Married and celibate: Adjusting my relationship expectations in a sexless marriage

Guest post by Anonymous
Photo by spablab – CC BY 2.0
Photo by spablabCC BY 2.0

My husband (let’s call him H) and I have been together for seven years, and I am still madly in love with him. I find him just as smart, funny, and sexy as I did in those first heady days of flirtation and courtship. I would happily make love to him as often as he liked. Unfortunately, this means that we have sex only a few times a year.

We’re barely in our thirties, but H and I are currently in a “sexless marriage” (defined as a couple who have sex “10 times a year or less”). I’m writing this because I want other partners in similar situations to know that they aren’t alone. Most media representations portray men as crazed sex-beasts with insatiable needs. So when you’re rejected by a supposed sex-beast, it can seriously shake your own sexual confidence.

In the first two years of our relationship, we had amazing, beautiful sex. I didn’t expect that giddy passion to last forever, but I was totally unprepared for the sex to stop almost completely, as it has in the last several years. At first, being rejected by my partner confused me. I spent a lot of time worrying: What’s wrong with me? Does he still love me? Does he still find me attractive? Is there someone else?

I have a pretty healthy sexual appetite, but H no longer desires any form of sexy kissing, touching, or physical intimacy. Sometimes we hold hands… but that’s it. And I’m not going to lie: I grieve for this loss.

Losing our sex life has felt like a small death. Though I still deeply love and respect H, and I’m trying to accept him for what he can and cannot give right now, I don’t want to live like this for the rest of my life. At times, this loss feels unbearable. I stay up for hours after he goes to bed — reading, doing work, looking at Facebook — because I’ve had my hopes crushed too many times. If we’re awake in bed together, there is a small chance that he might touch me or kiss me.

But he very rarely does. And since the occasions are so infrequent, when we do have sex, the stakes are much higher. I make dark jokes to myself in my journal (“the old ‘180 days without incident’ sign is hanging up by my vagina again, ticking off the days”), and I can talk about the problem with one or two close girlfriends. But mostly, I feel very alone.

In desperation, I have tried to find explanations/solutions online. Most of the advice is truly terrible. Most sex advice boils down to incredibly superficial solutions: Surprise him with lingerie. Make the first move. Massage each other. I wish it were otherwise, but desire can be so much more complicated than that, especially in long-term relationships.

After a series of painfully awkward rejections, it became clear to me that H was not waiting for me to “initiate desire.” Nor did he give a damn about lingerie, coy suggestions, or frank proposals for sexytime. If anything, I learned that this pressure made things worse. It took me a long time to realize that there was really nothing that I could do or say that would make a difference and that in fact my overt attempts to seduce him were huge turn-offs.

If one partner is suffering from physical/emotional exhaustion, stress, or depression, pressuring them into sex is only going to lead to heartache and resentment for both partners. I am sure that H did not enjoy turning me down. Though perhaps it would have been easier if he had just talked to me about how he felt, I understand in retrospect why he didn’t. Trying to explain why your desire has disappeared, when maybe you don’t understand exactly why yourself, is probably a pretty fraught task. Especially when your partner feels hurt and angry about being repeatedly rejected.

Despite this heartache, I still fiercely love H. There are some really good reasons why he has just not been interested in sex, though I won’t go into them here. But in general, dealing with death, financial hardship, and stressful work/life situations are all pretty big boner-killers for everyone. Though it has been very difficult, I have initiated long discussions with him about how we can get rid of some of these stresses and hopefully one day get our sex drives back in sync. Having these conversations was really scary; we both cried. But over time, these conversations also have made us more emotionally intimate and comfortable with each other in a new way.

In a few weeks, our lives will change significantly: new jobs, new schedules. We’re planning to take a short vacation together — something we’ve never before had the resources or time to do. If these big changes aren’t enough, our next step is counseling.

I hold out hope that things will eventually get better. That there is some light in the dark. That no matter what, I will keep choosing to love and respect my partner, the person I cherish above all others.

Sex without the sex? Lots of masturbation? Writing of sweet letters? How do you cope with a sexless marriage?

Comments on Married and celibate: Adjusting my relationship expectations in a sexless marriage

  1. guys, you know what? i sent my husband this post, and it gave us a new impuls in talking about our sex life once again – and now things are rolling! yay!

    • Sex (or lack thereof) is a symptom of something else.
      The key ingredient in a couple is to keep a connection, keep talking about what’s bothering us. I never particularly shut myself off sexually with my wife, but there have been periods of ‘slow downs’, in which I was passive-aggressively pushing her back. She suffered very much. She even slapped me once. But she made me see: in my case I was working myself to death, and I started identifying with career too much, forgetting my better self. I was finding excuses to keep working. I had a panic attack and threw a tantrum like a kid because we were in a national park and I could not check my mail! Yes I was an asshole. But I didn’t see myself that way at the time: I had a perfectly good excuse to be one, because I was the bread winner in the house and I was trying to work… while on holiday with my family… that sounds stupid, and yet I was abusive… but I didn’t know.
      As I was too busy working, at times I actually felt I didn’t have the energy (for a man, even a single orgasm burns a lot of energies, and if you are ‘nice’ and also care for your partner and put effort in making her come as well, you might just burn your whole dinner in 20 minutes, and need some extra sleep the morning after)… the point is that I was giving all my energies to my employer (out of various fears) instead than keeping some to myself and my partner’s enjoyment and well-being! I was literally ruining the relationship myself, spiraling down in a stupid train of thought about my wife being better off with someone else who didn’t work so much (!?!?!)… I was unconsciously hoping she would cheat on me so that I would be legitimized to push her back and keep working. I was going mad. I was driving her mad too. She helped me get out of it – I was not seeing, but she did see mine was an addiction.
      I have seen other comments about porn additions in this thread… that one, or cheating, or alchool, work, shopping, even checking on facebook continuosly… they can all be various ‘addictions’ that eventually drain our souls out and confuse us and lead us astray from each other. And different of those can arise at the same time in both partners, in which case it is probably even harder.

      But in my mind, sex appetite doesn’t just ‘fade’ after the kids are born or at any time – if it does, it is almost always an indicator of an underlying (but unrelated) issue… THAT needs to be figured out and talked about.

      Talking of ALL issues in our lives and analyzing them with our partners – even WHILE even sex, sometimes is very nice – and maintaining the connection open for each other is what makes it proceed.

  2. Hi Everybody,

    I hate the stupid advice too. I got turned down in lingerie on Valentine’s Day because he was too tired. This hurt a lot and I bring it up when we talk about sex and stuff even though it is almost 3 years later. The truth is, my husband’s libido (and mine too!) took a hit after having kids. We had two kids back to back and we’re freaking tired. Mine just didn’t hit my sex drive, his exhaustion did. I know he’s not cheating (women know these things), I know he’s not looking at porn (I am with him all of the time), and I know it’s not personal. He loves me, but sex is not the way he shows the love in this time in our lives.

    I think that every woman on this board needs to makes some choices for themselves. Another person (even your husband) is not responsible for your personal happiness. Only YOU are responsible for your personal happiness. You have some choices: leave, stay, cheat, or find a way to safely satisfy your needs within marriage. For me, leaving and cheating are not good options (cons far outweigh the pros), so I choose to read books. The point is, I learned how to make MYSELF happy in my life’s situation. This is called acceptance.

  3. I was crying reading this. I am so immensely attracted to my DW but she literally cringes at my advances. She says it’s her: the weight gain after the kids, her exhaustion at the end of the day, and so on. She sure loves popcorn and ice cream though, which I bring to her by the bowlful, only because that’s the only interaction with me that doesn’t generate a look of disgust or disapproval … When I give her food.

    I am a good looking guy, 40, tall, and in relatively good shape, and am very successful in a unique and challenging career where I make my own hours and have loads of time with my family. My friends all used to call me Brad Pitt, because I used to look just like him …. Whether that’s good or not I don’t know. But I liked feeling sexy and desirable. But now I just feel inside like an unloveable and disgusting celibate, like my erection is some sore that needs to be squeezed so it just goes away. I’ve taken to masturbating, but it’s just to clear my head so I can work.

    I can’t even start a conversation at this …

  4. As someone who has been on both sides of the equation- I used to be a wife who didn’t want sex, and now I’m married to a man who doesn’t seem interested very much, I have this to say: seek medical assistance!!! In my case, I needed antidepressants to help with some depression, as well as a divorce and a remarriage (but that’s a different story). Now, with my husband, please please go get his hormone levels checked! In our case, we did that and discovered he had low testosterone. Don’t go by the big range that is considered normal, as that encompasses both young 20 something men as well as 90 year olds. Testosterone naturally decreases with age, and while his was not that far below the bottom, that bottom end of the scale is normal if you’re like 85 or 90! Definitely not normal for a mid 30’s to 40 guy. Really really go get checked. If that turns up issues then there are things you can do! (Don’t do testerone replacement unless you are done having kids or don’t want any because that shuts down their natural sperm production processes). There are other therapies to try to help. We are in the midst of this now, and while I don’t think we are “sexless” we on average only have sex about 1 or 2 times a month which is still really really low.
    Sex is truly “relationship glue” and if medically you are both fine, then please fight for it and get help if you love each other. I’ve been there.

    • How did you get the supplements? My husband has been diagnosed several times with testosterone almost at zero “4” and normal is in the double to triple digits, but the local doctor, the sexual rehab doctor none of them are allowed to prescribe because it is restricted. We also were told it will lower his fertility so our chances of having kids will go from 5% to 0.

      • Since we were trying to have kids, we first went to a Reproductive Emdocrinologist who prescribed Clomid for him. There are also a number of supplements and vitamins they can take which sometimes helps. It didn’t in our case. The most recent thing was injections of HCG (pregnyl was the name of the medication), which also can help. Again, in our case it didn’t help. So, we are going to bite the bullet and do the testosterone therapy because the relationship is more important. I’m looking into embryo donation to try to have the kids I still want more of. Good luck to you!

        • Thanks Laurel, and so sorry to hear the supplements and injections didn’t work 🙁
          Its just such a long process we’ve been married a year , together 3, and go from one referral to another referral to another referral, they lose the first 5 referrals… I was really hoping we could consumate our marriage on our first aniversary but not to be… No idea what my reproductive system is like. Good luck with the embryo donation and testosterone therapy! I never realised how important testoterone is not only to sexual health but muscle tone, bone strength, nerves, energy levels and depression…

  5. Wow. I could have written this. I’m actually sat here wondering if I got drunk one night and did write it and then forgot??! My name is Hayley and I am in a sexless marriage. There I’ve said it. Secret’s out. I can’t actually bear the rejection anymore and so I haven’t made a move on my husband since before we were married. I totally get it when u say that u mourn the loss of ur sex life, I do too and I deffo don’t want to live my whole life like this (I’m 26 and hes 27). I have felt so so alone with this for so so long. And like u I am still deeply in love with my husband and my knees still go weak when I think of him. I am so saddened by our lack of sex life, but I’m glad I’m not the only one 🙁

  6. My wife and I have been married for three years and since the birth of our child a little less than a year ago there has been zero inintimacy.

    We haven’t had sex in more than a year. No intimate cuddling, no touching, nothing.I know she loves me, that is not in question. I love her as well. However I worry that this is more than just coming off of pregnancy and breastfeeding hormones. I genuinely worry that my wife simply has no appetite for sex. Sexytimes scenes in movies and TV turn her off.

    I’m barely in my 30’s I want to have sex. I have been patient. I am waiting. But she doesn’t even look at me like she used to. I feel like I don’t so much have a wife as I do an affectionate roommate with whom I raise an infant.

    Not going to cheat in her. So I guess I am just going to be celibate for a little while.

    Just a vent.

  7. To me, physical intimacy/affection is a big deal. I had no affection as a child and I’ve noticed as an adult, I just NEED it to be well rounded and happy.

    There have been times in my 20+ year marriage where I wasn’t able to have sex due to some health issues but I still wanted to please my husband so I would initiate intimacy because even though I couldn’t have intercourse, there was still a strong desire to please my husband and I craved the emotional connection that comes with being physically intimate.

    Honestly, I don’t think I could hang in there forever, even though I adore my husband, if the situation continued with no end in sight. I think eventually it would erode our relationship to the point of divorce. That’s just me though.

    I would definitely do everything possible to get some counseling were I in your shoes.

  8. You might find a community to talk to on Reddit in the deadbedrooms sub, or just by googling the phrase “dead bedrooms”.

  9. Rest assured that you are not alone. After my daughter was born, my sex drive just about disappeared completely. It’s been over 2 years since my husband and I last had sex, and before that it was infrequent at best. I still love him just as much as I ever did, but I know it’s really hard on him. Reading this article was like hearing his side of this, so thank you for sharing that. I think it’s equally hard for the people on both sides. I know my husband wants our sex life back, and so do I, but the desire just isn’t there and his attempts to initiate sex make me so uncomfortable. We tried counseling for a while, but just couldn’t afford to keep dropping $100 a week to have someone suggest different ways to “spice it up”. I hope that we and you can find a solution to please everyone involved.

    • I hope you try another counselor. It seems like the one you had did not grasp that sex issues are often caused by deeper things than superficial boredom of routine.

  10. I had this issue with my husband and it was so soul-destroying. I think it’s a big reason my self esteem is lacking and I became depressed. The stereotype is that men want it all the time, but mine didn’t. Lingere made no difference and I was so sick of being hurt and rejected when I initiated things that I just stopped. 6 years into our relationship he finally told me he had all day porn addiction. I was shocked because I didn’t think he even had time to watch porn as we were around each other so much, but obviously he managed to find time. I was so hurt that he’d let me think it was me for 6 years. We had talk after talk about how much our low-sex marriage was hurting me and he never had to guts to tell me or to deal with his problems. We’re now about to get divorced (other issues too and it all got too much). Maybe this could be something worth asking him about? I definitely think you need to do something like therapy or consider an open marriage because the lack of physical affection just killed me inside.

  11. I feel a lot of the people replying to this article would benefit from reading up on Emotional and Physical Sexuality. The idea is that people that are very sexual and emotionally open are most likely to end up in serious relationships with people who are exactly the opposite. I’ve found this to be the case in my past relationships, where I was always the more sexual and attentive partner. I had to learn that there’s nothing wrong or bad about people who are more private and desire less physical stimulation, and that a lot of my efforts to try to force affection and sex were actually pushing my partners away. These are important issues to work through– if you leave your partner because they’re not attentive enough, it’s very likely you’ll simply end up right back in a relationship with the same type of person.

  12. I was in a sexless marriage for six years. I remember that pain so sharply. Nothing I’ve been through has hurt as badly as laying in bed next to the person I loved most in this world, sobbing because I was ashamed to want him so badly when that want was obviously not mutual. I felt degraded, worthless, undesirable.

    The end of that marriage was a great gift.

  13. We’ve been married 49 years and our sex lives has been terrible! My husband ended our sex life after our wedding night, telling me he discovered that he hated all sex porn, cheating, gays, and me. He thinks sex is disgusTIng, vile, smelly, messy,boring, meaningless, to much work for so little. So he moved to our basment and I was told to never bothered him, don’t talk to him, and don’t make any noise. He also went on the night shift so he didn’t to be home or be in bed with me. We’ve not ever really slept together. I should’ve left years ago but I had no where to go, plus I was scared to be out on my own. I chose to stay even though he suggested that I move on. So some where in my head staying was a better option. Best friend is my shrink and antidepressants.

    • Dear Amy I wish I could give you a HUGE hug!! That’s not a marriage that sounds more like prison. Need to find you a good friend besides the shrink. Depending what country, culture or faith you are could make it very hard so escape, and it’s daunting going out on your own but can it get worse than the controlling husband you’re living under/ well technically above. Is there anything we can do to help out?
      I’m scared I might be like that in 49 years.

  14. Hello Amy…We our in our 24th year of marriage , and we haven’t had any sex or physical intimacy for 5 years… Our intimacy turned about abruptly, when I found my partner had an affair ‘of some kind’ with a co-worker. Although it’s never been spoken of since the evening I found out and confronted them, they said it was just emotionial (like that’s better).
    …No holding hands, no hugs, no kisses , cuddles or butterfly kisses. I am so lonely, and my partner is reticent to try counselling.
    My situation; I’m completely financially dependent , so leaving would be extremely difficult , and unimaginable .
    Any wisdom you can offer will be appreciated and seriously considered.
    Thanks Amy…

  15. It sounds like there’s a lot going on here. Firstly, a lot of online or magazine advice is rarely helpful – the suggestions of lingerie etc are very superficial solutions to what could be a much deeper problem. And you’ve taken some excellent steps to initiate conversations about his feelings and mental state. The problem is rarely a surface level “I just don’t feel like it”. It also sounds like there’s going to be a lot of change happening with the new jobs, etc. so perhaps wait until you are both feeling settled again to revisit this issue.
    The bottom line is that everyone in the relationship needs to be sexually satisfied, whether that means frequent sex or no sex at all – whatever the level of desire is (and all levels are okay!).
    Taking some small steps like increasing intimacy with no expectations can help to improve the general intimacy between the two of you to help you reform that physical bond. And physical bonds and sexual ones are not necessarily the same.
    Secondly, start to identify some road blocks – what is the root cause of his lack of desire? It could be anxiety, depression, circumstances, intimidation, fear of failure, lack of desire or interest, a whole range of things.
    I do recommend seeking assistance from a sexologist/sex therapist. I am a qualified ST and these are the first steps that I always recommend – you can’t solve a problem without identifying where it is actually coming from.
    Sex can be a big part of relationships (as can intimacy) and it is important that you are both open and honest with each other. If you are not satisfied, I would not recommend the Dan Savage advice which is individual focused, and seek sex outside of your relationship without discussing this with your partner. Some therapists may recommend you do this (after all, YOU are their client, not the both of you) but I would always suggest trying to find a solution with your partner first. If they have no interest at all, you can discuss other options together, as a team, in a partnership.
    I hope you can find a solution that works well for both of you soon, and good luck with your new jobs, etc!!

  16. Oh man, I am in the same boat. Couples therapy has helped a lot, but we are still working towards a normal sex life. And it sucks because my partner has stopped initiating, too. So I feel very unwanted and it is depressing. Try therapy. It can’t hurt.

  17. I am sorry you;re dealing with the horrible feelings of rejection and stuff. Its very hard. I didnt read all the comments but I just wanted to say that we experienced something similar in our marriage, but because when it started we had the most amazing sexual connection, I actually brought hubs (willingly) to the doctor because I had heard men can have testosterone crashes in their 30s/40s. That was actually the case and we were told his had crashed so low it made him a candidate for various cancers because they need testosterone for their health. Once they got him levelled out, our sex life returned to normal. He suffers from winter depression badly from Jan to Mar and it dips again then, but mostly it’s as good as it was year round. Whenever it dips badly, we check his bloods and balance his T out again.

    I know people can be asexual or crave sex very rarely, but if ye had a healthy frequent experience in the earlier years, its worth checking out. Not just for sex, but also for his health.

    I wish you all the best and hope things are resolved in a healthy happy way for both of you <3

  18. I for one know what everyone on this post is going through! We’ve been married almost few months from 50 years. My husband has always had problems with intimacy since his late 20s till now he’s 71. Never had sex before we were married that was something that never happened in those days. His doctor told him it was just his nerves that wasn’t the case. We did manage to have sex he couldn’t get hard for complete sexually experience but it was sex. Over the years he went to many doctor’s trying to get to the root of his problem. He even spent time like almost a week at a clinic dealing with sex problems. He went threw all kinds of mental tests and physical type tests and was normal healthy guy. Still sex and intimacy was not for him he’s not gay or hiding some sweet thing on the side. Time marched on and over time with out any thing was normal. I should have left him but I didn’t that was my fault and will never really forgive myself.

  19. Hi everyone–I’m the OP. I just wanted to thank all of you for the support and love; on difficult nights, I would sometimes read your comments and cry because I still felt deeply sad, but now I also felt understood. I just wanted to tell you that H. and I have been in therapy for a year now, and it has been amazing–thank you all for urging me to seek this counseling. You were right–that vacation didn’t change anything, and neither did the new jobs. It is laughable to me now that I thought these small things could bridge such a canyon.

    We were lucky enough to find a compassionate therapist who specializes in sex/intimacy issues (and also lucky that our insurance covers regular visits). I won’t say that this year has been easy–there were many dark days when we left therapy and I felt shattered. I won’t say that our sex life has returned yet, either; it’s been two years since we last had sex, which was very infrequent before that.

    BUT. I want to stress that therapy has helped us find ways to give each other strength, and to keep reaching towards each other. If you have been in my situation, I would strongly recommend specifically finding a sex therapist who uses cognitive behavioral therapy. Though it has been useful to talk about our feelings and figure out how to communicate better (like, actually communicate), it has been even more important that our therapist gave us intimacy-building homework exercises (as well as doing these exercises during a session).

    I have also figured out one very important thing: though I still fiercely love H. and obviously am committed to him, I have also made the choice to love and care for myself. I do not mean seeking sex outside the marriage (I find the thought of being so intimate with anyone else repellent). I mean that I make a point every day to try to take care of myself–getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, painting my nails, taking a walk, going out with friends. Instead of being sad because I miss being touched by my partner (or because I really want a child and I am afraid that I will run out of time, another issue that I did not address in my original post), I try to tell myself why I am awesome and deserve to be love and cherished. This has made me free in a way that I had not imagined.

    But above all, fellow readers–I have a lot of hope for the future. H. and I are making more lifestyle changes, with the support and guidance of our therapist. Obviously I hope that he figures his shit out and realizes how amazing his partner is (and truly, I have put up with a lot of crap), but I am taking care of myself and preparing to live my best life without him if he chooses otherwise.

    I hope that we all find our happiness, whether it is with ourselves or with our partners.

  20. It’s great to hear that your partner loves you enough to following through with the therapy sessions. Best of luck to you.

  21. Hello… been trying to find a topic about my current situation, never thought I’d have this problem, and I’m sorry in advance if my English is not perfect, since it’s my second language.
    I’m practically a “newlywed”, my husband and I just got married 2 months ago, I’m 29,from Mexico and he is 30, from the U.S. Long story short, we met online, we visited each other a couple of times and sex was awesome, even our sexy video chats were, I love him with all my heart, and I don’t see me leaving this marriage, we both experienced long (7 and 8 year) past relationships, he was even engaged once, he was really young, she cheated on him. In my case my ex was 10 years older than me and he ended up cheating on me and breaking up with me because of my weight gain(found out the next day he broke up with me that he had been cheating, also I lost all the weight that I’d gained after the breakup). Back to our situation nowadays, of course at the very beginning everything is awesome and sexual, I get that, but our sexual drive has decreased a lot, I have my personal issues that I’m still trying to work on (being rejected and cheated on in the past because of my appearance) , I know there’s a lot of reasons why things aren’t “ideal” right now, I talked to him about a certain topic a couple of weeks ago… boobs.
    He won’t touch them, I finally had the courage to ask him why, since it’s a very sensitive part of me, and after all the pressure I put on him he ended up telling me that he believes that it has something to do with the fact that his ex fiancee wouldn’t let him touch them, she had breasts implants and she’d say they hurt, so he is kind of afraid of touching them now, told him that that’s a very sensitive part of me and he shouldn’t be afraid but he still won’t touch them 🙁 . I think he is just not into breasts (ironic since I’m a 36 DD and I get lots of compliments on them hahahaha, but now seriously, I’m worried, I think he might have ED, his penis size is not desirable but we’ve made it work for us, I don’t care about it since he gets me to orgasm other ways… but we always have a hard time getting “him” up, he gets frustrated and even throws his fist to the wall and I feel horrible for him because he really wants to try to have regular sex but most of the time we can’t, I end up blowing him and making him cum by masturbating him, it takes me a while and I feel so frustrated because I love him and I want to please him but I don’t feel sexy… I know I’m not “that bad looking” in past weeks a couple of men have respectfully approached us just to tell him “how beautiful his wife is” , boosts my ego and makes him feel so proud of having me by his side … but then, at home, I feel like I used to feel in my previous relationship, now I don’t even feel like having sex , because I know how that will go. We’ve talked about it a couple of times, he’s really sensitive about the topic and I don’t want to make him feel bad, I don’t know what to do, how to approach him, how to help him…us.

  22. I sure can relate all this, I’ve been in a sexless marriage almost 40 years. We basically live alone I have the house he spends his time in his work shop that has a apartment attached to it. He does his things and I do mine! Most people would say that’s a horrible way to live and I agree, but we are in our early 70s and set in our ways.
    I ve had a hysterectomy and he has ED we have no interest in sex or intimacy or each other. It’s been a tough life for me no kid’s or love of any kind, I could move on but why bother. Moving on earlier was my problem and will never forgive myself for. I guess we as humans make mistakes and I made a big one

    • That’s about where I feel we will be headed. However I desire sex and intimacy. I feel so alone and if it were not for our children and now grandchild, I would have left. So I have traded a life I want to have the life I have because I can’t push him out of the life we started together. If that makes sense? I just have so much I wanted to do, if I fulfill that I leave him behind. That causes an entire issue with family, and I can’t put everyone thru that.

  23. Yes, yes, yes. Now just add that I have Borderline Personality Disorder to the mix and you have a pretty accurate picture of my life. I feel hopeless. Thoughts of ending this rejection and pain has tempted me repeatedly by taking my own life (yes, I am on meds…have been for years). But if you don’t know anything about BPD and rejection then you should do some research. It’s the one thing that can send us into a dark spiral downward. I just hope I can survive this.

  24. Thank you for posting this. You are not alone. For me it started a couple years into our marriage. He used to initiate but that fizzled away. He would acquiesce when I initiated, for a while. Then came the thousand yard stares and eye rolling when I would flirt with him. That’s when the heartaches started for me. We went through a couple of years of things not going well due to his back spasms and fatigue. I just kept gaining weight. Nothing was going for us. Then he had a heart attack. After treatment and recovery his interest was back because he could perform without losing his breath. It was wonderful, for a while. Gradually he quit responding to flirtation (but no malice involved like before). I would try to initiate things but he would hold my hands tight to his chest so I couldn’t touch him “THERE”. I started feeling rejected and angry again. One day I thought to Google his meds. Turns out one of them lists loss of libido as a side effect. The side effects of the alternatives weren’t any better.

    Frankly the last 4 years have been a long goodbye of sorts. The last year we were down to mutual masterbation about once a month. Now that has been failing him as well. He can take care of me but now he can’t maintain an erection anymore. I really think we have already had our last sexual intimacy.

    Over the years I have gone through every thought listed in the comments and then some: Is there someone else? I’ve gotten too fat and disgustingly obese for him to be aroused by me. Why, why, WHY? … … … none of the above were the answer. It’s just fate; the hand we were dealt.

    I wish there was more information on the Web about how to cope with the situation. All the advice is toward “putting new spice in your sex life” or “getting the fire back”. It’s all about fighting what is and constantly reaching backward for things that are gone. Frankly, I’ve done my reaching backwards and I’m done with it. I’m sick of it. I want to go forward even when it means accepting I’m never having sex again.

    I want doctors to put research into meds to reduce libido for those of us living with loved ones on life saving meds that have it as a side effect so neither of us suffer. Not just a side effect to some other medicine, actual medicine to help this situation. I don’t want to coerce him into situations that make him frustrated because his body doesn’t work the way it used to. If the situation were reversed we’d be calling that rape. I want to know how to cope with the now and the future; not cling to the past I can’t have. Where is that advice?

    • “It’s all about fighting what is and constantly reaching backward for things that are gone. ”
      Exactly. There is truly no hope for us. My situation mirrors yours–down to the back spasms and heart attack. I yearn for sexual intimacy so bad it’s crushing me. I’m crying. Then I’m angry. Then I’m depressed. Then I can carry on pretending for about another week. And the cycle repeats itself. As horrid an drastic as it sounds, loosing my own libido would be a huge blessing. What a relief to not fret about this aching and longing anymore.

  25. I have been with my husband for 7 years too. In the beginning our sex life was amazing too, and within the first year it stopped almost completely. I never knew why, and I tried everything in my power to make sex happen. If we ended up having sex once in two years it was a victory. A huge part of me had died along with our sex life, but I married him nonetheless because I just loved him so much. I felt like if we work on it, it will get better. I did everything I could think of to better myself for him; I was convinced the problem lied with me. However, I recently discovered my husband is actually a sex addict. For all this time I so adamantly believed I was the problem (reinforced also by him, that I should perhaps wear this or rather do that etc etc). And the problem was him all along. Just please, be very careful and honest with yourself in a sexless marriage. Make absolutely sure you know all the facts and factors in play. I didn’t, made a choice on the very limited information I had, had no support, and I lost so much of myself because of it.

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