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How can I stop sex becoming a damaging issue between DH and I?

(72 Posts)
KurtMummegut Fri 28-Aug-09 20:31:09

My DH and I are very happy. We love each other, make each other laugh, enjoy parenting together and I know he is the man I will be with until Death Do Us Part. However, our sex life is not great and I am starting to feel very sad that sex will probably never be a big part of my life.

A bit of history: I was raped when I was at university. After that I would tense up whenever men would try and enter me, even when I was keen for them to try. I never managed to have full sex again until I met DH. When we met I did not let him even try and have sex with me for 8 months. For the first four I found excuses and gave him oral sex to try and distract him. He was very patient. Then I felt he deserved to know that he was not the issue so I told him about the rape. He was lovely and never pushed me. Finally I agreed to try and it all went well. That was eight years ago.

Since then we have had enjoyable but unadventurous sex two or three times a month. DH never initiates, it is always me. For several years I was happy with this, I thought he was being considerate in light of my past and I figured neither of us had strong sex drives but we were well matched and equally happy with the frequency. However, in the last couple of years my sex drive has increased and his seems to have decreased. He still never initiates despite a couple of chats when I have encouraged him to.

We had DC2 10 months ago and have had sex only twice since then. Sometimes I hint at it and he pretends not to notice the hint but offers a subtle rebuff (like mentioning how exhausted he is). Last week I told him I regretted how little sex we had and said I wanted more sex, and more sex initiated by him. He said he felt the same but was just too tired at bedtime and wished we would have sex just after the kids' bedtimes. For five nights I have made sure I follow him to our room after the kids' are in bed and have waited for him to then initiate something. He has not done a thing. Tonight I feel so frustrated. I am desperate for him to show some interest and am left feeling undesirable. I am at a loss at what to do now. I do not want to initiate as he is clearly not up for it.

I think I have to accept that sex is never going to be a strength of our relationship. I hear of women who get so much joy from sex and am sad that I am never going to get the chance to be one of those women.

What would you do if you were me?

thesecondcoming Fri 28-Aug-09 20:34:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsMattie Fri 28-Aug-09 20:35:36

Hi there.

If I were you I would tell him exactly how devastating this is for you. Then I would suggest counselling. It sounds like some of the issues around your sex life run quite deep.

You say it yourself - you have a great relationship in every other respect. You adore him. He adores you. Don't let this - or don't let him let this - spoil what you have.

Good luck.

KurtMummegut Fri 28-Aug-09 22:15:23

Thanks. I have been reluctant to suggest counselling as he is a very private man and would hate discussing our sex life with an outsider. However, it may be necessary to avoid this issue becoming corrosive.

It's not cyclical because it's never frequent (except when TTC).

I find it hard to understand because it is good when we do actually do it. Why would he not want more of something so nice?

veryconfusedandupset Fri 28-Aug-09 22:57:57

I started a similar thread a few days ago

here it is very long and rambling but I certainly got things wrong! Just read the first post and you will see. I'm not sure what the answer is though - but at least you are not alone!

sayithowitis Fri 28-Aug-09 23:03:07

I wonder if somewhere inside he carries some sort of misplaced guilt about your rape? Not because of anything he could have done, more from a guilt because he is a man and it was a man who hurt you so badly POV?

Do you think it is possible that he doesn't initiate because he doesn't want to feel he is forcing you?

If it were me, I think I would follow him to the bedroom as you have been doing, but I would start it off. It will probably take a few times but he might get the message that it is ik to tell you when he wants to make love rather than feeling he always needs to wait for you to give him 'permission' iyswim.

Good luck. smile

mathanxiety Sat 29-Aug-09 07:35:37

Well, this may or may not be a long shot, but could he be gay? Don't laugh please. It's not unknown. It's the last thing you might assume, but imo he may have been interested in you because you weren't that interested in sex when you first met him, so he may have believed that this situation would last and he could have all the benefits of looking like a happily married man while never getting the pressure to have a very active sex life that he assumed another woman might want. Now things have changed and he is finding excuses to avoid sex, excuses that are pretty flimsy but common. It is quite telling that you are the one who always initiates sex. If he really is gay, be prepared for lots of denial. But it's not normal for a man to not want to have sex with his wife over such a long period of time, and to never initiate. Unless he is very asexual, he is probably getting his jollies somewhere.

thesecondcoming Sat 29-Aug-09 10:27:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KurtMummegut Sat 29-Aug-09 19:28:55

Thanks for all your thoughts.

I am sure he is not gay. I would go as far as to say I am certain. I can't explain how, but its partly to do with how physically affectionate he is when not looking for full sex. I am also certain he is not having an affair. He is not that type of guy. He would not and could not do that. Besides, we are together all the time, we even work in the same place, it would be impossible for him to have an affair.

I think it is probably true that he does not initiate because of the rape and a fear that I would feel forced. At the beginning I wanted it like that and so it has become a habit. It is a habit I should respect and thank him for but instead I am beginning to resent it. The irony is that it is his care and love that has got me to a point where the rape is no longer something I ever think about and the very behavior I am now complaining about is the behavior that saved me.

In addition to the habit and history I do suspect he is just endowed with a low sex drive. I don't think that is "abnormal", everyone must be on a scale and he happens to be further down it that the average man.

Buggeration, I wish this was not getting to me so much. I want more sex and more adventurous sex and I can't see how I am ever going to get it on a regular basis.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 29-Aug-09 19:32:09

Hubby and I have been mismatched from day one and we have mini tiffs about it.

I have learnt not to take it so personal and not to see sex as more than it is.

mathanxiety Sat 29-Aug-09 20:19:52

There are some scales to measure this kind of issue -- you could google 'kinsey scale' and see what you come up with. What I see in your post is that you have made your DH aware of how you feel about the sex issue and he is for some reason unwilling to change: whereas I think a lot of men would jump at the chance, yours is seemingly doing his best to avoid the opportunity your requests present. BTW, there is nothing to stop a gay man being really physically affectionate when not looking for actual sex. Marriage counseling might be in order, because this is obviously making you very sad and you need to get to the bottom of what's causing it and what to do about it.

KurtMummegut Sat 29-Aug-09 21:17:51

Thanks but I really do not think there is any mileage in the gay suggestion. The Kinsey Scale is a hetero/homo scale and I was actually referring to him being on the low end of a sex drive scale.

2rebecca Sat 29-Aug-09 21:26:02

It sounds as though you deliberately went for a guy with a low sex drive because of your rape experience and now want a guy with a higher sex drive. Several options, but if the marriage is otherwise good and you want to stay with him there are really only 2.
1. Talk to him about wanting more sex now, see what would turn him on, try talking about sex more, initiate sex, just following him into a room isn't trying very hard, following him into the bedroom and then flashing your stocking tops at him and kissing him passionately would get the message across more clearly. Suggest relate/ sex therapy if these don't work.
2. If he's completely immovable keep things as they are but masturbate more whilst feeling a bit peeved at his reluctance to put himself out a bit for you. Sadly it often does seem that in relationships the person who wants sex least gets their own way.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 29-Aug-09 21:53:25

no one should be made to have sex 2rebecca

2rebecca Sat 29-Aug-09 22:15:30

I don't see that in a loving marriage having a bit more sex than you want is any worse than having a bit less.
If the thought of having more sex with your spouse is that upsetting then your marriage is pretty rubbish.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 29-Aug-09 22:27:35

Of course it is worse - being pressured into sex when you don't want it.

2rebecca Sat 29-Aug-09 22:45:58

I don't see why. You are supposed to love and care for the person after all. Prostitutes manage to have sex with complete strangers whether they want to or not so a spouse should find it far easier to have sex with someone they are supposed to love and value even if they're not in the mood. I often do things I don't feel like for my husband and kids because the things need doing or the rest of the family want to do things and I don't. I don't see why sex should be treated as different and do think people who say they feel violated if they have sex when they aren't 100% in the mood are either very precious or in a relationship with someone they don't love and value.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 29-Aug-09 22:47:42


justgaveup Sat 29-Aug-09 22:50:20

I'm afraid I haven't got any answers but just wanted you to know some of my experience in case it helps.

Also, wanted to share my experience for those of you who think men are 'always' up for it and coping without sex is not as bad as being 'obliged' to have it.

Cutting v long story short. I have a great marriage, I truly love my husband, he is my soulmate, my best friend, he makes me feel loved and cared for, we have a laugh, his is affectionate, cuddly, hand holding, kissing, we share our thoughts and feelings, we have 2 wonderful children and he slogs his guts out to look after me and the kids.

However, he has a very low sex drive and I have a very high sex drive. I knew this getting married but thought I could cope with it. I can't.
His lack of initiation, interest, passion and constant (kindly) rejection has left me with major body and confidence issues. I feel unfeminine and frustrated to the point of screaming.

We have tried everything to try and sort it out, discussions, rows, talking about it, not talking about it, weekends away, sexy underwear, rotas, sex agreements, no sex agreements, crying, screaming, letters, other friends speaking to him about it, me asking if I can get it elsewhere, just agreeing that we would be platonic and there is no answer. As someone else said, he doesn't want sex so that's it!

Like the OP I don't think he is gay (i have asked him several times). In his words,he just isn't 'bothered' about sex. He likes it when he does it but other than that doesn't really think about it. He says it never occurs to him to initiate it cos he never feels horny. He also says that is he constantly stressed about money and exhausted by the kids (i think some of this is an excuse though). At the end of the day, like many women out there he just has a low sex drive.

I don't have any answers for the OP but just wanted to add that maybe it's nothing as deep as being about your rape etc...i'm guessing he just has a low sex drive and like my husband, is genuinely exhausted by kids.

You will find 100 women on here who can relate to those feelings. Women who feel stressed and tired all the time and as happy as they are with their husbands they really couldn't care less whether they had sex or not again.

big hugs, it's a horrible situation to feel sexually unwanted.

justgaveup Sat 29-Aug-09 22:52:12

2rebecca - i agree entirely!

Paolosgirl Sat 29-Aug-09 22:53:14

Really? Your husband is happy to have sex with you knowing that you don't actually want to be having sex at that precise moment in time, but that you are in some way forcing yourself to? Icky...

Prostitutes really don't get 'in the mood' before they have sex - it's a business arrangement. What an odd analogy to have used hmm

mathanxiety Sun 30-Aug-09 01:06:48

Has he ever had his testosterone levels measured? How far is he willing to push himself to make you happy? Not getting the sex life you want from your own DH can destroy your confidence in yourself as a woman over time. Something like this is as big as money problems.

limonchik Sun 30-Aug-09 01:20:25

2rebecca - I agree actually. Sometimes I have sex when I don't particularly want to, sometimes my DP does. Sometimes I make him a nice dinner when I don't particularly want to either because he's been late at work, or he gets up early to make me breakfast when he'd rather be in bed because I'm working early. I've never felt forced or violated or icky about it.

AnAuntieNotAMum Sun 30-Aug-09 01:36:49

Being very physically affectionate with a woman is certainly no guarantee that a man is straight. However, lack of sex doesn't mean that he is gay either. Could even be quite the opposite and he's scared of his feelings that he would like to be more forceful.

Fact is, unless he will open up and talk of his fears and desires, he can't be second guessed.

For now, I'd agree with secondcoming (appropriate name smile ) - start off by you initiating earlier in the evening. If this seems to raise the frequency then you could broach him initiating again.

I believe Relate offer an email service for psychosexual counselling. This might be easier for him rather than having to talk to a stranger face to face.

NumberoneSportacusfan Sun 30-Aug-09 06:58:32

There's a big difference between 'getting yourself in the mood' when you don't feel like sex with your partner and being pressurised into sex or forcing yourself.

I am sure there are many people who aren't actually feeling horny when their partner makes a pass but the desire comes as their partner shows affection and kisses and caresses them.

If we only ever had sex when we were both in the mood at the same time and in the same place and the children are asleep, it would only happen about 4 times a year!

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