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question on how to deal with dysfunctional sex life

(18 Posts)
anonymous4 Thu 13-Aug-09 16:14:10

apologies to those for whom this is too much information. I find it too much info myself, so have namechanged... blush

We are mid 30s, childless (after the death of our daughter at 25 weeks' gestation, 5 years ago) and likely to remain so if the sex life doesn't get any more active.

I can't get DH to initiate sex more than a few times a year. I find it difficult to initiate it myself, but even if I do, he will usually say he has a few more hours' work to do tonight, or he has to get up to get work done. We both work long hours, but we both know that he's making excuses. He has said that it's because he knows I don't enjoy it very much.

We've discussed it in the past and I have said that if we have sex every 6 months, when we do, it hurts a lot for me because basically I've forgotten how in the meantime. I've said again and again that if we did it more often - particularly within a week of doing it before - then I would be able to get back into it and enjoy it.

But at every opportunity, he always has more work to do - or needs to sleep - or is out playing sport. If he initiates it, I do it, despite not enjoying it... I don't tell him "that was crap", but he can tell I'm not getting anywhere IYSWIM.

sad
has anyone ever fixed a marriage with this kind of problem? Otherwise we don't seem to have any problems. I'm beginning to dwell on this as I'd better get on with having kids if it's going to happen... he can walk off anytime and find a younger mother for his children, so he doesn't need to worry about timing as much as I do. I've tried to discuss this with him, but the sticking point really seems to be the lack of interest in sex.

anonymous4 Thu 13-Aug-09 16:22:33

help. anyone?
I'm not a troll btw.
no flipping idea how to fix this but it is really dragging me down.

K999 Thu 13-Aug-09 16:23:31

When did it start to go bad...??

anonymous4 Thu 13-Aug-09 16:28:20

it was never all that frantic... once a week at most when we were "ttc" (i.e. "t - not very hard -tc"). Once every few weeks mostly, including through the pregancy and after, but the last 3 years have averaged maybe 3 times a year, all initiated by him. sad

K999 Thu 13-Aug-09 16:30:36

What about trying something like Relate??

Malificence Thu 13-Aug-09 16:35:02

You've been through so much, I think that sex therapy may be the only real option.
Sex doesn't hurt unless you're not sufficiently aroused, you probably tense up too which makes things more difficult - does he spend time on YOU to get you aroused and wanting sex?

Perhaps if you both agree to give sex a go once a week and see how things progress - you've both got out of the habit and it does take some effort to get back on track.
Why not buy yourself a vibrator and get used to sexual pleasure again?
Tell him that his rejection of you every time you try initiating sex is very hurtful,
Sex should be wonderful not a "chore" - are you both affectionate with each other the rest of the time?
How about getting some massage oils and getting used to each other's bodies again? A nice lube would be a useful thing to have for you too, plus it makes sex feel really good, the durex silky lube is lovely - we rarely have sex without lube nowadays because it feels so nice for both of you.
It's great for foreplay too, KY do a massage gel/lube that smells lovely. I've got half a dozen different ones, flavoured, tingly, warming ones.
Regular sex is good for your health and your happiness.
It feels strange and unnatural at first to plan sex but it honestly does work if you both put in the effort.

anonymous4 Thu 13-Aug-09 16:35:59

Hmm, I suppose so. It doesn't feel like the relationship is in need of counsellling in any other way though.

anonymous4 Thu 13-Aug-09 16:42:21

on second thoughts - given that I can't imagine either of us actually enjoying massage oils or lube - we'd probably be simultaneously hideously embarrassed and each cross with self for being embarrassed - perhaps we both need counselling. hmm

Maybe this thread should be called "how do we each get over a emotionally absent sexless parents/ single-sex boarding-school/ blokey australian sporting upbringing and become normal?" wink

nje3006 Thu 13-Aug-09 16:57:11

It's difficult to know whether this is a problem to do with the death of your child or whether it's to do with neither of you being comfortable with the issue of sex per se.

With the death of a child like your situation it can become unconscious in the mind of one or both parties that sex leads to pregnancy leads to death and that can have serious consequences that maybe therapy can help with.

Alternatively if it's that you and he are simply not at ease with sexual intimacy (you mentioned embarrassment) then sex therapy may be the way for you to go.

Until you and he get to the bottom of what's going on here, you will carry these issues into your next relationships...

anonymous4 Thu 13-Aug-09 17:05:54

that's precisely what i'm afraid of nje.

we have talked a lot about our baby's death - it's probably got more to do with the "mens sana in corpore sano, dammit" upbringing leading to neither of us really being all that happy in the spotlight - and thus really not liking the intimacy.

I've tried, tried tried, god knows how many times, to get him to agree to sex once a week. I've said that it would be good for both of us. I've said it's not a question of me having a higher sex drive and demanding he comply. But it just never happens. and maybe it is partly me asking him to comply with a higher sex drive - in tha this seems to be basically zero.

If I try to discuss kids he looks quite enthusiastic - but the enthusiasm gets spoiled if I mention that one needs to make babies and that once every 6 months makes conception pretty unlikely...

sad

nje3006 Thu 13-Aug-09 17:10:48

can you ask him what he suggests and whether he would like to have sex more often or whether he's happy with the way things are. He may see no problem or he may have a problem he doesn't know how to bring up.

What does he think the solutions are or does he say he's happy?

You can get books on increasing marital intimacy (not just sex) and maybe one of those might help. If you try to improve things and it doesn't work, it's time for a heart to heart discussion that the lack of intimacy and sex is making you feel lonely and you want to find ways to make that better. If he's not interested in finding a solution then you have an answer of sorts...

nje3006 Thu 13-Aug-09 17:11:22

It's difficult to know whether this is a problem to do with the death of your child or whether it's to do with neither of you being comfortable with the issue of sex per se.

With the death of a child like your situation it can become unconscious in the mind of one or both parties that sex leads to pregnancy leads to death and that can have serious consequences that maybe therapy can help with.

Alternatively if it's that you and he are simply not at ease with sexual intimacy (you mentioned embarrassment) then sex therapy may be the way for you to go.

Until you and he get to the bottom of what's going on here, you will carry these issues into your next relationships...

anonymous4 Thu 13-Aug-09 17:19:31

We're fairly huggy/touchy-feely/ silly with each other most of the time.

He says he can see it's making me unhappy, and he knows it's a good thing, and that he will try to initiate more. But he never does.

I think we might've been deeply scarred by only being allowed to have child-like matey play-fighting relationships in our respective single-sex boarding schools. The "what a load of f*ing rubbish" blokey australian attitude to anything like emotion or profundity - most admirably embodied in our parents and our schools - really doesn't help.

nje3006 Thu 13-Aug-09 17:26:11

weird double post sorry...

Maybe you need to be more specific when you have this discussion and he says he's going to initiate more. Can you say something like, "I know when we've had this discussion before we've agreed to try and change things but it doesn't seem to happen, what can we do to make sure we don't backslide again?"

Everyone can change and move away from their upbringing, the first stage is wanting to change.

anonymous4 Thu 13-Aug-09 17:38:27

hmm. That's definitely useful. Thanks for your thoughts nje.

BTW when I said "only allowed to have matey relationships" what I meant was our parents were - like many incredibly busy farming parents - essentially administrative figures once we went to boarding school aged 9, but were not very emotionally into kids before that. Among themselves - I have never seen my parents or DH's parents display any emotion other than (rarely) irritation or anger, and I remember being incredibly shocked when I moved to the city to go to university and saw couples my parents' age _holding hands_!!!!.

Also once at boarding school/ university, the emphasis was all on "being friends to all" - ie no suspiciouos best friend relationships here thanks very much - and definitely no talking to the boys from the school down the road!

I agree we can grow up and change - thankfully we have in many ways - but on this remaining issue I don't know what it is that could make things change.

nje3006 Thu 13-Aug-09 17:58:53

If you go onto Amazon and type in "marriage and intimacy" a shed load of books come up. Maybe scroll through them and see which one seems to fit you best and go from there.

This isn't a unique situation, my view is there's no point reinventing the wheel, other people have overcome this, pinch their ideas and see if they work for you...

karala Thu 13-Aug-09 18:11:30

It is fixable - and I think that nje has come up with the best advice.

The thing about intimacy is that it does mean you expose yourself more than just physically - at least for it to work. It requires the whole emotional side to come into play so the things you describe about 'matey relationships' gets in the way of some of the stuff. Lots of people struggle in all sorts of ways - I have in the past - but it's not something that people are encouraged to be open about so that's why we go around whistling in the dark and hoping for the best.

Do you know what makes you feel good sexually? Do you masturbate for instance?

mathanxiety Fri 14-Aug-09 00:00:51

Well, hate to suggest this, but maybe he's just not that into you? My now-ex husband turned out, after seventeen years of very little sex, to be gay. It was the last thing I would have thought of if I hadn't run across gay porn on the computer. Thought it was all my fault up to then, believed I was too fat, too ugly, too unsexy, blah, blah. Didn't think a gay man would ever be able to have sex with a woman, but who knows what or who he was really thinking about on the few occasions we actually did the deed. Needless to say, it was a soul destroying relationship. Get to the bottom of what is really going on before you lose all sense of who you are as a woman. Check out the computer very thoroughly.

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