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Treat Yourself to Sex

21 replies

feisfeisfeis · 03/08/2022 08:27

DH and I haven't had sex at all for two years, and only very occasionally for the five years before that, due to his lack of interest.

We'd like to restart, but DH wants to take it slowly.

We've had a book recommended to us "Treat Yourself to Sex" by Brown, Paul & Faulder. It was published in 1980, it's out of print, and the only copies available are second hand. We don't want to buy a second-hand sex book!

Can anyone recommend a similar book?

OP posts:
SueSaid · 03/08/2022 13:12

I don't think books will help. He needs to be open and honest with you, does he find you physically attractive or does he see you more as a friend? Has he ever had a sex drive, does he have kinks that he doesn't want to share. Does he watch porn?

Ask him these questions and if he does fancy you, doesn't have any secrets and wants ro resume sex just go for the cliché of a night away and sexy undies. Good luck.

Saturdaymorningsaregreat · 03/08/2022 13:53

I don't know about books but I do recall enjoying watching (with my wife in the early days of marriage) some of the "Lovers' Guide" videos by Andrew Stanway. Quite explicit but definitely not porn and aimed at exploring joyful sex in relationships.

Groundbreaking at the time and maybe a bit dated now (if the 1990s is viewed as ancient history?!) but something to watch together might be helpful?

I'm sure the DVDs will be available (brand new!) online from the Lovers' Guide website or Amazon?

feisfeisfeis · 03/08/2022 13:55

I don't know what the problem is. I'm not sure DH knows what the problem is.

DH is very clear that he doesn't want to speak to a GP, or see a counsellor. He is convinced they would laugh in his face. A book seemed like a good solution.

Does he find you physically attractive or does he see you more as a friend?

I think he finds me attractive - I certainly still find him attractive.

Has he ever had a sex drive?

Yes, we had over a decade of great sex.

Does he have kinks that he doesn't want to share.

I'd be astonished if he did. I wouldn't say our sex life was vanilla - maybe vanillaish - but for DH romance was always important. Flowers, chocolates, scented candles, music, wine - even when sex was good, it was rarely spontaneous as DH liked "setting the scene." He's still quite romantic.

Does he watch porn?

Again, I'd be astonished if he did. We have separate bedrooms, so I can't say 100%, but I'm at least 98% sure he doesn't.

Just go for the cliché of a night away and sexy undies.

DH has an "alpha male" career and tends not to do anything if he doesn't think he can do it successfully. I'd be happy with any form of sexual contact to be honest, but I don't think DH would risk a "night away and sexy undies" if he wasn't confident that he was going to be sexually amazing.

That's why the book seemed a good idea to both of us. A gradual re-introduction to sex, with small, non-failable steps.

FWIW, I'm not aware of DH ever having "failed" in bed, but he holds himself to a high standard. Throughout our marriage we've had occasional rows over e.g. wallpapering a room, or drilling a hole in the house for a hanging basket, and it's turned out that DH didn't want to do it because he wasn't sure how to, or whether he could do it successfully, and he didn't want me to do it either, because he didn't want me to do something successfully if he couldn't. He's very alpha male that way.

OP posts:
feisfeisfeis · 03/08/2022 14:09

Just go for the cliché of a night away and sexy undies.

Also, one of the last times we had sex - in 2018 I think - was exactly that scenario. DH had booked dinner, bed and breakfast in an expensive hotel. It was lovely, but it didn't kick-start our sex life.

OP posts:
SueSaid · 03/08/2022 14:23

Why do you sleep separately? I'd start sleeping together for starters tbh, intimacy is often better if spontaneous. If snoring is an issue I'd recommend Bose sleepbuds, we have a noisy household and nothing disturbs me when they're in.

How old is he, are you thinking it's probably more like an erectile dysfunction problem then if all else is good? Could he try viagra or similar?

Imo books may not help as you've had a good sex life before you obviously know each others preferences. Try an erotic film to get him in the mood. Do you have kids or any other life issues that may be a distraction?

Sorry to be negative but if you sleep separately I bet he has been masturbating/watching porn which is fine but not if you are being neglected. You just need to find the reason for his reluctance, he will know but unless he shares it's stalemate isn't it. The choice may be a sexless marriage or a fwb. Would he mind if you had sex elsewhere?

feisfeisfeis · 03/08/2022 15:15

Why do you sleep separately?

Partly snoring, partly he's a very light sleeper, easily disturbed and he can't function at work without a good night's sleep.

Are you thinking it's probably more like an erectile dysfunction problem then if all else is good?

Maybe. But I've never been aware of ED being an issue.

Do you have kids or any other life issues that may be a distraction?

Our kids are young adults and have their own homes now. DC2 had to move home during lockdown, but moved out again at the end of last year.

Would he mind if you had sex elsewhere?

I think it would destroy him. We did have one awkward conversation when I thought he might be suggesting I get a FWB, but when I asked him to clarify he was appalled and horrified that I had thought he might mean that. Also, I don't want a FWB, I want him. Anyone else would feel like I was getting a consolation prize.

OP posts:
SueSaid · 03/08/2022 15:34

'I think it would destroy him'

Well that's really positive isn't it, so you can rule out trawling Fabswingers!

Maybe it is ED, usually not a problem until it becomes one especially if he's over 50 which I'm presuming he is if you've got older kids.

It must be hard having no intimacy in 4yrs but you both sound like you want to address it so if books don't help try retro erotic films, might get him going! Or stick some viagra in his tea, only joking sorry to be flippant i hope you get it sorted Flowers

Whatliesbeneath707 · 03/08/2022 19:35

@feisfeisfeis how about starting to build more intimacy, as a first step. This doesn't have to be all sexual, but it might lead you there. I wonder if taking sex off the agenda might take some of the pressure of DH. Could you openly chat to him about it not having to be perfect & PIV sex & orgasms don't have to be the goal. You could agree that you want to explore what you both enjoy, whether that's setting the scene & making it feel romantic or are you going to see what you both might like in terms of touch & experiences. Could you imagine that you'd met for the first time & you were (re) discovering what feels nice & turns you on?

What about taking baths/showers with each other or giving each other a massage. Would these things reignite the sexual spark? Dr Karen Gurney (aka the sex doctor on Instagram) talks about increasing sexual currency when you've had a period without sex. She talks about taking opportunities to touch, stroke & kiss each other when doing the everyday mundane things at home. This will hopefully build up to creating a spark that makes you want to go further. Karen Gurney has written a book called Mind the Gap. I can't remember if it is aimed more towards women but it might be worth a look.
Another person to follow on Instagram is hello Jenny Keane. She did a live Q&A the other night and regularly covers topics like intimacy, ED, lack of interest etc. She runs online workshops that get rave reviews- you can stay anonymous with your camera off. Often they are suitable for both men & women. She also has a website that might be useful.
The only other book I can think of is Come as you are by Emily Nagoski. This is aimed at women & it is quite hefty on the science but she explains the psychology/science behind things like desire, relationships, arousal & sex.

I hope you find something that works - let us know how you get on.

PinotPony · 03/08/2022 21:27

I agree with @Whatliesbeneath707. You won't rebuild your sex life without establishing some intimacy first. Do you still hold hands? Kiss? Cuddle on the sofa?

If you've been effectively living as housemates, I think you need to get comfortable just touching each other again. Massage is great for that. No sex, just re-learning each other's bodies. Being naked together in the bath or shower.

It's not clear whether your DH is still masturbating. Have you asked him? That might give an indication as to whether the issue relates to his own physical or psychological ability or, alternatively, how he perceived you and the relationship.

How old is DH? Even if he's not experiencing ED, his testosterone levels might be dropping which can affect libido. Worth a trip to the gp for a blood test to rule it out.

feisfeisfeis · 03/08/2022 22:28

We do hug, hold hands and kiss. We don't cuddle on the sofa.

We're both in our fifties. There is no way he would go to the doctor for a blood test; he is convinced he would be a laughing stock. Apart from treatment for two sports injuries (an acceptably masculine reason for an alpha male to see a doctor!) he hasn't seen a doctor in the last decade. Possibly the last two decades.

If it was ED I think he'd try to keep it a secret. Which might explain things. But I've never been aware of an issue, and if it was an issue, I'm the person he would realise it was an issue with IYSWIM.

OP posts:
PinotPony · 03/08/2022 22:34

I think you need to ask him outright if he is still getting erections. It's relevant to the discussion about the lack of sex in the relationship and should be something you can both talk about without embarrassment or judgement.

If he's not, then no amount of book reading is going to help.

PinotPony · 03/08/2022 22:40

Why would he think a GP would laugh? It's a biological fact that men lose testosterone in their 50s and women lose oestrogen. If a woman can get HRT, then there's no shame in a man getting a prescription for testosterone.

Even alpha males should look after their health!

Namechangeforthe · 03/08/2022 22:51

Seeing the GP would be better but if he is adamant about not going he could order a testosterone test online.

HowlongWillThisTakeNow · 04/08/2022 15:31

Don’t bother with the Drs, they won’t do anything for the sex drive of Middle Aged men, unless his T levels are so low he cannot function as a person, you be better off with an online blood test like Numan that checks for lots of different things.

Then everything else the other ppl say, just get naked together and enjoy each other with no sex

Staynow · 04/08/2022 18:41

Why don't you just come up with all the different steps between the two of you? Could be quite a turn on in itself!!

Wakemeup17 · 05/08/2022 00:46

Does he have anxiety or something? (The example with wallpaper and drilling would suggest that to me). You need to get to the root of what's caused the lack of sex in the first place and see if it can be fixed.
Why are you tolerating lack of sex and lack of conversation about it?
I think the book is the red herring. You want the book, buy the book, what does it matter that it's second hand? No one was (probably) masturbating over it.
It's just yet another thing to delay doing anything about the dead bedroom situation.

Namechangednorth · 05/08/2022 05:45

I do think taking slowly is a good idea. Understanding why it stopped may help as it sounds very much his decision?

Gently try to rebuild intimacy. I don't think having a full and frank discussion about likes and wants for sex will be easy before doing so. I always used to find in a new relationship that those discussions were easier in bed when we were playing. If I (or both) were already turned in it's much easier to open up and gradually find out interests and wants .

Don't discount the sexy lingerie but maybe slowly.

lostincumbria · 05/08/2022 06:51

Agree with so much of the advice above. Have intimate nights where you agree in advance there will absolutely be no sex.

So date night/movie night/meal out where you're just going to connect with everything bar a hand holding, brief kiss is off the table. Then another. Then another, but maybe a full on kissing session (or whatever mild form of contact works for you) - no nudity, no touching. Keep taking a barrier down, touching but top half only over clothes, etc.

Keep sex off the table until, hopefully, it will just seem right for him.

I do worry about the "laugh in my face" comment, and his fear of failure. Sounds like there's an awful lot for him to unpack and fix there.

Joey69 · 05/08/2022 07:09

It's not clear whether your DH is still masturbating. Have you asked him? That might give an indication as to whether the issue relates to his own physical or psychological ability or, alternatively, how he perceived you and the relationship.

^^ I think this is key, he might have psychological barriers around fear of failure that are holding him back from initiating sex, maybe a fear of failure based on the “drilling” anecdote, also sex is such an elephant in the room, it’s soo difficult to restart with an existing partner once it stops.
have you got a big enough shower that you can both fit in, that’s always fun, you can get your hands on each other with no sexual pressure.

BTW , I’m a 50 something man with adult kids, my sex drive is not used to be and to be honest if I didn’t have sex again, it would not be the end of the world, but being close to someone is nice

notlongtoo · 08/08/2022 12:27

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Tiger2018 · 12/08/2022 12:26

OP, I think building intimacy is the key here. If you google Dr Betty Martin she has a 3 minute game that I think both of you will enjoy. She does videos on youtube. Good luck!

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