Sexless marriage

(16 Posts)
namechangeasembarassing Thu 22-Jul-21 20:14:32

DH and my sex life is absolutely awful and I don’t know how to fix it. I have absolutely no desire to do anything sexual with him.

It’s always been a bit weird. We got together when we were 20 and it took us 18 months to sleep together fully. We both said we wanted to but it just didn't happen. It really got me down and made me feel ugly at a time when I was already insecure and I never could fully shake that feeling. I wasn't a virgin and DH said he wasn't but I suspect he might not have been telling the truth. I’ve only ever orgasmed with him 3 times.

Some things which I think have contributed are unsuccessfully TTC for 10 years, some weight gain on my end, learning how to make myself orgasm when DH can’t, doing some things together when I was younger that I didn’t really want to do but I didn’t realise I could say no to (not DH’s fault, at all).

I can tell it’s really getting DH down, he’s been really understanding but I know he hates it. I feel like I don’t really miss it, more the idea of it. I do miss feeling close to him though. I daren’t even cuddle up to him or kiss him properly because things start stirring and I can tell he gets his hopes up and the thought of it just absolutely terrifies me. Not even just full sex, but anything. We’ve only had sexual contact about 4 times in the past year. He doesn’t pressure me but I just freeze at the thought and even just thinking about it makes me feel physically sick.

Reading all that back it sounds absolutely horrendous. Despite it all though, we've been together for 15 years and physically I find him attractive. I love him a lot and I still get little tummy flutters every now and again when I think of him or when he gets dressed up if we’re going out, etc. I don’t want to split up with him.

What can I do?

OP’s posts: |
Bassetlover Thu 22-Jul-21 20:20:37

Don't have any advice but I am in exactly the same boat, perimenopause has made it worse for me. Hope you get some good advice.

TrueRefuge Thu 22-Jul-21 20:26:03

It sounds really tough OP... flowers You clearly love him and I can hear the distress in your voice.

A few questions maybe... Do you have sexual urges on your own? Like, how would you describe your sex drive/libido? Are you sexually attracted to other people (let's say gorgeous people on the TV?) Do you fantasise, and self-pleasure happily.

There's a part of me that thinks a lot of this might be in the "elephant in the room" aspect and that maybe you feel like you can't say no/disappoint your partner by saying you're not in the mood so you're pulling away, so intimacy reduces even further, and then you're less likely to want it. It could be good to be really honest with him, kind of what you've said here, and say you want to build a closer, more intimate life, but that you need to build that up slowly, not all at once. I don't know if that makes any sense?

You say you've only had a few orgasms in your time together. Have you faked it? Or does he know you don't? If the latter, does he care? Does he want you to have a good time, or is it more for him, do you think?

And finally, have you ever suffered any sexual trauma? (Obviously don't answer if you don't want to, I just think if you have it would be crucial not to overlook that). The unsuccessful TTC could certainly be playing a role... Maybe a part of you associates sex with the hope/disappointment/pain of conceiving and now its all just too much and not at all "sexy", you know? That would be totally understandable.

I think there's a lot for you to explore here, but taking it slowly, piece by piece, hopefully you can start to paint a clearer picture and make some improvements... smile

category12 Thu 22-Jul-21 20:45:31

doing some things together when I was younger that I didn’t really want to do but I didn’t realise I could say no to (not DH’s fault, at all).

You probably need to address this part of your history with a counsellor on your own.

You actually sound traumatised.

Star555 Thu 22-Jul-21 20:59:59

OP you are NOT traumatised or broken in any way! You could just be asexual (there's a whole spectrum of asexuality: just google it) which is absolutely normal and has nothing to do with health, trauma, etc. Asexual couples can romantically be very much in love but not desire each other sexually.

category12 Thu 22-Jul-21 21:05:50

Star555

OP you are NOT traumatised or broken in any way! You could just be asexual (there's a whole spectrum of asexuality: just google it) which is absolutely normal and has nothing to do with health, trauma, etc. Asexual couples can romantically be very much in love but not desire each other sexually.

OP hasn't said she has no sexual desire though. She has said she has no desire to sleep with her husband and explained some excellent reasons why, including feeling unable to refuse sexual acts she didn't want with him in the past, which has every reason to be traumatising.

TrueRefuge Thu 22-Jul-21 21:08:29

Yeh, we have nowhere near enough information to say OP is asexual...

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DivorcedAndDelighted Thu 22-Jul-21 21:13:48

This 10 minute podcast on sexless relationships from The Relationship Doctor might be interesting for you. He suggests a 2 stage "mindfulness" approach to reconnecting.

namechangeasembarassing Thu 22-Jul-21 22:06:22

I'm definitely not asexual. I still have plenty of desire, I feel like that hasn't changed, it probably actually increased since I learnt how to climax on my own.

@DivorcedAndDelighted I will give that a listen in the morning, thank you for the suggestion

OP’s posts: |
namechangeasembarassing Thu 22-Jul-21 22:08:15

@category12 I probably could definitely do with some counselling of my own. It just seemed to hit me all of a sudden, something clicked and I realised that I didn't have to agree to do things I didn't enjoy and that the reason for sex wasn't just to bring men to orgasm. I had a bit of a weird upbringing I think and have never had very health boundaries.

OP’s posts: |
Keepitonthedownlow Thu 22-Jul-21 22:10:50

TTC for 10 years is obviously a big factor, plus the issues you mention from earlier. Are you able to access counselling?

namechangeasembarassing Thu 22-Jul-21 22:24:54

@truerefuge thank you for your thoughtful reply. It is really tough, it's like I want to have sex in my mind but not my body.

I am sexually attracted to other people. I would never cheat on DH though.

It's something I find hard to have an honest conversation with him about. We can talk about anything but I find speaking to him about sex really embarassing.

I don't fake orgasms with him, he doesn't ask if I've had one. He does try, and he offers to do more (like oral for example) but I turn him down because I just don't really enjoy it with him and I know I won't climax so I'd rather just it be over as soon as possible.

No sexual trauma as such, but as I mentioned in a previous reply I've struggled a lot with healthy boundaries and done things with previous partners as well that I haven't wanted to do but didn't think I could say no, and I was a bit promiscuous but I didn't feel like it affected me that much.

OP’s posts: |
TowandaForever Thu 22-Jul-21 22:35:09

He doesn't sound as if he knows you well or even attempts to understand you.

Doesn't know if you've orgasmed or if you are enjoying sex with him or not?

Outbutnotoutout Thu 22-Jul-21 22:47:55

You're not going to want sex if it's rubbish and your partner doesn't even care if you cum or not.

What a let down

You need to speak with him about it, be brave and tell him you want a sex overhaul

Otherwise what's the point

category12 Fri 23-Jul-21 07:59:44

No sexual trauma as such, but as I mentioned in a previous reply I've struggled a lot with healthy boundaries and done things with previous partners as well that I haven't wanted to do but didn't think I could say no, and I was a bit promiscuous but I didn't feel like it affected me that much.

Well your body is certainly giving you a physical, visceral message - freezing is one of the classic threat responses, (the other three being fight, flight and fawn). So whether on the surface you felt affected or not by having sex you didn't want at the time, or whether you feel like it wasn't "bad enough" to be allowed to feel traumatised, it seems like it's biting you in the arse now.

It's not about blaming the men necessarily (unless they exploited you while unable to consent), but recognising that it may be that psychological harm was done to you. Maybe you even sought it out like self-harm - it happens. You're still allowed to have feelings about it in retrospect.

TrueRefuge Fri 23-Jul-21 08:10:16

Now that you've figured out better ways to climax on your own, could you try and teach him some better techniques to get you there himself? How receptive would he be to that? It does seem strange to me that he doesn't ask whether you've climaxed... It sounds like you're not enjoying the sex you have with him "technically" as well as emotionally?

It sounds a little like you've developed, but he/your sex life together is still based on earlier/younger roles....?

I agree that some counselling for you could be really beneficial, to unpack the boundaries, and perhaps your feelings around TTC?

And then, unfortunately (!), I think a conversation will need to be had where you're quite honest about your feelings but in a kind way, and say you want a better sex life but you need some different techniques now, and you want to try some different ways of being together.

Everyone is different, but I'd like to give you some reassurance. I've recently been working through some trauma and for a long time didnt want sex. I lost my libido, so that's one difference, but I honestly thought I'd need to end my relationship because I truly couldn't imagine I'd ever feel differently. Slowly but surely, things are getting better. Communication helps (however awkward it is). As does honouring your needs and being really honest with yourself. But also time. I'd encourage you to take a long-term view. Don't pressure yourself to figure it out in a few weeks. Look for some counselling, have those conversations and try new things, and see where things are in 6-12 months.

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