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Female perspective required - please! (bit long, sorry)

(31 Posts)
saultanpepper Sat 19-Jul-08 17:14:41

Hello all

New member saying hi - and this is my first post so please be gentle

I've been married for 9 years, been with DW for 13. Sex life up until she fell pregnant with our daughter (six months after marriage in 1999) was great in terms of quality and quantity.

Since then it's been between sporadic and non-existent. While she was pregnant she went off sex completely (understandable), she suffered PND for twelve months postpartum and was also off sex for this time (also understandable) although we did manage it once or twice.

Six months passed and things were almost back to normal - then she fell pregnant with our son in August 2002, and he was born in May 2003.

We've had sex less than 25 times since our daughter was born, including trying for our son. This year's tally to date is twice.

Please don't think this is merely a man whining that he doesn't get any - this really is a major problem for me. DW says she has no problem with me, it's her; she won't even kiss me because she says that makes her feel like sex and she doesn't have the time/energy/inclination. I get a peck on the cheek before I go to work and another when she goes to bed. I need to feel loved and wanted and I haven't done that for years. I have asked her if it hurts, if there's anything wrong with me, if there's anything I can do; I've tried to make her feel loved and wanted with cuddles and no pressure to do anything else - I even made fresh lavender oil from the lavender plant in the garden for her bath, but nothing seems to get her in the mood. I've tried talking to her about it and she knows how I feel, but nothing seems to change.

I am now about three stone heavier than when our daughter was born as I freely admit to drinking most of a bottle of wine a night just so I can feel different to when I woke up. I love this woman and have done since I clapped eyes on her - but I can't live this this for much longer.

Advice/views welcome...and thanks in advance.

girlnextdoor Sat 19-Jul-08 17:23:32

Hi- be warned- a man on MN- you will be inundated with help!
You are the second person to ask this question recently.

First- sorry to preach- but do try to stop drinking. It is a sign of your unhappiness, I know, but it will also be the cause of more unhappiness. She might not like you anyway, but she sure is not going to like you a) 3 stone heavier b) with a rotten liver c) with a heart attack and an invalid to look after and d) too drunk to perform when she DOES feel like it!

Have you thought about these:

*your wife's mental state- depression?
*She has simply gone off you and doesn't love you?
* she is physically uncomfortable with sex after the births
*she has a bad body image and therefore doesn't want sex or you to see her
* your weight problem is an issue for her?

Sex for men is about sex- sex for women is about emotions and sex- are you getting on okay anyway? Do you have fun as a couple?

I believe that avoidance of sex for many women is down to how they feel about their man.

I would suggest you get yourselves off to Relate to see someone who specializes in sexual problems- they will advise you to forget about sex and focus on cuddles and being close. In fact they will ban you from having sex, and just having lots of foreplay until neither of you can stand it any more!

Does any of this help?

Carmenere Sat 19-Jul-08 17:26:50

Tricky one, lots and lots of couples are in exactly the same position, I think it is perfectly normal in an abnormal kind of way iyswim.
IIWY I would concentrate on getting healthy and losing weight as not only will you feel much better about yourself, your dw interest in you might be re-awakened.

PortAndLemon Sat 19-Jul-08 17:28:27

How much of the housework do you do? How much time do you spend looking after your children on your own so that your wife can have some time to herself?

SuperSillyus Sat 19-Jul-08 17:32:31

If it was good before it can be good again.

I am not 'in the mood' at the moment and it is because I'm so drained from the kids and housewifey life that I don't feel sexy, I feel like a wrung out dishcloth.

I do still fancy my dh (who is overweight, has a heart problem, drinks too much wine blah blah blah) and I keep thinking 'soon our sex life will be good again, but first...sleep....zzzzzzzzz'

girlnextdoor Sat 19-Jul-08 17:38:30

maybe you can keep fit together? go running/walking/tot he gym (organize a babysitter) so you have something in common and get closer. Just wondering- do you actually count the times you have had sex?? shock If you throw that back at her, I can see she might be defensive, as it sounds like you are obsessed, which I am sure you aren't, but it won't do you any good to quote figures at her- she knows it is a problem already- question is- why? She knows the reason. believe me, you just have to get her to open up to you, or a 3rd party.

SuperSillyus Sat 19-Jul-08 17:42:27

Oh and I could easily be seduced if my dh helped me have more breaks,
makes it clear he fancies me because he thinks I'm gorgeous (but doesn't come across as desperate.)

Get yourself fit and build up your own self esteem. I really hope that things improve for you.

Heated Sat 19-Jul-08 17:44:03

I think it's important to be tactile without expecting her to put out, so to speak smile

Things like "Hello gorgeous" and a cuddle in the kitchen; sitting in the evening together and just stroking her back; holding hands when going for a walk; an admiring wolf whistle when she getting dressed in the morning (she may feel insecure about being unclothed after having dcs). I may be wrong, but your dw needs to feel cherished and sexy. Oh and just taking obvious pleasure in her company is sexy.

The big romantic date and soulful sighs just make a woman feel more pressured about sex being expected. A quickie - or a series of them - can often work better; it's about getting back into the habit. Your dw is probably knackered in the evening and sleep feels preferable to sex; what about mornings about half an hour before you have to get up?

saultanpepper Sat 19-Jul-08 18:09:11

strewth - didn't expect so much so quickly - thank you all

DW has suffered depression (post natal) but is now healthy - or at least she says she is and doesn't display any other signs (and we've been through it twice so I know what to look for).

Haven't mentioned Relate yet but will definitely consider that, have looked at their website already.

GND - sex isn't just sex for men (it is when we're 18 and hormonal; when we've grown up a bit it means muhc more) we get on OK otherwise - with two primary schoolage kids time to ourselves is rare and her first impulse is to go to sleep. I don't consciously count the times we do have sex; but I googled sexless marriage (official definition is <10 times per year) and it got me thinking. Plus it isn't hard to count to two

PAL - I do about 70% of the cooking, about half the washingup, run the hoover over at the weekends and once or twice a week put clothes that look like they need it in the big white box in the kitchen with a hole in the front that makes a gurgly noise when I switch it on. Both the kids are at school during the week so between taking them and picking them up she has about 5 hours a day to herself whereas I leave for work at 7am and get home at 6pm.

I do try and cut down on the booze and am now going to the gym once a week - but it's the hotel gym when I go to head office once a week about 150 miles away.

I have said to her that I don't expect it daily or even weekly - once or twice a month would be enough.

I will take on board the cuddles/making her feel sexy thing though - I admit I may be a little blinkered in my outlook at the moment.

cocolepew Sat 19-Jul-08 18:13:25

Let her know that having a kiss or cuddle isn't going to always lead to sex. If she feels uptight about it she will push you away thinking it's all about sex. Good luck

cocolepew Sat 19-Jul-08 18:13:25

Let her know that having a kiss or cuddle isn't going to always lead to sex. If she feels uptight about it she will push you away thinking it's all about sex. Good luck

scanner Sat 19-Jul-08 18:17:45

Ah ha - your last line is the one you need to have a look at. I had three dc's in three years and I guess that in itself tells you that we have a great sex life. Obviously when the dc's were very small it wasn't that frequent, but now they are all primary school age we're off and running again. I think it all boils down to the fact that dh makes me feel like I'm some kind of goddess and that he's lucky to have me. He tells me every day that he loves me, is romantic tells me that I'm his best friend, we have a great laugh together and lots of time just chatting about 'stuff'. It doesn't have to be 'just' cuddles, in fact best if not but us women like to feel adored on all levels. It's daft things like the odd secret smile between us when the dc's aren't looking. Get adoring and you will be rewarded before you know it the adoration will be real and most genuine and even reciprocated.

MmeLindt Sat 19-Jul-08 18:25:24

DH and I were just about at this stage, not quite as bad perhaps.

What really helped was that DH lost a lot of weight, started going running, and generally was more happy with himself.

We also started going out regularly together, just the two of us, without kids. It is important to get away from the every day battles. Once a week we got a babysitter and went to a French course together. Sometimes we went for a drink afterwards.

Also, put the TV/computer/psp off in the evening and have a chat with her.

saultanpepper Sat 19-Jul-08 18:44:34

How do you quote someone on this forum?

Thing is - I thought I did do adoration - I tell her I love her two or three times a day, slip my arm around her waist when she's not looking and tell her she's gorgeous (and I'm not lying to her, she really is). I guess a slightly different perspective is required, which is why I posted in the first place.

Look - I sincerely appreciate this - I have female friends but am not sure they'd be comfortable talking about this stuff - thanks again all xx

cocolepew Sat 19-Jul-08 18:54:18

My exbf, used to tell me he loved me a few times a day, hug me alot etc. Even when I was in love with him it drove me bananas. Maybe you need to back of a teeny bit.

Alfreda Sat 19-Jul-08 21:46:54

I feel for your saultandp. I kind of understand where the dw is coming from, having had a fairly barren time in the aftermath of no. 1 who had a traumatic birth. Funnily enough, I found that taking a multivitamin pill seemed to help after a while, I got thoughts I hadn't had for ages....wink
Apart from that I reckon the clue is that you clearly were very fond and had a great time before the kids came along, and you need to recapture something of what life was like for you then. So you need to get out more, get some fresh air, get fitter and feel a bit younger, date! Get a regular babysitter, at first. Don't do the whole weekend away in posh hotel thing, that puts her under pressure. But an evening in the pub and a game or two of pool, and don't ask for anything more at first....if that doesn't work you should consider some sort of therapy. Your dw would probably be happier if this wasn't an issue too, in the long run.

fruitstick Sat 19-Jul-08 21:59:49

saultanpepper, I think you sound like a lovely, caring husband. I can't believe so many responses have been to lose some weight, if the roles were reversed they would be considered shallow insensitive gits.

fruitstick Sat 19-Jul-08 22:00:24

oh, and I agree with Alfreda, sounds like a plan.

honkytonkwoman Sat 19-Jul-08 22:14:04

saultandpepper, I'd echo what other posters have said in terms of advice, especially the lighthearted, no-pressure trips to the pub/walks as opposed to posh weekends away, and the point that there will be a reason why your wife isn't up for it - it's just finding, or dissolving, it. I have nothing original to add, but just wanted to acknowledge your post and say that, at least in the context of where my love life's been of late, you sound like a thoughtful, sensitive and loving husband. I hope it works out for you; you need and deserve it to.

PortAndLemon Sat 19-Jul-08 22:23:37

Do you manage to get babysitters and do non-sex stuff together -- say an evening at the theatre or going to the cinema or even just popping to the pub? Or is that impractical for some reason or is she too tired for that too?

I think it boils down to either

(a) She is genuinely too tired. If you do as much of the housework as you say then there may be a physical cause for this, be it depression or a thyroid deficiency or post-viral fatigue or something else. Alternatively, what time do you both go to bed and get up? I find that DH seems to need far less sleep than I do, so left to his own devices he'll go to bed around midnight and wake up around 6am. If I try to manage on that much little sleep I have no energy for holding a rational conversation, still less for sex. He is far more likely to get lucky in that department when we have a run of 10.30 bedtimes.

(b) It's something else, and we could speculate all day what that might be but Relate may be a good option for finding out and tackling it.

katyamum Sat 19-Jul-08 22:25:37

I personally just want to be taken away from the house, away from the chores, the cleaning, the cooking, the childcare. Then after a great night out / meal / drink / talk / cinema / I remember a part of me that I had forgotten. And then things fall into place again. But we go out so infrequently, it's hard to recreate that mood. You sound like you are trying very hard. Can't your wife just tell you what she wants you to do?

morningpaper Sat 19-Jul-08 22:27:41

POOR YOU I really do think that this is hard and very shit and you have my sympathy.

I second the idea about Relate - it can give you a neutral territory for discussion of these sorts of things. There are also therapists who deal in sexual issues specifically. It can be hard to find a counsellor/therapist who you 'click' with. But I would give it a shot. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

Good luck.

LittleMyDancingForJoy Sat 19-Jul-08 22:43:51

Can I ask a personal question, saultanpepper - what kind of contraception does your DW use?

I found that certain hormonal forms (in my case the pill) completely suppressed my sex drive. The pill mimicks pregnancy hormones, and if your DW went off it completely in pregnancy, maybe that's how those hormones affect her too?

Just a thought. It made me very stressed out and anxious and I interpreted every affectionate move from DP as a request for sex, which made me detach even more.

Off the pill, and much better!

MmeLindt Sat 19-Jul-08 23:02:31

fruitstick
I have just reread what I wrote earlier, and noticed that it sounded a bit insensitive re the losing weight.

S&P
Very sorry, I was rushed and did not have time to mention that I was not upset with DH for being overweight. The opposite is true, he has always been less overweight than I and at present is very fit and I am trying to keep up. I am still more than 10kgs from my ideal weight, and am a comfort eater so find it difficult to lose weight if I am unhappy.

What I meant to say is that DH is happier with his own body and that this makes him more confident. We have both noticed an increased sex drive as a result, possibly because I find him sexier than before but mainly because he is more likely to take the initiative.

The other thing that really saved our marriage was me staying off MN more often in the evenings and him leaving the TV off so that we could sit and talk together.

What does your DW do/say about your drinking? Is she drinking the wine with you?

Agree with all the great advice on here so I won't write a long post, but just wanted to say make her get her iron count checked out if she's always tired. I very uncharacteristically went off sex recently, and have been massively tired and quite depressed, I've just been diagnosed with a type of anaemia. Perhaps suggest she gets a general health checkup with a blood test too.

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