Sexless marriage discussion Part II

demeronApril 8, 2008

I was reading the unfortunate tale of the father of twins in the previous thread. I guess my question is this, why would anyone, man or woman, feel that refusing sex for months or years is an okay thing to do to their partner? And then to refuse counseling on top of it? As if that were a normal expectation? Am I the nut, or is that just Not Okay? I know that some marriages apparently have that expectation, so I'm not talking about those where it is part of the contract, either verbal or unspoken. I mean ordinary marriages where there is no physical disability (and even then, surely there are always ways to include touch, even if it's not conventional sex per se?) I know I am 41 which is where some of us women become real nuisances :)-- kind of like 20 year old guys-- but why oh why would any wife or husband think it is okay to refuse sex that long?

I think in Judaism there was a rule where the wife was entitled to sex x times a week based on the husband's type of job... if hard physical labor, less often, if somebody that worked with his brain, every day.

Admittedly, very young children have a draining effect on the love life. You don't feel sexy, particularly if you are breastfeeding and have small persons borrowing your body all day. Still, even if you cannot bring yourself to have sex, you should at the very least recognize it as a serious problem and be willing to talk about it. You can resort to Other Methods which demonstrate affection for your partner and concern about their needs.

I second Carla's good advice about doing one's best to help out with the kids and housework, provide time away for the wife, etc. Nothing wrong with romantic novels and movies which help keep a woman's pilot light going. Ask her why she's resistant to counseling. Even if she doesn't think it will work, there's no harm in trying a set number of session-- maybe four. And it would be a gesture of affection and good faith towards the marriage.

I do wonder if the wife in this case has some emotional/mental issues around sex. A friend of mine had a boyfriend like that. If she made the gentlest suggestion or mentioned something from her relatively tame past, he would not be able to talk to her for days. He told her once he didn't want to be another notch in her bedpost, which is particularly amusing as my friend is clergy with about 3 notches in 20 years of singlehood.

As for me, I will frankly admit that It puts me in a good mood the whole next day. I'm calmer, more cheerful, feel loved and pretty, and am absurdly grateful to my husband for making me feel so good in so many ways. I firmly believe it's like exercise, it doesn't just help you at the time, it helps you long afterwards. There's that EM Forster quote-- "Love is not the body, but it is of the body." So true. Our skin and nerves, the sense of taste and smell, all contribute to the affection we feel for a loved spouse, whose body after 20 years is familiar and beloved territory. The French say that a day without wine is like a day without sunshine. I'm not sure what they would have to say about a lifetime without sex.

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I think couples considering marriage should have hormone levels tested to see if they are compatible. That's what sank my first marriage. Everything else was pretty much fine but we had very different ideas about the sex dept. And it's not like we didn't try on the shoe first..

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 2:23PM
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I need sex like I need air and water. So does my DH. It's an essential part of life. I don't understand couples who go months--even years--without sex. We don't go more than a week and we're in our mid-40s!

We're busy too...full-time jobs and I commute 1.5 hours a day, and there's housework, laundry, meals, teenagers, etc. So what? You make the time for the essentials. Laundry and dishes can wait...your marriage can't.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 5:10PM
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Unfortunately, quite a few people don't much care for sex -- and that's fine. No objection from me. More unfortunately, however, they almost always pretend otherwise when they want to get married. Once married they feel free to revert to type -- and usually do. I regard this as fraud, but its perpetrators universally regard it as fair play. I'm talking about men and women I have known as friends. I was married to one of them for a short time.

I've never approved of affairs and I've never had one. However, I can easily understand why some people would.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 7:51PM
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"I know I am 41 which is where some of us women become real nuisances :)-- kind of like 20 year old guys"
OMG- it is so true, and very frustrating, unless you're married to a 20 year old guy! ;-)
I feel so sorry for DH-NOT!
"I need sex like I need air and water." AMEN.
A lot of spouses use sex and denial of sex like a reward or punishment. That's ridiculous, and selfish.
If one partner is ALWAYS too tired, then they both need to figure out why, and how to fix it!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 1:42AM
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There have been times where due to exhaustion my husband and I went four or five days w/o sex. By day five I was dragon lady. Impossible to deal with. Totally Bi-twatchy....hahaha.

Refusing sex is cruel. It lowers self-esteem and makes you a paranoid mess. "If he aint boffin' me who is he boffin'?"
I couldnt do it. I NEED that connection but thats just me....

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 8:49PM
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In my DH's previous marriage - his wife actually told him she would trade sex for his doing various household chores! Everything had a value- taking down the screens was worth a ...use your imagination here... and mowing the lawn was worth two ...'s and a little .... etc.
Hey, that must be my problem, I'm just giving it away!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 1:56AM
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we usually are too tired and busy during the week. we have physical intimacy during the week like kissing or hugging but we don't usually end up having intercourse. we do have sex on the weekends. sometimes we discuss that maybe we don't have enough sex and maybe we should have it during the week too but then it seems like both of us are OK with the amount most of the time. I had relationships with way more sex than I have now, but everything else was missing. I' d rather have sex only 1-2 a week and have everything else in place...

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 2:17PM
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Scarlett, that is an absolute hoot.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 10:00PM
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Being in a relationship such as this one, can strike mortal blows to one's self esteem. There is no respectable outlet to obtain assurance of your desirability. That doesn't mean that you are lacking in that area. You have to make an active choice not to let your mate's lack of interest define you. Every day make the conscious decision to affirm yourself. Don't let their choice not to engage you in a healthy way control how you view yourself. Don't give your personal Power away. We all know what the definition of a healthy marriage is. Once you come to the realization that you are not the blame for, cannot control the situation or change it all by yourself, you can then restore some balance in your life. There is no point in banging your head against a brick wall. The unegaged partner has to not only want to change but have the drive and persistence to work at it thru whatever medium they then choose. Then, together you can set some goals. However, oftentimes in these situations the problems are long standing with mutual particiation in fights and talks about it with negative results. All of the issues work together to create a complicated maze of issues. I read somewhere that in these situations the sexlessness accounts for 90% of the other problems that the couples complain about. Struggling with this issue impacts upon all the other aspects of married life.

For me the teachings of Alanon saved my sanity and gave me new tools that helped me to maintain my marriage.

The bottom line is about how you finally decide to choose how you want to live by making an inventory of your life goals and needs. Then choose. Explore all the avenues available to make changes that will help your marriage and work at it. When you reach your "rock bottom", then the time comes to decide. Stay in Peace or go .... hopefully with Peace.

Good Luck to all who are dealing with this issue.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 12:51AM
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"Stay in Peace or go .... hopefully with Peace."

Well, there it is.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 7:44PM
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