Sexless marriage (male point of view)

ifonly.therewasMarch 27, 2008

Hi all. This is my first post here. I've been having issues with this for a while and it never gets better. I am a 26 year old male, been married for 5 and 1/2 years. Wife is 28, almost 29. We had a decent sex life when we were first married, I guess. it was like at least 2-3 times a week, still significantly lower than most newly wed couples. Anyway, it's gotten worse and worse for no appearant reason. The wife has NO medical problems. These days I do good to get her to even pay attention to me talking about having sex, much actually do it. I talk to her about it, or at least I try, and she's distant. We've not done anything for a little over 3 months now. I feel like we're an 80 year old couple some days. I actively persue her, and love her, and i do everything I can for her and to make her feel beautiful and wanted and loved.....but there is nothing physical between us. I don't know what's going on and i cannot get her to talk to me. She doesn't drive, she goes to work and comes home via my mother right after work during the week and we are around each other on the she has no time to be cheating on me, so that cannot be it. I just wonder what I should be doing if I'm not doing anything right, or what can I do to make it better. I feel like I have a roommate more than a wife most of the time..........I need help, I love her, but this road will lead to cheating and divorce..........I don't want either.....WHAT CAN I DO?

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Lack of sex is often a symptom of a bigger problem. What else is going on at home?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 9:02AM
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you sound like a lovly man.i cud just give u a hug
is your wife depressed.
you sound like youve tryed everything,i wouldnt bother making the effort anymore,doesnt seem to be getin u anywhere.maybe she as fell out of love with you.upsettin ,but it does happen.turn the tables and act as thow u haven given up on her,it might wake her up a bit

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 9:11AM
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First, do you have children? Many women after they have children will become completely uninterested in intimacy. I think they experience sensory overloaded by touch with children needing so much from them, that it can seem like one more person needing something from them. There have been articles written about this.

If you do not have children, and since your way has not worked, what if you attempted reverse psychology. In other words, what if for a while you pretended to be completely uninterested in her. If you see her coming out of the shower, don't even acknowledge her. In bed, ignore her. If she trys to flirt with you, don't respond. When she becomes aware that you are completely uninterested, perhaps she will pursue you, because (like you are right now) she will question where she stands with you, and feel less secure. I am asking others on this forum to comment. Is this awful advice??? If so, I will apologize in advance, because in marriage there should not be these games going on, and have tried everything else. Sometimes when someone is a bit hard to get, the challenge makes it exciting. If you are like an annoying puppy dog (trying way too hard that it becomes annoying) try backing off a bit and see if it gets her attention to turn this around. Anyway, I am asking others on this forum to my advice awful, and potentially damaging to this marriage?

Dr Laura Schlessinger has a book out that deals with women harshly for doing this to their husbands. It is called "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands". I have not read it, but perhaps if she found it hidden in your sock drawer, she might read it, and if she does, she will be challenged on doing this in a marriage.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 9:20AM
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Back to the beginning....when you were doing it.....did she like it or just tolerate it? Did she seek you out or just endure you when you were in the mood?

Something's happened. Find out what. Sounds like depression or some other kind of head-trouble to me.

Some women just don't really care for it much and cooperate because they think they have to. After a few years of marriage they don't think they should have to anymore. I call that a "hidden agenda" but most women object to that label. Obviously have no idea what your situation may be, but I hope it isn't that.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 10:33AM
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I know BNice means well, but I'd say her suggestion is not a good one for a healthy marriage. Playing games isn't good - diplomatic honesty is.

If you're constantly pursuing her for sex (even in a low-key way), she's probably feeling a lot of pressure to have sex and feeling very annoyed by it -- not realizing how long it's been since you've actually had any because for her, it's been (perceived as) constant pressure and implied criticism.

What about flat-out telling her that you need some sex, and if she'll give you some now, you won't ask her again for a week. Then stick to it. Once a week is not a lot to ask of her. Set a date night, and stipulate that on date night, you get sex; on non-date nights, all physical intimacy is of the closeness-only variety, NO PRESSURE for sex. Don't try for the hour-long romantic marathon love-making session because she's not up for it -- go for the fast-food low-demand variety. Work your way up to something better when she shows you she's receptive to it.

It's not romantic, certainly, and not suggested as a permanent solution. Just a stop-gap to build toward a more normal relationship. While I imagine your initial reaction is "I don't want to have sex with someone who doesn't want to have sex with me" -- stifle it. You want her to want you again, and until she's freed from the constant pressure, she'll continue to resist.

I imagine it's more common than not that one partner in a marriage has a higher sex drive than the other, and when that happens, some sort of compromise needs to be made.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 11:02AM
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I would bet she may be depressed. The fact that she doesn't drive and it sounds like she has little outside activities may be contributing or may be a symptom. Maybe some time away from each other would actually help. And, don't be so quick to rule out physical problems... I'm not sure you can ever 100% rule them out. Maybe she doesn't have anything serious, but her thyroid could be off a little, or even her sleep cycle could be messing with her hormones. Physical/mental problems are often the cause of lack of sexual desire especially if you are being as nice as you sound.

I would have an honest talk with her telling her it's not healthy or good for your marriage to stop having sex. But, even if she does agree to compromise and have sex with you on occasion, it's still not solving the root of the problem. I'm sure you'd like her to want to have sex and enjoy it. Have you considered counseling? Maybe she could even talk to her doctor.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 3:52PM
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Is your wife on birth control pills? They can cause loss of libido, so perhaps a different method of birth control will increase her libido. Another reason some women avoid sex is if they are not having an orgasm and are too shy to show their partner exactly how to help them achieve one. So they may get into the habit of faking it, and if sex just isn't that pleasureable for them, they may eventually just not care anymore.

Perhaps you should ask your wife if she's truthfully been able to achieve orgasm when you make love. If she says no, then you can tell her you understand why she wouldn't care if she has sex very often, and you are determined to remedy the situation with her help. If she says yes, then you will have to ask her if she can be really truthful and specific as to why she feels so ambivalent about sex and see what she says.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 6:06PM
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How is her relationship with your mother? Is anything upsetting your wife? Is your wife on any medication that may have a side affect of reducing her interest?

And no offense taken Sweeby, I was questioning it myself even as I typed it.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 5:51AM
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My wife has a decent relationship with her mother, she's been checked for depression, anemia, and stuff like that. She doesn't have a medical condition, and we do get out and do stuff.....we do spend time apart.....and she has friends and other people she can hang out with anytime she wants. So far as coming on too strong, most days I haven't even bothered her about sex or anything other than a kiss here and there. She normally gets a lot out of it when we are together and she's told me that before.....and there are all the signs of her having a good time. So all of these reasons make no sense.

Finally last night I talked to her about it, just like you guys suggested. I've talked to her about it before, and usually she does okay for a day or two and then it goes back to where it was's only been a few hours at this I'll keep you guys informed about the way it goes. Hopefully it'll be better this time and things will go as planned. We'll just have to see.....but so far thanks a lot guys! :-)

Also I'm going to buy that book someone suggested and we are both going to read it!!!!!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 9:26AM
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I'm glad you talked to your wife! I hope as you both get older that things even out... Around your age I would have said sex was more important to my DH, and now in our early 40s it seems to be more important to me. I see the earlier poster's point about trying to shift the dynamic. My DH is fairly laid back about initiating and still gets to enjoy a lively sex life because I am constitutionally incapable of letting it slide. Sometimes I back off so that he will step forward-- works kinda, but I'm not that subtle and usually end up throwing something of a snit, he has to woo me (not difficult where he is concerned:)) and all is well again for another three months or so until he becomes overengaged with work or WOW and it's time for another snit. There really is no good substitute and it is not one of the many needs that you can legitimately meet outside of marriage. DH's family is not as huggy and kissy as mine, we just need a lot of physical contact. I do feel for you as three months without would just about do me in. Barring physical separation or post partum I don't think we've ever gone longer than 2-3 weeks. Sounds like you're on the right track, there have been some good suggestions, if your relationship is otherwise strong and your wife willing to talk you may not need to seek outside help. There are supposed to be other good books about mismatched libidos that might help. I do hope you get it worked out as you sound like a really nice guy.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 9:58PM
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I'd welcome input on a difficult situation. My wife is post-menopausal (following a hysterectomy) and takes meds for mild (now stabilized) depression. Her libido is zilch as a result of these two; before these, it had been less than I would like but still okay. Lots of attempts, all my initiative for discussion and/or tiny breakthroughs have been unproductive. I was glad to see a forum on this subject and welcome ideas.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 3:37PM
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Jchicago, I hear the book "The Sex Starved Marriage" is a helpful place to start with a non-threatening look at both sides of the problem. There is another board, "mismatched libidos" under the "love" section of the ivillage messageboards. Lots of guys post there. I find it a little bit tough as some of the long standing posters seem to have some pretty difficult mismatches. In your case, where there was a better libido match previously, I would hope you and your wife could work to a better place. I have heard both of those issues (menopause and antidepressants) can really zap your sex drive. Perhaps if she would be willing to talk to her doctor there's an alternative not so hard on the drive. I do think the lower-drive person forgets what it is like. Like walking around perpetually underfed and being told, "You're always thinking about food!" (My DH has too much value for life and limb to say such a thing, of course, but I have heard of many low-libido wives saying it to their husbands and it seems so unfair.) Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 9:53PM
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Jchicago, a friend of mine also had zero sex drive for years after a hysterectomy. She mentioned this to her doctor at a regular physical exam and he gave her a prescription cream that greatly increased her drive and sensitivity. I believe the cream contained some testosterone or other hormone. It may be worth discussing with a doctor.

At her next physical exam, my friend told her doctor, "My husband said to tell you THANKS!"

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 9:52AM
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ifonly, You mentioned that this has been going on for sometime but that things were healthy in the beginning. Now, though, there is no physical contact and your DH is also distant emotionally. You also mention that DH is in good physical health and not suffering with depression.

Unless DH is angry which can dampen libido or has issues from her past (abuse of some kind) which might need to be addressed, then it is possible that she just might be this way and it is "normal" for her.

When people first get together and fall in love there is a change in body chemistry which causes the sex drive to increase so they can bond. After a couple of years it dampens down and the true nature of the person emerges. If that is the case in your situation then some compromise needs to take place on both your parts. That is why it might be a good idea to explore the issue with a therapist whithout making judgments. If she cares about you and you about her you might be able to find a middle ground. If DH is not willing to work out a solution then, when and if that occurs, you will have to make some important choices about your future. Stay with her and accept a life such as you have come to describe or exit the situation. When all means have been undertaken to make a positive change and the situation exhausts you, then the time will come when you must accept life as it is. It is possible that in the no so distant future that you will become an angry man. Someone who will be bitter. You may cheat, or fight a lot, or become jealous of others. If children are involved they will be impacted. Or, you can accept it (and I mean really give up trying to change DH) and be happy in your circumstances by learning not to want or expect more.

It is premature to advise a person to leave a marriage. But, you are young without children and have a long life ahead of you. A sexless marriage will necessitate that you change and some cannot easily make the transition so easily. It will be your "cross" to bear. Wishing you and your marriage all the Best with much Hope that your efforts work out Well with a Happy Future ahead of you.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 3:06PM
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Sex starts in the kitchen! Are you helping her around the house? Washing dishes is romantic. For years my hubby and I were distant because I felt that sex was all he wanted and that he really didn't care about me. You most women can't be distant all day and then jump into bed and exptected to perform. We need a slow warm up throughout the day. Show us you care all day long, not just at night.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 3:49PM
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"Show us you care all day long, not just at night."
Show us everyday, not just the day you want sex.
Spend time and energy on non-sexual stuff.
Women make love with their whole being, especially their minds. For them it isn't all about that 30 minute romp! (I am being very

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 12:37AM
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Not all refusers in marriages do so because they are lacking attention outside of the marital bed.

A refusing spouse spoils everything when they use rejection to control their spouses.

If a spouse is feeling mistreated in other areas then communcation is key to maintaining a healthy marriage.

It is not normal to deny the spouse intimacy. The refuser is cutting off their own nose to spite their face. There has to be something deeper going on in the op's situation that needs to be faced.

They have to take the necessary steps to find out if that is possible.

Sometimes it is a health issue and sometimes psychological or a mix of the two.

If there is nothing askew in those areas then the OP might just be dealing with someone with control issues.

A sad situation for a young married man to find himself in.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 1:45AM
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I agree that it is wrong to withhold sex, regardless of which spouse is doing it. I have heard many women talk about not "giving him any," as if sex is something men GET and women GIVE. To me it is as essential as food, water, air, and sleep .
The point here isn't about spitefully withholding so much as why the wife isn't interested.
Some reasons why a spouse loses desire:
Physical/medical problem, medication, depression, feeling less attractive, stress, and fatigue. Sometimes it is the other partner's physical appearance/hygiene. AND sometimes it is because the spouse feels like that is their only interaction.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 2:01PM
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It's certainly a positive step that you are talking about it, and that she is willing to read the book.

You need to learn the reason why she has been distant sexually towards you. There has to be an explanation. You both need to understand it and act on it. Without doing this, the problem is likely to keep repeating.

You both need to communicate what your needs and expectations are in the relationship. It cannot be one sided or it won't work. There should be a middle ground where compromise is acceptable to both of you.

If she is not interested in you sexually that much or not at all anymore, then you need to know. You both are young and a lifetime of frustration in a low/non sex marriage might be too much for you.

Your next step should be to see a good counselor.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 1:24PM
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