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Anyone else married but living in celibacy?

(146 Posts)
nomoreintimacyever Sat 30-Apr-16 22:58:44


Just wondering if any of you are in the situation that your partner is no longer interested in sex in any way shape or form?

H is 59 and for a long time sex was initiated by me and probably happened roughly every 6 weeks. Since February now we have not slept together at all and I can no longer bring myself to initiate things as I guess I feel rejected affection wise as well.

So I guess his libido has always been low (apart from at the very beginning and at more relaxed times of our early life together) and we have also had relationship issues which have lead to being disconnected, which then kind of sticks as a behaviour pattern. Now however he seems to be completely uninterested in touching me 99% of the time. He would never ever touch me first.

So I am wondering if other couples where one person is around 60 or older also experience living in celibacy, but if people don't talk about it as it is kind of taboo?

I am 47 and not ready to give up on emotional and physical intimacy but don't see how I can break up my family (we have 3 dc) and cause us all, including me, a lot of hurt for the sake of a relationship with someone else which may never happen?

Is it possible to be in a happy relationship despite the lack of hugs, general affection and sex?

nomoreintimacyever Sat 30-Apr-16 23:00:50

Would like to know about younger celibate couples as well - was just wondering if age does in fact get rid of people's libido?

awishes Sat 30-Apr-16 23:09:08

I have recently left my marriage because of a similar situation although H was slightly younger.
The thought of living the rest of my life without sex and affection from the one person that should want to share that with me was worse than the thought that I might possibly never experience that again with someone else. I was lonelier within the marriage than I am out of it although I cannot imagine ever meeting anyone else.
I don't think it is an age issue, one person withdrawing love and affection and sex surely means there are deeper relationship issues?
I still haven't come to terms with the destruction of our marriage and family so tread carefully. Always worth trying to salvage your marriage if possible. Good luck.

wideboy26 Sat 30-Apr-16 23:51:25

We're in our early/mid 60s and our sex life has all but ended. The beginning of the end was in 2010 when I had major abdominal surgery. I was very ill on the lead-up to the spell in hospital and mine was a long recovery, during which time I could not have felt less like sex. However, I did recover and the old feelings came back and for a
brief time so did our sex life. To be back in the saddle so to speak was a real boost to my rehabilitation. Then my wife had to have major abdominal surgery, the removal of an ovary followed shortly afterwards by a hysterectomy. Apart from the usual lay-off period, she had a tiny nick that wouldn't heal and so it was a long time before she could feel comfortable enough to contemplate resumption of our sex life. By then, I needed a follow-up operation which I always knew would be necessary, so another spell of enforced abstinence. This was about 3 years ago and I can't really say what happened subsequently, other than that we just got out of the habit and showed our affection and closeness in other ways. I now no longer feel the sexual urge and as I was always the initiator, we don't indulge. We have been married 40 years and have a grown up family so we have a great deal to be thankful for and I think there is a mutual gratitude for what we have that keeps us together and very close. I still enjoy seeing my wife without clothes on but it doesn't give rise to any urges and I think she probably appreciates that. We don't talk about it and we don't seem to need to as we find other ways of showing affection. This evening we spent cuddling on the sofa while we caught up on some TV programmes that we'd recorded. It was lovely - and it was enough for us both. In the past sex or lack of it has been a battle ground, but we've survived it and we're very happy now.

YourLeftElbow Sat 30-Apr-16 23:56:15

Your situation sounds a lot like mine was OP, though I am younger than you. I don't think it's all about sex but I couldn't cope with it- it felt like I was being rejected over and over again, and what was worse, he didn't care enough about me to do something/ talk about it.

nomoreintimacyever Sun 01-May-16 06:26:24

he didn't care enough about me to do something/ talk about it.

Yes same here - I have tried to talk about it but H becomes very defensive and shuts down.

I totally appreciate what you are saying wideboy - I guess the affection in your relationship means that the lack of sex does not matter and there may be a life stage in which it diminishes in importance?

one person withdrawing love and affection and sex surely means there are deeper relationship issues?
I still haven't come to terms with the destruction of our marriage and family so tread carefully.

I really relate to both of these statements awishes. I think for a long time h's withdrawal of affection was abusive - now it has just become the norm while he showers affection on the dc. While we were still sleeping together every so often, the daily lack of affection / never being touched was very hard to bear as I couldn't understand how he could sleep with me (and be loving while this was happening) but not touch me at all on an affectionate level for weeks afterwards?

Now that sex seems to be off the cards I feel less vulnerable and open to being hurt and much more used to never being hugged/touched etc... This makes me sad however as I feel undesirable and on some level unlovable sad.

If we did not have the dc together I would end the relationship but I agree awishes that doing this with them in the mix (they are 10, 12 and 14) would be devastating.

Should I accept that at 47 my love / sex life is over? Does this seem "past it" to people (which is how I feel sad) and an age at which nobody else would want me either? I have got used to repressing my emotional / loving side but it's not really how I want to be.

Thanks for your messages.

lavenderhoney Sun 01-May-16 06:41:51

The thing is, he can't not talk to you about it. He knows there is an issue and he is being quite cruel not talking to you and shutting you down.

He can refuse to talk of course, but if he wanted a celibate marriage he really ought to have discussed it with you first.

Footle Sun 01-May-16 06:50:14

We are both around 70 and sex continues to be hugely important to us. We know we're very lucky but I don't think it's that unusual, and no, libido certainly doesn't have to wear off with age.

cherrypepsimax Sun 01-May-16 08:13:00

There are medical reasons, depression, thyroid, That could cause problems. If it's upsetting you enough to be thinking about ending your marriage then you should try to talk to him.

My Dh had a spell of very poor mh several years ago and we were in this situation too. we did talk about it, which was not easy at all, and we've managed to get everything back on track. I had to instigate the conversation , and actually we went to counselling together which was very helpful. Do you think
He would consider that?

whatsmynametoday Mon 02-May-16 07:49:04

We are in our early thirties.
No sex for 4 years. No kissing, hugging, touching for 2 years +
Financially reliant on him and unable to separate.

Towelonthedoor Mon 02-May-16 08:09:46

Same here! We're in 30's and 40's not even hand holding.

HuskyLover1 Mon 02-May-16 08:28:45

At 47, your sex life should most definitely not be over!

I often wonder though, if this is the downside (the pay off?) when couples have a huge age gap. He's 59. So, that's a lot older than you, isn't it?

I am 46. My DH is 43. Sex is very important, very regular and very good. But it's impossible to know what it will be like, when DH is 59. And to be fair, we don't have the stresses of young children, as our two are now adults.

Sorry, that's not very helpful. I guess communication is key? Have you sat him down and laid all of your cards on the table? Told him this is make or break time. I think you really need to, because nobody should be giving up sex at 47 although my adult children do seem to think that we stopped having sex years ago

Jollyphonics Mon 02-May-16 08:46:06

I am 48 and have just started dating again after a long gap. Sex is very important to me and there's no way I'd be happy to give it up at my age!

tiredmedic Tue 03-May-16 21:46:40

I'm 57 this year, DW is 62. Before the big M struck, we had a good sex life....that stopped 12 1/2 years ago....and has never resumed. In my darkest moments I rage inwardly at the celibacy imposed on me...but these feelings are few and far between. Since being a lurker/poster here, I have seen many posts bemoaning the lack of intimacy/sex by, mostly, females and think, in my darker moods 'suck it up, I'VE had to' but as I say, not very often...although it riles me somewhat that frequently the replies are along the lines of "you're entitled to intimacy, no-one has to live in a sexless relationship".....but, implied, only if you are a woman. Bit difficult sometimes to see that argument, if you see what I mean....However, to the OP I can only say that if otherwise the relationship is good, stay with it. Things might change or you might just get used to it....I have (sort of) and there's always porn...for those opposed to porn in any form, suggestions on a post card as to alternatives would be most welcome. I ain't walking away from my marriage, so I guess porn is the solution....benign or malignant prostatic hyperplasia is NOT going to be my downfall, seen far too many cases of both in my career. In case anyone is wondering, the case for regular "exercise" of the prostate, shall we say, is now rather more than anecdotal....oh, and yes, I AM on the autistic spectrum if anyone wondered.
Sorry if the above sounds bitter and twisted, relationship wise, things are a little fraught here at the mo....

Alwaysbeyourself Tue 03-May-16 22:01:51

I think the lack of affection and closeness is more of a problem than the sex. That must have been and still is soul destroying. There are many periods in a long marriage when sex can be off the table but as long as there is still cuddles, hugs, kisses and a body to touch and hand to hold in the night then it can be ok.

OrlandaFuriosa Tue 03-May-16 22:06:50

I expect to be flamed fir this, and I'm not saying the following is necessarily the case, but the following is not an unusual feature if some people on the AS spectrum,

Huge interest in partner pre commitment, sexual and otherwise
Tails off pretty rapidly after marriage, moving in,
Very limited emotional, sexual, tactile connection thereafter, in part because if sensory overloading.

Tony Attwood and other specialists highlight this. And yes, when you've met one person on the spectrum you've met one person, but there does seem to be a pattern in some, not all, cases

If anyone wants to PM me for links to support , feel free to do so. I'm not an expert but involved in some of them.

tiredmedic Tue 03-May-16 22:28:34

Orlando, for me it was the other way round, we got married and fell in love in that order and I have become far MORE emotionally involved with my partner and our relationship...which makes it harder to bear the enforced celibacy....cos there's no way I'm pushing the intimacy situation, I'm just not like previous post was just getting it off my chest so to speak....and tbh, having a little poke at those posters who loudly proclaim it's a womans' right to a fulfilling physical of kidney ;-).

OrlandaFuriosa Tue 03-May-16 23:04:37

It's awful, whichever way or for whatever reason. Sympathy. brew

aeon456 Wed 04-May-16 02:18:03

My partner is 56 and I'm 50 and this is our 7th year together. We stopped having sex after about the first year together as my partner isn't really interested in sex generally (ie doesn't want it with anyone). I told him I still needed sex and physical affection and he agreed to me seeing someone else to get these needs met. So I see a person in their mid 30's just for sex - he comes here once or twice a month.
I wouldn't do it if my partner didn't want me to but he's ok with it as he doesn't want sex himself and can see it means we are more likely to remain together if these other needs are fulfilled. The other person doesn't want a full relationship so it suits us all. It only works if people are honest about what they really want and if people aren't jealous/territorial. I think married people would have a major problem entering this kind of set up as they probably have a far more monogamous mindset.

TheSquashyHatOfMrGnosspelius Wed 04-May-16 07:05:46

I am now happily married in every sense. My previous relationship was seven years though and it went sexless very early on and because of the detail I felt utterly cheated. There was sex at the beginning although not lots so that should have warned me but in the moment it didn't. He had been injured when in the army and that was what was blamed by him in the long term but there was no desire there in the first place it seemed. Over the length of the relationship it ate me alive because of the lack of intimacy. He was rejecting because he had no libido and probably felt if we cuddled I would expect sex because I did and so we didn't even cuddle. If he had told me upfront that he had been injured in the basement and that he had no sexual desire as a result, I could have made a choice to walk away but he was using me as a guinea pig to try and get it back but once we had bought a house together etc. he lost interest in the experiment and I felt trapped and miserable.
The irony was that he still liked to look at sexy women and left me for an OW far more glamorous than me. Her STBEx told me she was a very sexual person and had had affairs previously in their marriage so I have often wondered how that worked out as I had no reason to think anything would change once the 'first flush' was over.
It eats you alive but you feel guilty for having sexual needs. It's not just sexual needs though is it? It's the lack of any sort of intimacy. I have read posts on here before about this and the OP often uses a phrase something like, 'How can I break up everything we have because I am desperate for a decent shag?' It does boil down to this but it also doesn't just boil down to this.
I would have left had he not had the affair. I had changed so dramatically as a person due to lack of any sort of validation at all, I'm not surprised he left. sad

TheSquashyHatOfMrGnosspelius Wed 04-May-16 07:11:12

Meant to add. DH is 60 and I am 55. He is permanently up for it (so be careful what you wish for eh? wink ) Because of my previous experience I almost never reject his advances because I know how that feels. We are very close as a result though. We are best mates and lovers through and through. If my ex had considered getting some help as I suggested, I would have had more respect for him but his attitude was, 'this is how I am, get used to it'. which is a shitty thing to do in it's own right.

KittyKrap Wed 04-May-16 07:16:10

My XH was 20 years older and we would have sex twice a year, no more than that. At the time I was in my early 30s and extremely frustrated. The relationship was very EA anyway. When I finally left he threw the 'you're sex mad!' At me. Er, nope. We had no physical contact whatsoever, cuddles, kisses, hand holding. Nothing.

Now I'm very happily remarried and have a very healthy and happy sex life.

TheSquashyHatOfMrGnosspelius Wed 04-May-16 07:19:03

There has been a thread on here recently about marriages that are not terrible but not brilliant either and some of the advice on there might help you OP..
Sorry to hog the thread, I will bog off now grin

dudsville Wed 04-May-16 07:25:35

We are slightly younger than you and stopped having sex years ago, maybe 5,7 years ago. Our relationship was great except for sex. I don't know why he was interested in continuing the relationship but I presume it was because libido was his problem and not mine so he could presume this struggle would occur with someone else. As for me, I struggled significantly, I thought it over for ages ... I've never had great sex and I decided not to lose an otherwise perfect relationship for something that had always been better in my dreams than reality. Nowadays, funnily enough, I only struggle when I ovulate!

ordinaryman Wed 04-May-16 17:47:24

We're mid 40s and no sex at all for nearly a year and very very little in the last 10.

I'm interested in as full a sex life as possible, but my wife isn't interested. Many of the comments here are very familiar, in that when I have tried (many times) to raise the issue, I am painted as an aggressor / sex maniac / unreasonable, etc.

There's no shouting, no ranting, no illness and a generally good family life, but it's like she's just gone asexual on me.

As others have said, I might even be able to handle the lack of sex if only she'd hand-hold / cuddle / kiss / tell me she loves me, but all that is absent too.

I agree that it has to be symptomatic of a wider problem with the relationship. If nothing else, it is either negligent if she hasn't noticed there's still a problem, or cruel if she does know, but has decided her way is the only way.

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