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how to cope in sexless marriage?

(268 Posts)
Jamandcheese Thu 16-Jun-16 03:05:29

Does anyone else have a marriage with no sex? If you do, how do you cope without that intimacy?

We have sex probably once or twice a year. Last June being the last time we had sex. Or kissed properly.

Do you just become used to no sex? Are the hugs and sitting on the couch together enough?

thinkiamgoingcrazy Tue 04-Jul-17 06:03:59

And yes it was/is soul destroying.

something2say Tue 04-Jul-17 06:18:21

I'm just out of a long term relationship where we didn't have any sex for the last 3 years.

In the end, I changed job from a women only environment to one that's male dominated...and with weeks was fantasizing about another man I'd met. So I went home and broke things up.

I had no idea how vulnerable lack of sex would leave me. What an impact it would have on me. I will never let that happen again. I was afraid to face up to it because we got along ok and I liked our life more or less.

How did others get on when the drought ended?

lovemycatsanddog Tue 04-Jul-17 08:15:02

Thank you all for your replies, not my problem, but just wondered if people did or could sleep in the same bed in a sexless marriage, and if there was any affection at in in the relationship

lovemycatsanddog Tue 04-Jul-17 08:44:16

This man apparently is thinking of having an affair, and has someone in mind that he is attracted to, and it seems she to him, but doesnt want to leave his home, so up to now has put up with the marriage, for an easy life, [he says]
I dont know all the details, he says he didnt leave because of the kids, but they are grown up now
Is it a case of having his cake etc?

ordinaryman Tue 04-Jul-17 09:47:08

@lovemycatsanddog - "I have a question, mainly for any men who live in a sexless marriage
Do you and wife/partner still sleep together, how do you cope if so
I have a friend whose wife doesnt want any exual contact,they still sleep together, and he says it doesnt bother him now,its just go to bed and say goodnight, he has been thinking of having an affair
Is it possible to live like this,
I find it hard to believe"


I find it come sdown to practicalities. As someone else said, it's a non-starter if you don't have a spare room to start with. Then there's what the kids will think / tell there mates. And what to do when you go to stay at parents / in-laws / go on holiday? There you might be faced with no option but the one bed, or have to embarassingly tell all concerned what the real situation is.

It's a real killer going to bed next to the person who is rejecting you each night, but once you get to the stage of separate beds, it's probably better to take the bull by the horns and call it a day altogether.

BubblesBuddy Tue 04-Jul-17 09:56:37

lovemycats. Sounds like my DH. Men are calculating and devious.

Keepithidden Tue 04-Jul-17 10:25:56

Lovemycats - Could be "cake and eating it" the reason I'm staying is the kids. I'll leave when they do, or when financially we can run two homes of sufficient size. I don't think that's devious, pragmatic and cold maybe, but desperate times...

Contentosposa30s Tue 04-Jul-17 11:05:08

I was in a sexless marriage until last year, all of my own doing, not feeling great about myself etc after piling on weight after the big day & taking him for granted. I started eating better & going to fitness classes and I have now lost 2 stone and feel that my new confidence has given me the boost to show my partner how much he does mean to me. We have been together 7 years and married for 2. The positive change in our relationship this past 6 month is amazing. I now feel like I wasted precious time pushing him away for so long.

If you feel there is anything you can to make changes in yourself to build your confidence and make things better then definitely give them a try. We nearly walked away and now were happier than ever. There is a way back if you both want it enough. Date nights etc, reconnect and remember why you fell in love.

Good Luck star

Toutsain Wed 19-Jul-17 07:35:24

I'm in a similar situation. My partner has always suffered from PE and after being on medication for high blood pressure etc has been less and less interested. Having a high sex drive, this has almost driven me to depression - but I have turned it into righteous indignation! I've tried talking, patience, throwing myself into hobbies, yoga, initiating/ begging for sex (!), masturbation... you name it. He won't go to the doctor for help. In the end, he doesn't care enough to make sure I'm sexually/emotionally fulfilled. That is hurtful, but at least I've realised it! So as I am now on the brink of embarking on an affair with a man who wants sex with me - hooray! (taking my first holiday alone to think about it) and having failed to get my husband to talk about this, I'm carefully composing an email to him! Yes, his primary relationship is with his iPhone, and I was starting to go the same way. I even found myself comfort eating. 'Just friends' is definitely not enough for me, after all you only have one chance at life, and you can't find true intimacy with someone who has closed off to you.

Jellybellyqueen Wed 19-Jul-17 07:53:16

Men are calculating and devious.
Yes, they are. And unlikely to leave unless something else is lined up. We're struggling because of things he's done, my reaction on discovery 'caused' his ED, apparently. So I think we're going the same way as you OP, gradually. V depressing, but difficult to see how to turn it around.

Samwis4 Sun 23-Jul-17 22:03:47

Husband here. 4yrs no sex and prior to 2nd conception was 2yrs. My wife loses all desire after childbirth we share a bed and have a fairly happy family life but I have to wait it out or leave and lose everything else that is good in my life. Parenting is hard if only we were there for each other at the end of those hard days.

OctaveDad Sun 23-Jul-17 23:43:16

2 years, even affection, cuddles etc always feel unwelcome/uncomfortable. Words cannot describe how this has knocked my self esteem and body confidence. I need to lose weight, but find it so hard, stress/anxiety/comfort eating and bad habits.

I've given up smoking, caffiene and porn (!), I just need to work on sugar and chocolate bars.... finding that hardest of all.

Being told off, criticised and shouted at a lot isn't helping.... stressful job too. so maybe it works both ways, hard to fancy someone you're scared of...

Toutsain Mon 24-Jul-17 06:32:09

It is really hard to quit sugar, but that has been the best and most effective strategy. Not only losing weight, but also the elimination of mood swings. My tip would be not to have sweet things in the house. Avoid the biscuit and choc aisle at the supermarket and have 'good' snacks to hand everywhere you go. I have oatcakes, salad in a Tupperware box, sweet potato, avocado, hummus and other dips (eg can of beans whizzed up with olive oil, parsley, garlic, lemon). Make your own bread or snacking stuff - I use vegan and sugar free recipes. Drink lots and lots of water - often when you feel really hungry you are actually thirsty. Skin, general mood and weight improves dramatically and you can start to see more clearly. Take up yoga, meditate every day...even 5 mins will help. Put your phone away when you're together, and always hug!

Toutsain Mon 24-Jul-17 06:40:45

Useful reading
However, you are at an earlier stage and the advice to cheat or leave would not be so relevant. If you search 'beautiful advice from a divorced man' that has 'marriage rescue' tips, as does Brad Browning's website. I was right at the end of the process and have 'switched off' completely to my husband whose coldness and avoidance of intimacy (and my own critical comments) have destroyed our relationship slowly but surely.

OctaveDad Mon 24-Jul-17 09:36:49

Thanks for the info and advice Toutsain, really encouraging, feeling a bit more positive about it all today.

Toutsain Mon 24-Jul-17 12:57:46

It's really worth listening to each other early on when it starts to go wrong. Especially when you have children. They notice pretty soon when you're not happy, and you want them to have good relationships later on in life. Mine are grown up now but even when they were 3 or 4 they knew instinctively if something wasn't right. Good luck!

FluffyFerrets Mon 24-Jul-17 13:49:26

My own personal experience is I couldn't and wouldn't force myself to cope with it. It's soul destroying and really messed me up for a while. I endured it for around 5 years but in the end I left the relationship because of it. I'd simply had enough.

coconuttella Mon 24-Jul-17 17:08:28


I'm a bit bemused by the difficulty you have with the idea of sleeping In the same bad and not having sex......I don't have a sexless marriage, but then again it's not especially frequent - we have sex 2-3 times each month on average having been together 14 years now. We can both have periods when one is feeling more up for it than the other, yet we manage to sleep in the same bed! I imagine many couples are quite similar. And if I can manage it for a week or so and not explode (mastubation is a wonderful thing!), I would imagine it's no different when managing a few months once you've managed a week... in fact I know it is as there have been periods when we have gone a couple of months without due to illness/newborns etc. I can't imagine there are many long-term couples who both have sex every night they're in bed together!

Samwis4 Mon 24-Jul-17 17:34:50


I don't know that you truly understand a sexless marriage. Imagine if you can that after your dry spell of 3 months you try and have sex but are declined. Imagine again that every advance you make for a year is declined and now imagine that the one person in your life that you love and are attracted to does not want you anymore. Now in this state of rejection and low confidence whilst becoming desperate for attention you still sleep next to the person that you crave to touch.... I can fully see why sleeping next to your partner can be so difficult.

Jemima1967 Mon 24-Jul-17 18:40:58

Sleeping next to a partner who doesn't want sex is agony! My husband has ED but as my counsellor said - that doesn't affect his hands or his mouth!! He could give me sexual pleasure if he chose to. Hell he could even go to the doctors about his ED. He just doesn't care enough about how I feel to bother. Four years ago he said he would "let me know" when he felt like being intimate again. I'm still waiting.....

Floki Fri 28-Jul-17 23:25:43

I must have been effectively sexless for 10 years if not longer now.
Have great kids and whilst she has moments, I'm still attracted to my wife.
She never wants sex. We will cuddle and kiss in bed but it goes no further. Turns away after a time or tells me she is now thinking about work.
Other times, sex is promised (you do this and you can have sex on Friday...) but never given. Yes I crave sex at times but not sure that is the correct approach - you do a job for me and you can have a few moments of pleasure.
All the advice as to non sexual touch, doing chores (I do stacks and always have done), flowers and trying to listen - they don't work.
Being rejected by the one you have forgone others for just eats away. On one hand, perhaps I'm not missing anything but on other, I think I must be and realise I'll get to 80 and think I missed so much.
I can't see anything ever changing. I'm nothing to look at so have to reconcile myself to this. It's not good but the alternative is, well I'm not sure there is one.
I now believe that if I had a stack of lottery cash say, sex would be a given as I could buy all the designer stuff my wife loves and she'd show appreciation by allowing sex. That's the only way it would change.
That it was not that good in any event - you rarely do something so lack practice - just becomes the vicious circle : on rare occasions sex was given, I'd be that useless she'd get annoyed at fact she got nothing out of it. Nothing would please me more if she did but again, can't see that happening soon.

Keepithidden Sat 29-Jul-17 08:20:01

When its done as a duty, out of pity or transactional its crap. I'd rather be celibate.

Its not easy knocking back the annual offering though, the look of disappointment, followed by even further emotional distancing is par for the course in my case. Doesn't seem to stop us working as a good coparenting unit though. At least I don't think it does. Probably just used to it though...

I so hope I'm not damaging DCs.

Floki Sat 29-Jul-17 11:21:49

On the one hand, so sad to see others empathising with posts here but on the other, reassuring to know it's not just me.
I get so frustrated at times. My wife is and can be very affectionate but that's as far as it goes.
We agreed not to have sex before marriage and I just about coped with that. Never would I tell anyone to do that. Feel at times I've been cheated all round.

Forwardsforwards Sat 29-Jul-17 11:42:08

floki - very sad to read your posts.

i left my sexless marriage 2 years ago. it almost destroyed me and still hangs over me.

confidence and esteem shot to pieces. i used to think i was bad for wanting physical and emotional intimacy. now i know i wasn't selfish/greedy whatever and still am not now. if that is what i want, that's me. If he doesn't want it, fine, that's him.

I cried, begged (deeply unsexy i know) did everything i could. i let his rejection of me affect me. now i see it that it wasn't about me. it was him. i got caught in the crossfire.

Our relationship was shit all round. Maybe that makes the difference between wanting and actually working at a solution for both.

Hope everything works out for you and the others on this thread who are upset, hurt, resigned etc.

Ecadia Sat 29-Jul-17 12:01:38

I'm in a similar situation. My partner doesn't want sex with me but will watch porn everyday. We have spoken about this and he says he just doesn't want sex or even think about it. It is slowly destroying my confidence but I don't want to throw away a 6 year relationship that is otherwise ok. We have 4 dc and I don't want to break up our family. So just hoping that one day he does want it again. I've spoken to him about going to the Drs but he refuses. He's only 28 and myself 25 I don't know how long I can carry on with a sexless relationship. The children sleep well so he's not tired. I'm starting to think it's me

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