Another married sex problem

bellegirlFebruary 27, 2007

I've been reading some of the posts here and it looks like I'm not the only one. But I've also got a marriage without sex and it really hurts.

My husband is a little older than me and he has had some health problems but he is still very active and works and does sports and all. So it's not like he is an invalid.

But about 4 years ago he just announced to me that sex was not interesting to him any more and that was it. That was the end. I told him I didn't agree but it didn't matter. Since then I've just been trying my best to be a good wife and not to feel resentful but that is very hard. I hadn't planned on life like this. I wanted an affectionate comfortable life even though we are a little older (I'm in my 50s). I don't even think that is too old for sex but at least there could be some cuddling or something, right?

He doesn't want to talk about it. It's just how it is. So should I just be obnoxious and insist that he discuss it - how do you make somebody talk who doesn't want to? Or what? If he doesn't even want to talk about it why would I think he would be willing to give in at all?

As a matter of fact, after four years of being shut out I don't even know if I could have sex with him! I feel like he is a stranger and I know I feel pretty upset about it - not really affectionate although we do (shock!) get along pretty good. We don't fight or argue. We just don't talk about this. And I don't say anything about how sad and rejected I feel. I try to be as good to him as I can because I did promise to be his wife and all that. Just because he is this way I still have to live up to my promises, right?

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"So should I just be obnoxious and insist that he discuss it -

I understand where you're coming from, but I think you need to insist that the two of you discuss it WITHOUT being obnoxious. Or pressuring him. Or making him feel unmanly. Or any of those other unpleasant things that will make him clam up. You need to know where he's coming from and understand his perspective.

It might be a good idea to really plan your end of the conversation. What you want to say and what you need him to hear. What he might hear erroneously (miscomunications do happen) and how you will react calmly and supportively if he reacts defensively or angrily. NOT talking about it has put a big wall between the two of you, and admit it or not, your level of emotional intimacy suffers along with the physical.

It sounds like there's so much that is good with your marriage that it's worth the effort to bring back the parts that aren't working for you.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 10:17PM
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Oh, you are so right about that big wall! That's a good way to put it. And you are also right that emotional intimacy is not so good now either. I miss that so much. I feel shy around him. I won't undress in the same room, you know? And we've been married for 13 years already! But it's like if he doesn't want it maybe something is wrong with it, you know?

I'm not sure about talking with him since he has made it really plain that he doesn't want to. He is a real hard head! When he doesn't want to do something you might as well beat your head on the wall. In a way that is not always a bad thing. I mean that stubborness can have a good side and it's sometimes a good thing not to waffle around, right? But it isn't helping me right now, is it?

I just wouldn't know how to even start to talk with him. And, like I said, I've gotten to the point where I don't even know if I want him back like it was!! That sounds crazy even to me. But it's like I've lost my confidence about sex. I'd be scared to death if he did decide he wanted to! I'm not sure I could even beg for it because I don't know if I could do it. Does that make any sense at all? I just miss feeling really close and special - like you are closer than with anybody else. And I miss having someone to hug and snuggle up with. See, he doesn't do any of that anymore either - no kissing or hugging. Our bed has a great big lump in the middle where nobody pushes the feathers out of the middle of the comforter. In fact most of the time he sleeps on the couch because he says I wiggle too much or I snore. I'm really embarrassed about that but I don't know how to change it and I hate for him not to sleep well so I don't fuss when he sleeps in there.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 11:04PM
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My husband says I snore too (embarressed here as well) he has been having issues with getting sleep and as he is a light sleeper I have offered to sleep on the couch, he won't hear of it.
Do you think your husband could be having a issue with 'down there'? you know what I mean, most men will not admit they have a problem in that area, instead they just avoid the activity, thereby causing hurt feelings. Maybe his sex drive did just dry up. If he is taking any medications, some of them will cause a decrease in their sex drive (anti depresents will do that)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 11:22PM
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Your husband shows no intrest in sex at all??? Or just not with you?
If it is not at all,there are natural reasons this could be.One is,when a man gets older,his testosterone levels drop~and they just arent as sexual as they once were.They can still enjoy sex,it just isnt a big priority anymore.
Two is,possibly he could have erectile issues that he is embarrssed about,and doesnt want to discuss it.
I agree with sweeby that talking to him without being critical or pressuring him is best. If he says he just isnt so into sex anymore,you need to make it clear to him that it is his affection you miss most.And,go from there...

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 3:38AM
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Micke and coolmama, thanks for your comments. I do think he could have difficulty as you say. We are neither one getting younger, you know? I did promise to stay by him in sickness and health and I guess that covers the limits that sometimes come with age, don't you think? I don't like it but I can accept it like I could accept an illness or accident.

I did ask my husband to talk with his doctor about it and find out if there is a physical reason. He never has done that or hasn't told me if he did. So I have to wonder if it is just a physical thing or if he just doen't want to be with me any more. If it's just that the equipment doesn't work right I don't see why it would keep him from ever giving me a hug. His arms still sure work for lots of other things!

It hurts me that since he decided he isn't interested in sex anymore he also doesn't seem to be interested in spending time with me or showing any affection. As some have said, it's like living with a roommate. But if he really was a roommate I surely wouldn't have to do his laundry and all the cleaning, cooking, and shopping. I didn't mind all that so much before but now I kinda resent having to do all the wife work when I know I won't get any wife treatment. It's like he's real happy with the way things are and he doesn't seem to notice or care that I'm not satisfied with it. He just doesn't seem to give a thought to how I feel.

I'm really annoyed that he decided it all - he lost interest so now I don't have anyone to meet my needs for love and affection with and at my age I probably never will again. And now all I can do about it is tiptoe around and talk with him - but don't make him feel bad - and tell him how much I hurt. Now I know that he doesn't want to talk about it any more than he wants to talk about anything else except guy stuff. And I'm sure that if I try to get him to talk about it he will get mad at me. Whenever he feels like he is being criticized or questioned or crossed he gets mad. You know that thing people say sometimes about a strong offense is the best defense. Like that. He knows I can't handle that and that he will win because I'll give up. And especially with this. What I want is more affection and to have him as a special friend if he can't be a husband in all ways. I sure don't want him blowing his top at me.

He has made it really clear that he meant what he said about no more sex. It's been almost 4 years. I don't think there is anything I could say that would make him change about it and I know it sounds like I am a spoiled kid but I also feel like if I have to beg for it, I don't want it! I only barely have a little pride left after being rejected by my own husband. I sure wish there was another way to approach this thing than to offer that to him and let him reject it, too. As it is right now having to do without and feeling like I've been rejected has changed how I feel. I still care about him but I don't feel the same as I did before. I don't think you can feel the same when you believe that your husband would hurt you on purpose and not even care or make a move to stop it.

Anyway, you guys may be right that I should talk to him and I'm sorry to seem like I'm not accepting your suggestions. I don't mean it like that. I guess I'm just trying to figure out how I really do feel about all of this.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 4:51PM
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I can hear the pain behind your words. And I understnad the feelings of rejection and shame that go with it, having been there, to some extent, in my first marriage.

To most men, when a woman shows physical affection by touching or hugging, he interprets it as indicating a desire for sex. (Which is why so many women who don't want to initiate sex will avoid hugging or cuddling.) It sounds to me like your husband is avoiding hugging and cuddling you because he's afraid you will respond by wanting sex. And it sounds like he is deathly afraid of being asked to perform...

If you're not ready for the whole conversation, maybe you could try a quick "I can live without the sex part, but I really need you to hug me and hold me sometimes." And see if removing that "fear of initiating sex" from the equation gets back a little of the safe, cuddly touching. Who knows -- that might actually be enough.

Or make an appointment with a therapist and ask him to go with you. Go alone if he won't, just to talk and get help from someone who actually is trained to deal with this stuff!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 7:18PM
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I too can hear your pain and lonliness. Its strange how we can be in a marriage, and be so close to someone, but be so distant as well. Its aweful that you feel so intimidated, when you think of bringing up how you feel.

I think Sweeby hit the nail on the head, when she said just say you want a hug and not sex. He may well be very afraid of being asked to perform, for some reason. Perhaps you could take it in stages, just get into the habit of doing that for a month or so, until you feel a little more close, then he may open up more.

Men are funny creatures aren't they (sorry men!). Its hard to work them out sometimes, I am sure they would say the same about women ! I think as women, we MUST learn the right way to say things, when bringing up difficult subjects, with men.

I have read a few good books about communication, and perhaps you could go to your local library and look up some books on that topic.

Gotta go, thunder storm.

All the best.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 1:00AM
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Great insight,Sweeby.
"Anyway, you guys may be right that I should talk to him and I'm sorry to seem like I'm not accepting your suggestions. I don't mean it like that. I guess I'm just trying to figure out how I really do feel about all of this."

I just want to add that you shouldnt feel bad even if you dont follow our advice. These are very personal issues,and we arent there in the situation.We are only here to give you our opinions and try to maybe help you see something you didnt before. Yes,this is an advice forum,but none of us are trained therapists,so I certainly wouldnt take it to heart if you didnt listen to me. I think it is mostly a great place to vent,get some support,and some suggestions.
Bottom line,you have to do what is right for you.Good luck talking to him,I hope you two can work this thing out.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 3:08AM
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One half of a marriage does not have the right to unilaterally decide on no sex. You could divorce him for this if you had that in mind.

I had a very close friend whose husband did the same thing- Two years later he had to be admitted to the hospital with breathing problems and she discovered he was into heavy drugs.

It's time to have some verbal intimacy with your husband, if nothing else. You deserve to know why he has chosen to deprive you and himself of a very important segment of your marriage. This is your right, so stop tiptoeing.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 10:18PM
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Scarlett, I agree that he doesn't have the "right" to quit sex. But in practice he can. Either of us can change - it may not be pleasant or expected or easy but we can and do change. In this case, I have come to believe that he quit because he can't do it anymore - at least not regularly - and he doesn't want to face the embarrassment of failing to perform. I wish he had enough faith in me to at least "play" with me. I would be happy with a little sexual play - even if it didn't end up with a steamy scene at the end. I'd be glad for a little stimulation and the fact that our relationship is different from the ones I have with anyone else. I miss the intimacy and the closeness of letting ourselves go and trusting enough to be together that way.

I don't think he is into drugs. I think that would kill him really quick.

The fact is, I believe I know the reason. I just wish he were willing to be open and intimate with me and he is not. I could push and wreck what we DO have - a comfortable - if not intimate - relationship. Or I can suck it up and forget about sex and get along with what I have. Not great but at least it is peaceful.

That is SO second best. But it seems to make sense. No?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 10:42PM
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How sad is it that you can't even talk to him about this? You just make up your mind to let it be because he has declared that there will be no more sex. You make excuses for him and you stifle your own needs....well, it is just sad.

It IS unfortunate if he "can't" anymore. But that happens to a lot of people. What do they do?

Maybe it will work. Maybe you will live out your life without the intimacy of marriage that you obviously want...just the work - the adjustment to another person. The extra laundry. The compromises about paint colors and purchases. But the relationship will be like a roommate rather than a husband. And there is no grease for that wheel.

Isn't it worth an argument? Isn't it worth a little uneasiness? How hard can it be - you said you have been together for what...13 years? And you can't say to him, "Hey. I really miss sex. Yeah. Funny, innit? As old and wrinkled as I am! But I miss that. Would it be possible for you to at least give me a hug now and then? It doesn't have to be real S-E-X!! Just a hug. Could you do that for me?"

Yeah, well. I talk a good game. My situation isn't so different from yours. It IS hard. You feel like you will never live over the rejection. But, honey....don't you think it might be worth trying?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 9:39PM
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Nobody likes to bring this up, but ever heard of do-it-yourself? This is not meant to be a smart-a$$ reply, but a viable solution to your problem.

I doubt it's you. Sounds like he has a physical problem he either hasn't talked to the doctor about or just is embarrassed to admit to you. If that's the case, I'd sure want to know if it's a health problem. Ya' gotta talk to him, dear.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 11:31PM
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Maybe he has erectile dysfunction and is in no mood to confront the issue.

Some blood pressure medications can be a real "turn-off" and contribute to erectile dysfunction. Also affects the libido.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 1:41AM
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Newsflash: while an erect pen!s is very nice, there are other ways to have sex/intimacy. So have you broached the subject with him yet? Have you tried one of the "slide-y' gels ike Astro Glide? It makes sex a lot of fun and helps stimulate a weary pen!s. If all else fails, you may have to consider other alternatives: the do-it-yourself previously mentioned or an outside sexual relationship. Or you can give up sex altogether..and seethe with resentment. Wade in and talk to the guy.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 3:32PM
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