to me. I'm a bit kinky very open minded and would love to share in his fantasies and experiment more. I asked him what he watched once and he showed me a film that was surprisingly erotic and female centric, romantic almost (lots of kissing, cunnilingus etc) and his kink seems to be stockings!

Any advice on how to handle this appreciated.

pestroid Sat 16-Jul-11 23:50:40

He's got into a habit of sex being just about masturbating. What you two really need to do is forget about sex for a while and get back to the cuddles and kissing side of your relationship and then hopefully the sex will come from that.

LesserOfTwoWeevils Sat 16-Jul-11 23:57:43

But how does he feel about the way things are?
Does he think it's perfectly okay for him to be seeing about himself while you're telling him you're frustrated?

pinkytheshrinky Sun 17-Jul-11 00:16:56

Get him on a wank ban right now!

Nothing very constructive to add to be honest but you could try writing to him. Tell him how you feel about the porn thing but be careful not to blame him for stuff because it might make him regret talking to you about it in the first place.

Writing offers a direct communication without being openly confrontational which these conversations can end up being, and as you say sometimes one sided. And do remind him of how much you love him, ime men can very very easily feel pushed away.

Like I said, nothing really constructive but the writing thing works for DH and I, we use it to sometimes sort out rows and apologise sometimes when things have been heated. We also use it as a seduction thing too as four children mean that we cannot always get the space we need to express ourselves adequately.

branstonsandcheese Sun 17-Jul-11 01:26:09

Do you come quicker through oral sex, OP? Or if you use toys, or masturbate yourself while he joins in? If he's objecting to the time taken(?!), why not suggest you concentrate on that for a while. Perhaps while you wear stockings!

I think he needs to reactivate finding pleasure in giving YOU pleasure rather than it just being about him wanking.

27tilly Sun 17-Jul-11 09:44:19

How can you put someone on a wank ban??!!!

SimplySerene Sun 17-Jul-11 10:23:13

Innerdaemon, I am sorry to hear you feel frustrated and upset by where DH and you are in your sex life. I can somewhat relate, having spent almost a decade in a relationship without any erotic interaction, coupled with regular porn use from him.

I apologize in advance as this is probably going to turn into an epic...

A few things that strike me here:

1)Why would sharing sensual pleasures and intimacy with the woman he loves, i.e. sex, "be difficult and embarrassing to talk about" for a grown man? This warrants gentle unwrapping. Does he view sex as a positive, invigorating, fun activity? Or is it somehow connected to negative images for him (dirty, seedy etc.)? What image does he have of women? Does he have a "holy mother or whore" view? I.e. may he think subconsciously you would be degraded by having sex? Did he have positive male role models in his life? Does he feel secure, appreciated and like a true equal in your relationship? Are there aspects in his life where he can feel "manly" and in charge? Does you DH feel comfortable with talking and laughing during sex? Sharing his likes and dislikes?

"As I said he struggles to talk about it, and it usually ends up with me talking and him just listening to me going on about how I would like us to be more open and have more sex. He finds it hard to open up to me."
This is a deep red flag. I would be tempted to go so far as to say, forget about the actual sex and first get into a place where you can have true intimacy of the minds as a couple. If you achieve that, the rest will likely fall into place.

It sounds to me as if the frustrations in your sex life could also stem from issues he has with his male identity and his own sexuality.

2) This "But we didn't just have no sex, it was no intimacy or sexual activity at all apart from cuddling" suggests to me that he may have a rather narrow view about what sex actually is?
Maybe you would both benefit from exploring the idea that sex is NOT about orgasms, that they are not the primary reason for engaging in sex, sex is not over after they happen and they are not the end goal of sex. And, most importantly: they are NOT the yardstick by which to assess whether sex has been "successful" or if anyone is a good lover or desirable.
Maybe invite your DH to "no-orgasm sex", just enjoying touching and exploring your bodies?

3) "But I'm just shocked at how often he does it, when we've not had sex for weeks!! "
I absolutely understand your feelings.

Other people may disagree but in my book, each person is entitled to his/her own private sexuality which includes fantasies, masturbation etc. I think this is is a healthy expression of self, a way to relax and unwind and is not in competition with partnered sexuality.

Do you truly believe he would have sex more frequently with you if he didn't masturbate? This would imply he has a basic sexual need that is mainly focused on achieving orgasms X times a week and if he has Y orgasms through masturbating, you only have X-Y left for partnered sexuality. Somehow that doesn't sound like a very realistic concept of sexuality, does it? Good partnered sexuality is rarely born purely out of a need for an orgasm.

However, if you feel that he uses porn as a way of "hiding" from engaging with you and developing your partnered sexuality (The classic male "head in the sand" approach to relationship and emotional issues.) then there clearly is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with.

I have absolutely no issue with porn in the sense of looking at arousing images. (However, I strongly object to 99% of the porn out there because of the grossly unrealistic kind of sexuality it propagates, the affects of the porn industry on the people operating in it and the blatantly misogynist, inhuman, shallow, anti-empathy views it advertises. I find it incredibly sad that we seem to think it is ok to commodify another human being for our personal gratification. But that is irrelevant to your situation.)

Many women seem to think men consume porn because the women are younger, thinner, more attractive etc. In my experience, men consume porn because it requires no engagement with a real person.

Porn really is a piss-poor substitute for making love. But I suspect that your DH uses porn not as a replacement for sex with you but for the part of his sexuality that is his alone and is ill suited for sharing with a partner. He may want to have an easy, casual, quick orgasms just to unwind, relax and enjoy the feeling without worrying about anyone else. That is a totally valid need but hardly lends itself to involving a partner. (Or may he just cannot imagine how he could share such a sexuality with you.)

For men, partnered sex can be associated with huge pressures, mostly stemming from the idiotic stereotypes about masculinity that are part of mainstream culture. He might think he has to be the active part and "make it happen". He may feel he has to be in charge and know how to please you and what to do although most of the time he feels like he is groping in the dark. He may feel he has to fulfil your expectations (although he is not even sure what they are and how to do it). He may think he is responsible for giving you pleasure and look to your orgasms as a judgement of his own qualities as a lover. If he feels pressured by the stupid myth that real men are always ready and eager he will also worry about his penis (Will it stay erect? Will I come? Is it big enough? Does she even like it?) etc.
Juggling a physical reaction (erection) that is not under conscious control (although he probably believes he should be able to control it - Nonsense!) with the arousal of the female partner is a very challenging task. Not to mention being vulnerable, intimate and in touch with feelings (Yikes!).

Maybe these are things you want to talk about with your DH?

"He has also said that he is really tired and doesn't want to have sex when it takes ages. It takes ages because it sometimes takes me ages to come. I was conscious of this for years when I was younger and I didn't used to bother even trying at all with a man. So I feel that he's essentially saying he can't be bothered making sure I get pleasure."


But you could also understand his words as saying that he is tired and feels there is not enough time to truly relax and make love to you as he feels you deserve.
Sexual intimacy takes time. If he is tired, what changes can you make so he feels he has more energy to spare? I know it is incredibly challenging with kids. But make that time.

I would also consider that his answer is not true in the sense that however long it takes for you to orgasm is not the real reason he doesn't seek partnered sex so often. Particularly when partnered sex is connected to pressures and expectations for him. Maybe he is not telling you "I can't be bothered" but "I blame myself for not making you come quicker/more reliably/whatever and it is stressing me out." or "I feel inhibited/uncomfortable/pressured during partnered sex.".

Do you believe he is responsible for "making sure you get pleasure"? I recommend you take responsibility for that yourself. Sex is not about "tit-for-tat, who got how many orgasms".

I am NOT saying your needs should be ignored. They are JUST as important as his and if it is important to you that both of you have an orgasm during sex, then it is absolutely reasonable that you insist on working out a solution together. Callous disregard for your wishes and feelings and just using you for his gratification is NOT okay. Not caring enough about you and cherishing you enough to see giving you pleasure as something other than a chore is NOT okay. If sex does not give BOTH of you feelings of joy, being loved, desired, connected and happy - then it is pointless.

If it takes time for you to orgasm the way to approach this is not to put pressure on yourself to come quicker, but to find the time. If you really only have time and energy for a quickie, what about raising your arousal level before partnered sex through masturbation? DH just holding you in his arms and kissing you while you give yourself pleasure before or after intercourse?

(Although I would really recommend not getting so hung up about this whole orgasm thing. Just enjoy making love.)

"I don't want to fly off the handle with him, I'm glad he's opened up to me and told me (finally) and I worry that if I go mad with him it'll put him off talking to me,"
I absolutely agree 100%. Attacking or shaming him for his sexuality is absolutely futile and potentially damaging to your relationship. If you judge and criticize a very personal part of him, how is that supposed to encourage him to open up? You want more intimacy, not less.
You need to talk about this. But without blame, aggression and resentment.

I would recommend you reflect about what exactly it is that you miss and want from partnered sexuality. And then have a loving, appreciative, open chat with DH.

Blindcavesalamander Sun 17-Jul-11 11:36:03

I havn't read all the other posts so I apologise if I'm repeating someone elses ideas I'm in a hurry as need to get my DDs out for a day of fun!) but I was interested by your post and I don't think your situation is THAT unusual. TBH I really don't like porn myself for lots of reasons (both good femisist reasons and more selfish reasons of jealousy, i.e. wishing my loved one fancied me as much as other, sexier women I feel less attractive than) but that said and off my chest I thought your DH's choice of porn sounded very acceptable !!! infact the best you could ever hope for!! (Some posters have found deeply disturbing things I've noticed) and I also noticed that you found it quite arousing yourself. My advice would be to keep those lines of communication open at all costs (delight in the fact he told you rather than that you 'found out' .. intimacy is such a turn on!) buy lots of stockings, build on your love together and watch this rather romantic and female centred porn together. You sound a lovely and understanding wife which I'm sure he must value and appreciate, just let him know you need physical love too.

jenny60 Sun 17-Jul-11 13:01:34

I am shock at this. He would rather look at porn than take the time his partner needs and wants in bed? Because 'it takes ages'. He won't talk about it and basically lied about having a low sex drive? OMFG. What a selfish git.

bail Sun 17-Jul-11 14:35:46

I hear you Innerdaemen, loud and clear.

I could have almost written your post myself, but for two things... firstly, I am 11 months post natel, secondly my DH is very affectionate and I enjoy lots of cuddles and kisses from him.

HOWEVER, he also is very into porn. Will deny the entent of it vociferously, but admits usage. The upshot is, he is basically very disinterested in sex with me. I ALWAYS make the first move, and because I have fairly thick skin - we do manage to maintain a fairly (maybe 3x a month) regular sex life.

It upsets me though. I feel like screaming... I wonder how those women would look after spending 12 hours looking after a very boisterous 11 month old! He seems qutie disinterested in me as a sexual being. And I have looked after myself, I really have tried. I make a bloody effort actually. TMI perhaps but at my last waxing seesion I did catch myself thinking, 'what is the bloody point of this? It costs £40, hurts like hell, is a bugger to arrange with care of DS, and what am I doing it for? If I didn't make the move, DH and I would never do the deed!

I feel so sad about it, and I am sorry that I have gone on at length on your thread. I do not have a problem with porn either, I really do not mind his enjoying this. What I do mind is the fact that it affects our sex life. Goodness, even though I do not have an issue with porn, it seriously worries me how far it would have gone by the time my gorgeous DS is a man. I want to shield him from it all as long as possible. The thought of these 16 year boys thinking that sex should be how it is in porn terrifies the hell out of me (sorry, I digress)

I will watching responses with great interest.

I hope things work out, I really do xxx

jenny60 Sun 17-Jul-11 15:28:39

OP and Bail: you both know that the way they are treating you both is very wrong, don't you? WTF should any woman have to compete with porn, try to force her DP to give her, a real live person and supposedly his life partner, attention rather than wanking to images of strangers and then feel she has to put up with it and somehow tempt him away from porn? Makes me very angry
Sorry, but your partners have precious little respect for you.

AnyFucker Mon 18-Jul-11 08:31:07

I agree with jenny

You ladies keep saying "you don't have a problem with porn" ???

well, I disagree

it seems porn has turned your husbands into selfish bastards who don't give a shit about their wife's sexual and emotional well being

perhaps they were already sexist pigs who think the only orgasm that counts is the bloke's ?

Blindcavesalamander Mon 18-Jul-11 13:14:33

A.F. I think you are probably absolutely correct and I do agree with you, but because thes are real people with a real relationship who really love each other perhaps there has to be some compromise and working around, so as to save something of value?

AnyFucker Mon 18-Jul-11 13:29:51

blindcaves, if the "work" is only one way though, what of value is there actually to save ?

it seems some women will bury their perfectly reasonable objections to porn to appear "cool" and keep on thinking their lack of a decent sex life is somehow their fault

it really is not their fault

these men are selfish and lazy

a lazy man in bed deserves to get dumped from a very great height

jenny60 Mon 18-Jul-11 14:36:05

Quite AF. In this instance I'd have a very big problem with porn and your partners who are frankly treating you like shit.

Malificence Mon 18-Jul-11 15:07:39

Any man who prefers a solitary sex life of wanking to porn instead of mutually satisfying and enjoyable sex with a loving partner, has huge issues or alternatvely, is simply a selfish git.

The very fact that he hasn't even told you that he has a liking for stockings, which is such a mild kink, suggests he does have some issues as does the fact that he didn't want sex with you when you were pregnant, I know that some women on here think it's pretty normal but it's a big red flag to me.

Innerdaemon Mon 18-Jul-11 19:19:16

Thank you for the replies. I love the idea of a 'wank ban' pinky, though not sure how I would enforce it though! grin

< imagines being wank police >

It did used to be a lot better, I did usually have an orgasm when we had sex though it wasn't as frequent as I would have liked. It's just in the last 12 months that it's disappeared altogether. I think it's become the easy option for him and he does use it to hide from me intimately.

Thank you SimplySerene for your insightful post. In answer to some of your points, we do have an equal relationship but he does get to be 'manly' but was brought up in a household where sex was taboo and considered 'dirty'. His mum found a porno mag when he was a teenager and his mum was as disgusted (as some of you on this and other threads about porn) and said all sorts of things about how dirty and disgusting he was and how masturbation was wrong. hmm I don't think that helped too much with the being open and sharing thing. He finds engaging with people difficult at the best of times, almost to the point of being anti social. I also think that me going off my head about the porn will just result in him not telling me anything again, and will create less intimacy not more.

I agree about the orgasms being the main goal, I don't think he really knows what to do when it's not going the whole hog as it were. I think spending more time having no orgasm sex may just open his eyes.

I do also think he feels pressured and responsible for me having an orgasm, I think porn is just the easy and lazy way out.

He's never had a relationship where he has been open about sex and his longest relationship was a sexless one as his ex had issues, and he was fine with this. We were starting to experiment more and have fun when I got pg, but it's all gone out of the window since.

We are otherwise really happy, he is kind, funny, gorgeous and an amazing dad and this is the only issue we have really. He's far from a sexist pig and though I agree his actions don't give the best impression, he is a good man.

It's rarely that black and white AF and those of you that automatically think porn usage maketh the man. If the rest of the relationship was shit then it would be a different story. From my experience the majority of men use porn. That's just the way it is now, unfortunately. The porn industry is a massive market. I have a dd and I detest how porn (and society, but that's another thread) objectifies women, but I can't do a lot about it apart from teach her how to have a healthy relationship by example. My DH treats me with love and respect and this is my first healthy relationship after years of bastards. What to do? Go mad with him and drive it further underground and ruin a good thing, or go with it and try to create intimacy and communication?

I think porn is just so normalised and easily accessed now, and from it's sheer popularity it seems to tap into something rather common in men. I'm NOT really that happy that he's choosing to wank to porn rather than have sex with me, but it doesn't necessarily compute that men who watch porn are by definition selfish, lazy and all bastards.

ristretto Mon 18-Jul-11 19:21:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AnyFucker Mon 18-Jul-11 19:23:22

so you are happy with the status quo then ?

good luck with that hmm

you are not going to bring it up with him, you apologise for his porn use, and you refuse to believe that he is selfish and lazy in are making excuses for him, do you realise that?

why did you post ? really ?

pinkytheshrinky Mon 18-Jul-11 19:45:14

Re. the wank ban - was a fun thing DH and I used to do - just for fun when we were dating so it was all even more exciting and fun!!!! Building up a head of steam so to speak....

I do think also that if your H is not he most sexually confident person in the world then porn and wanking is a bit of an easy way out - we all know you don't have to engage emotionally particularly to enjoy it and if things between a couple are a bit tricky then often men withdraw into their own space and this can be part of it.

It doesn't make him a lazy selfish bastard though - i think it smacks of insecurity. It is all very well saying that he should be making love to his wife, concentrating on her orgasm etc rather than wanking but surely if he is feeling a bit wobbly in himself and feels like a bit of a failure if she takes (in his eyes) too long to have an orgasm then I could see how insecurity about his abilities could lead to him preferring to be solitary sexually rather than keep feeling as if he is failing his wife in some way.

My Dh is not into porn (I love it: even the stuff I shouldn't!) - the thing he doesn't like about it is the lack of emotional involvement - so it is not all men.

bail Mon 18-Jul-11 21:37:13

Thanks for your full response Innerdaemen; I found it interesting.

As much as I love Mumsnet, I find a certain hardcore quite infuriating insofar as if you do not take their advise, then you get very short shrift indeed. No point posting if you don't take their advise, don't you know Innerdaemen?hmm.

I genuinely am relaxed with porn in moderation and do not exactly find it a turn-off. Similar to your DH, we have a great relationship. but DH has no hang ups about sex whatsoever (he gently bought me out of my shell). I just find it bloody annoying when it infringes on our sex life.

Interesting and probably way TMI, we had great sex last night. I know because he hadn't looked at any porn all week. So I am going to bite the bullet and say I am chilled with the porn (I quite enjoy it myself so would seem odd to ban DH from it forever more) but I would like a wank ban for the next fortnight and this will be regularly enforced... I think it is a genius idea and I thank pinkytheshrinky as it had not occured me!

Innerdaemen, you only gave birth recently, very recently in fact. Be gentle on yourself and try not to read too much into the current situation. As the weeks turn into months, you will feel more yourself and more confident in dealing with DH and likewise DH should change. My guess is that the fun experimentation before pregnancy will pick up again. Your relationship seems to have common threads with mine and so I suggest a relaxed outlook, a dash of humour and a lot of honesty should do the trick. xx

AnyFucker Mon 18-Jul-11 21:46:29

what I find mildly irritating (infuriated, bail ? do calm down) is when women post about something they are clearly not happy with

then manage, over the course of the thread, to convince themselves that there really isn't a problem at all

and then someone always comes along to say "these harpies are trying to convince you that there is something wrong with your relationship"

when it was the Op that said there was something wrong with it in the first place (didn't you, OP?)...why post otherwise ?

so, OP goes right on back to her shit sex life, having decided she is unable to change anything (actually, she can...and that starts by stopping making excuses for him) and the rest of us wonder why we bothered trying to help

but that's fine, we don't have to live like that (thankfully)

bail Mon 18-Jul-11 21:58:16

Yes, infuriating when you dismiss OP with a faecetious "good luck with that hmm" and then ask "why did you post?, really?" if you weren't going to immediately take my advice.
It is clearly a sensitive issue to OP but you allowed her one response before somewhat curtly dismissing her as she did not bow before your advise to end her relationship with the father of her 11 week old child and a man she loves.

Fairenuff Mon 18-Jul-11 22:03:13

However, the OP does rather contradict herself :

"I detest how porn (and society etc) objectifies women"

"What to do? . . . go with it and try to create intimacy and communication"

If he wasn't into it, would you be considering looking at porn which you detest?

Could you not communicate about it without sharing it with him?

AnyFucker Mon 18-Jul-11 22:03:31

your umbrage on behalf of the Op is really quite magnificent, bail smile

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