• Thu, Dec 11 2008

The Celibate Marriage: Living without Sex

There’s a great discussion on About.com regarding celibacy in marriage. I was amazed to read many comments where the commenter seemed quite happy about their sexless or low-sex arrangement. I wanted to see how other people felt about it, so I went to my favorite go-to marriage site, The Marriage Bed, and read this discussion, which seemed to be more in line with reality.

Now, I’ve heard people say that the reason there’s so much similarity in people’s responses on the Marriage Bed is that everyone there is the high-drive spouse and thus thinks that same way.  But that isn’t true: There are many low-drive spouses there, although certainly not as many as high-drive.

According to Wikipedia, the definition of a sexless marriage is one in which sex occurs less than 10 times per year. By that definition, approximately 20% of marriages are celibate. Doing the math, that’s having sex approximately .81 times a month…or once every five weeks. The average couple (whoever they are) has sex two to three times a week, but normal sexual frequency is defined as the amount of sex it takes to keep both spouses content.  This could mean that the high-drive spouse settles for a little less, and the low-drive spouse offers alternatives when he/she isn’t “in the mood.”

The reasons for the lack of sex in marriages were the following:

  • Marriages of convenience, tax benefits, acquiring residency, etc.
  • Being too busy
  • Adultery (the adulterous partner losing interest in the other partner)
  • Involvement in porn, for the same reason as above
  • Sexual aversion due to past trauma, or loss of desire toward your spouse
  • Erectile Dysfunction or vaginismus (where the vaginal muscles spasm and make intercourse painful)
  • Mutually agreed upon (are they CRAZY?)
  • Illness
  • Power and control
  • Various combinations of the above

I will add, based on conversations that I’ve had with other people:

  • Boredom can result in a lowered sex drive.
  • Feeling pressured to have sex is a Catch-22.

It’s interesting to me, but not surprising, that men and women handle sexless marriages in different ways. Apparently, men throw themselves into physical activity, work, or hobbies, while women become introverted, depleted of self confidence, depressed, or suicidal. Men may be more likely to become involved with alternatives (porn, excessive masturbation), while women report feeling “dirty,” “slutty,” or “ugly.” Personally, I think this is because society tends to see a man begging for sex as being normal or at least acceptable; a woman who has to beg for sex is either a nymphomaniac or incredibly unattractive — even when neither is true.

My guess is that because sex may be more physically-related for men (and they can  find relief/solace in physcial activity), whereas it may be more emotional/relational for women, which doesn’t allow for much variation. In both cases, sexless marriages often result in affairs and divorce.

So, if you’re in a low-sex/sexless marriage, for whatever reason, how do you cope?  Let’s be proactive here, okay? Keep the comments helpful and constructive. What has helped you stay faithful or remain emotionally healthy if you’re dealing with a sexless or low-sex marriage?

image: morguefile

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  • http://crunchygreenmom.blogspot.com Suzanne B (Crunchy green Mom)

    I probably should not talk too much on this topic due to fact that I am not married; however I have been married twice before this.

    This topic hits close to home for me two fold.

    One because my relationships have been both ways, One where his drive was higher than mine, and the other where mine was higher than his, both times I was down to once a month, if I was lucky. I have come to learn over the years that for me, it is an important part of my relationships. I will settle for once a week, however twice would keep me sated enough to halt any distracting thoughts.

    I am currently in a relationship with a man who went 6 years of his 12 year marriage having relations four times a year… at the end of each fiscal quarter. In the last year, they only had relations once. I can not imagine remaining in a relationship that does not have that fulfillment once a month, minimum.

    He was a very big sports guy, and I agree with you. I think this was his release, he had no issues with the arrangements, and however she was the one who cheated. I believe it was the emotional affair that started off her transgression and she wasn’t getting it from him… so she found it elsewhere. It makes sense to me.

    I wish I had advice on how to handle a marriage with minimal to no relations. I would love to know how to handle those or help my friends survive in relationships like this. I can only advise how to “step it up” or do things to ensure more relations to occur.

    That is probably not helpful here.

    I hope there are responses to help people in this… How do you stay? I don’t know…

  • Marye Audet

    thanks for responding Suzanne. Isn’t it odd that something that seems so siimple is so complex?

  • http://crunchygreenmom.blogspot.com Suzanne B. (Crunchy Green Mom)

    It is strange!

    Ok.. even though I’m not married.. I’m add you to my Google Reader..I like the way ya’ll write!

    So… the newly un-single girl (been dating for three months) is gonna come and join ya’ll married people!

    Maybe I’ll learn something before round 3..

  • Marye Audet

    LOL! welcome

  • Anonymous

    I live in a sexless marriage. It has been 3+ years since we had sex and for the whole of our 19 yr marriage it has been a real struggle.

    I deal with same gender attraction everyday. Our lack of sex life drove my husband and I far from each other but still together. He wasn’t home much. Now things are getting better, we are closer to each other and to God, and I am getting to the point where I really really want to want to have sex but every time he touches me, I cringe. I don’t know how to get past the cringing. I know it is incredibly hurtful for him.

    We’re a work in progress.

  • Marye Audet

    Thank you for sharing. I know that the Lord will bring you through this! :)

  • http://www.myspace.com/heartmirth David

    A couple of points to mention here:

    1) Yes, adultery can make the cheating spouse loose interest ( however, it often does just the opposite in the initial stages )

    2) Often, the one who was cheated on – even if its ‘just’ an Emotional Affair ) will not have the same desire towards the cheating partner ( and again, it can result in a dramatic increase in sexual interest during the initial stages for a period )

    Boredom or a need for something…something dramatically different coming from one’s spouse..is far more a culprit than people allow for…just a hunch.

    The abstinence in that situation is one spouse trying to tell the other that they need something – a vitamin, if you will – in their diet that they are not getting…so a ‘withholding’ takes place and then, becomes a habit and a way of life, then. I’ll wager neither party understands what is going on in most cases.

    There’s lots of ins and outs ( no pun intended ) or different perspectives to most of the listed reasons.

    Have any of youse guys ever really known a couple to have closely matched drives?? Or have any of you had a previous relationship/spouse that had the sexual chemistry down pat?

    What was the result?? Just curious…

  • Marye Audet

    David, true there are always different perspectives. Generally the truth is somewhere in between, altho not always.

    I believe that people tend to be too concerned with how they *feel* or don’t feel and not concerned enough about intimacy and the deeper things. I warrant that fear of intimacy is the #1 issue 90% of the time

  • LH

    I’ve been married for 8 years. The last time my husband and I had sex was 6 1/2 years ago – the day my daughter was conceived. Before that was a struggle.

    I never had an immensely high sex drive, but it would appear my husband has less than me. Indeed, if he is to be believed, then he doesn’t even masturbate.

    Over the years I’ve tried to gently talk to him, and then every year or so I suddenly “lose it” with him.

    This year was different. I decided that I had needs and actively went out to look for sex with someone else. Which I did. It made me realise what I was missing, brought back my sex drive with a vengance. This, in turn, led me to nearly walk out on my husband, but he begged me to stay. He doesn’t know about the affair that I had (which I stopped).

    The truth is. I’m madly in love with my husband, my marriage life is fantastic in every other way. We never argue, we laugh with each other, we get on really well, we have no financial worries, we have a loving home with animals and our daughter – but now I’ve gone a step further and realised that I can’t bear the thought of him ever touching me again – even though he’s said he’ll get help (which he’s yet to do, 2 months on).

    I don’t know what to do. I’m old enough to know that the grass isn’t greener elsewhere, and I know I’d miss him if I left him … but can I really survive in a sexless marriage?

    I’m at my wits end …

  • Marye Audet

    LH
    I am sorry. I really am.
    As you have read we have similar issues. I am having similar struggles.
    I think that getting counseling for yourself is probably a smart move. We can’t change other people but we can change ourselves.
    And then, perhaps a nice selection of vibrators? Amazon has hundreds.
    I am also rediscovering the companionship of Neiman’s, Macy’s, and Bloomies online. I literally have not shopped in a real store in over 20 years..It is high time that I began again.
    I guess, what I am saying is that you should take care of yourself. Do what you need to do to build up your confidence and feel good about yourself..and then make your choices daily.
    Are you going to be happy living with your best friend or is it more important for you to have passion?
    You are the only one who knows.

  • LH

    Hi again,

    Thank you for your words. Do you really think counseling would help me? I’d never thought of that.

    It also never dawned on me what you have just said: I’m living with my best friend. How dumb I must be!!

    Amazon have vibrators? I’ll give that a go!! But all the others – not for me … I’m in the UK!

    Thanks. It’s helped to offload – maybe counseling would be good then!

    Wish me luck !

    x

  • Marye Audet

    LH..
    Being able to talk about it is very freeing. Whether you journal or talk to someone who understands (not many people), or get counseling, or all three! I think counseling helps you thnk things through sometimes and it gives you an outside perspective.
    Amazon has a great selection! Pages.
    O.k..so no Bloomies…but..you have Harrods? Have some pickled onions and sausage rolls for me while you are there!
    Keep me up to date with how you are doing. o.k.?

  • http://www.myspace.com/heartmirth David

    Fish ‘n Chips…Anyone remember when they had Arthur Treacher’s Fish ‘n Chips here a long, long time ago?

    LH. You said that your husband didn’t know anything about your affair – that’s probably a good thing at this point, however…

    how would he have reacted had the spectre of an affair was looming? I know that is very difficult to say given the volatile emotions that would surface – at least they’d be volatile if it were me – but sometimes the smell of another competitor around can throw a whole new light on things and the result could be a new-found interest that your husband has for you.

    Could that’ve been the thing that would’ve ignited the passion between you?

    Have you ever told him that you were having interests in others? Yeah, it’d been rough, but you are in a very rough/dangerous situation and if’n it’d been me, I’d have wanted that final alarm sounding – most of us fellows operate on the three F’s when it comes down to it. Flee, fight and ….well…if I’d been given that warning and chose to ignore it then…

    Maybe you did give him the heads-up, then. I don’t want to presume anything. I do understand how you feel and you’ve probably done everything earthly possible to get him to wake up.

    Since things are so bad, anyway, maybe telling him would be the thing that brings about a crises moment for him and that’d turn out to be a turning point for your husband. Of course the other part of it will be him wanting to beat the living daylights out of your consort…but that comes with the desire for you.

    Cant have one without the other. Everything is a two-edged sword.

  • Marye Audet

    I remember Arthur Treachers. Yum

  • http://www.myspace.com/heartmirth David

    Ya, it was GOOD, wasn’t it? Don’t know why they went out.

  • LH

    Hi David,

    In truth, I didn’t give him the heads up. Affairs are so against everything I believe in … which is why I find it incredible that I went there. If I’d given him an idea that I would go that route then maybe I wouldn’t have done it. He’s not the sort to want to beat the living daylights out of anyone. It’s incredible. He’s a demon in the business world and a pussycat at home. I guess part of it is that I never want to hurt him.

    However, you are right, maybe if he knew how far i’d go, then maybe that would wake him up. To be honest, I thought that by threatening to leave, he’d wake up anyway! He did, nearly. But has gone back to sleep. My problem now is that I’ve gone past the stage of wanting him. God, this is so difficult.

    My choices seem to be – leave him in the hope that I find passion and everything else with someone else – but that would be hard for my daughter. Or stay with him and accept that I will be celibate for the rest of my life??? God, that’s hard.

    He’s perfect in every other way. I’ll never find that again, will I?

    I agree – affairs are dangerous territory. And yet I need some intimacy in my life. And yet I’ll miss my husband desperately if I leave him. And yet I have gone off intimacy with him.

    I think the answer is … actually I don’t know the answer. I have to figure this one out. But I can’t tell you how much I’m appreciating the fact that I’m getting this off my chest … Thanks so much for your comments.

  • Marye Audet

    LH-
    I don;t think you have said if you are religious or not, if you have a relationship with Christ. If I may…
    I feel much the same as you..It is so funny hearing your thoughts because, altho I have not had an affair, I see so much of me in your words. Noone wants to choose to live with that depth of pain and yet no matter which way you go there seems to be pain and loss involved.
    For me, I am believing that Christ will make the change. To accept this as being all that my life is ..is overwhelmingly sad. What I am saying is that if you can turn to your spirituality, to Christ, there is the hope that something will change, some miracle will occur…
    Again, I am praying for you.

  • J

    My wife and I have a great relationship everywhere except the bedroom. There we have nothing, because I want sex about every day, and she is nowhere near that. She will do it “for my benefit;” but I am not going to have sex with anyone who does not want it! So I am one of those peculiar married celibates…What to do? This is a health issue.

  • michelle

    i was looking for some help in a desciosn that i an thing of making. i’m thinking for be celabate for awhile. i’m 28, and have never been married, but i was in a 5 year relationship with a man (well boy), and we broke up over a year ago. we did live tograther till the end, and i moved out. our sex relationship was great. i have a much higher sex drive then him. but my issue is that over the past year we have cont’ to sleep togeather. pluse i have sleeped with other men aswell. at my stage in life i want to get married/ and children… and so on. i have started now to see some one else, and although we have gone out once… we have taklked for over 2 mouth now. i like sex, i’m a scorpio… so if that helps the importance of sex to me. it is really hard for me right now to start a new relationship with a new person, and i feel that sex just gets me into trouble. i want to start this relationship without the worry about sex.i am thing that if i take the sex out right at the beginging, and get to know him first.

  • I

    LH, I’m in the same boat exactly, although i havne’t strayed yet but feel i’m getting closer to it. It is such a relief to know i’m not alone. I can’t even talk about this with my closest girlfriends. It was always problematic for us both, and after we managed to conceive two kids, we both just gave up. I have intimacy issues from childhood abuse i can’t seem to move past no matter the therapy, and he has his own issues. It’s a good marriage i’m not willing to give up over this, but it pains me think i may never be wanted or intimate for the rest of my life.

  • Marye Audet

    Michelle, I think it is a wise choice, as an unmarried woman, for you to be celibate. Sex creates emotional ties and can confuse you if you are not in a long term, committed, stable relationship.
    I- You’re right..it is a painful thought. It is easy to fall into fantasy and daydreams..but the thing is once you have an affair then what? On top of feeling unwanted you will end up feeling guilty. Best to deal with the lack of intimacy head on and decide if you can live that way, seek counsel, or decide that you need to leave.

    You say you are not willing to give up a good marriage ..and yet, I wonder…is a celibate marriage, lacking in intimacy, even a marriage?

  • LH

    Hi – sorry – have been away.
    Marye, I’m not religious, as such. I do believe in a higher power, but what that power is? I don’t know. I’ve always believed in right and wrong – and I live my life treating people how I would expect to be treated – which is why I find it incredible to have gone the route that I have gone. For many years I’ve believed the grass isn’t greener, and that something will make things change … I guess I’m just giving up hope now. And yet still – I can’t bear the thought of a life without my husband in it???
    J – I feel for you. From what I can gather having sex with someone who doesn’t really want to have sex is almost worse than no sex at all? Have you talked to your wife about counseling?
    Michelle, I really think sex should be out of the equation at the moment. Give a little less at the beginning and he’ll want more. But, I also believe that if you make it too unavailable it then becomes a game of chase, which once caught he might lose interest. I guess I’m saying – go with the flow. However, girls who give out too easily can be taken for granted. Good luck.
    And I – I feel for you too. My best friend had a very traumatic and abusive childhood. She was never happy with sex, she felt that it was her duty and nothing more. She never enjoyed it. She’s on her 2nd husband now and through him and working very hard to allow her bounderies down and through many discussions she actually enjoys it now. They have a fantastic relationship – still after 10 years of marriage. She is now going to counseling to help her with showing her emotions. She struggles to give a hug, or even tell her daughter that she loves her. The counseling is working. Would you consider counseling with your husband?
    I feel that my husband has issues relating to his childhood – but he either refuses to talk about them or he genuinely doesn’t remember them. What is apparent to me though is that he has, so far, not made an appointment to see the counselor that he was recommended to see – which, in turn, tells me he’s not as bothered as I thought. I shall still sit quietly and wait.
    It’s great to know I’m not on my own.

  • Marye Audet

    welcome back LH!

    I hope you have had a Merry Christmas and are looking forward to a wonderful New Year.

    I think that the key, or one of them, is that men and women with these issues have to actually acknowledge that they are issues rather than trying to play them off as being somehow “normal and acceptable differences”.
    I realize that society would like to paint everything in shades of gray these days but that isn’t me at all. I do think that it takes effort to change things and I also find that most people, men OR women, with those issues don’t want to go to the effort of change. COunseling is scary because they will have to face something they have been hiding from for years.
    ah well, I hope for your sake that he seeks change.
    Keep me in the loop!

  • http://www.myspace.com/heartmirth David

    Hallo again LH. I still think that you should tell your husband what has happened and more importantly, why its happened.

    I understand your not wanting to hurt him, but by not doing so, you are nullifying the only thing that will push him to the point where he either fights for you and the integrity of his family – or if its truly a hormonal/pituitary/testosterone thing at work here, you reach some sort of mutually acceptable compromise – which could be tricky, but the alternative is unacceptable for you and presumably unacceptable for him.

    You mentioned he’s a pussycat, in your words, at home. The kitty in him needs to go and be replaced with an animal that’s a mind for a bit of aggro from time to time. I know you being female and all, won’t understand this; but the thought of another bloke pumping away on top of you will most definitely bring out the aggressive side of him. You’ll find he’s much more sexually aggressive also.

    Maybe on a subconscious level you like having a pussycat in the domestic sense, I don’t know you, of course; but if that is true, then you have to understand that your need for control, et al, is having a concurrent numbing affect on his sex drives. I don’t know, only you can look through that window.

    You can’t go on indefinitely with it the way it is. Sooner or later, what you experienced before will drive you to experience it again and again. Each successive encounter will sear your conscious a little more.

    You’ll end up becoming something that you’d not recognise. That sort of turning occurs in measures and is not detectable to the person that it is happening to.

    Anyway, my best thoughts and wishes for you, regardless.

    Cheers,

  • Marye Audet

    David,
    I think you may be wrong in this case.

  • http://www.myspace.com/heartmirth David

    Wrong about what, specifically and in what sense?

    If you mean wrong about disclosing the affair to her husband, I’d say “yes, there is a very good possibility of that”. Anything like that, given the emotions involved and the nature of the subject matter, etc., can go either way. Its risky but this woman’s husband needs to realise – and I mean he needs to see the full Monty here – what is going to happen and already has started if drastic steps aren’t taken, or at least a mutually satisfactory compromise – whatever that entails; or both parties agree to some sort of allowance for a period of time or under certain conditions

    If it were a one time only or a period that she went through, I’d agree with you. But it doesn’t sound like that, and I’ve seen first hand where windows that get opened like that and the underlying issue not resolved, lead to other windows.

    And I’ll tell you from first hand experience and those of many more, that it is THE DECEPTION involved and not the sex, per se, that does the worst damage and is the lethal thing in a marriage. We are strongly conditioned to believe otherwise – but it is not the reality.

    If I’m glaringly amiss on something relevant to things here, let me in on it. I won’t tell the Society of Women’s Secrets if you don’t :)

  • Marye Audet

    I mean that there are some men that are so passive, they are held hostage by their passivity and would be unable to respond no matter how much they wanted to..and it seems to me that her husband is characteristic of this.
    Pushing, being open about an affair at this point, if I am correct, would do no more than make him more passive.

  • http://www.myspace.com/heartmirth David

    I see your point, Marye. I didn’t think of that. What think you a solution in cases like these? Especially where the fellow won’t do something to alleviate things if not getting to the very heart of the matter.

    A fellow needs to be able to see his wife as a sexual being first. And this usually has to have happened at least initially…in the courtship or early phases of the marriage.

    I think one thing that clearly needs to happen is the husband needs first and foremost to start seeing his wife in more animalistic/raw nature than modern domesticity seems to produce.

    Its very difficult for a lot of fellows to combine domesticity/hearth-and-home fellingswith powerful sexual urges and that’s what seems to push men into either womanising/porn on one end or to the opposite extreme, as in the case of LH’s husband.

    I know from the female perspective, that doesn’t compute. But from the guys point ( the ones that fall into this ) I think it at least a prime culprit.

    Just because the female/wife’s perspective isn’t comfortable with this ( and mind you, I didn’t say this was a GOOD thing, just a possible reality ) doesn’t necessarily mean that it is false.

    The same goes for us fellows when trying to understand you. We tend to project what we are/need/feel/think/like onto things, rather than admitting that we don’t have a clear-cut understanding of things.

    When logic follows emotion, rather than the other way ’round. Its hopeless to ever think we can ever really bridge the gaps.

    Anyway, LH take everything I ( or anyone else ) says with a grain of salt until you know it yourself, or have verified it through sources you know to be trustworthy. :)

    Warmest regards,

  • Marye Audet

    I agree with you David…I don’t know the answer, unfortunately.
    Each person is capable of making changes. Whether they make them or not is their choice.

    LH..my prayers are with you. I wish I could give you the magic answer.

  • JoJO Mann

    I’ve been in a sexless marriage for 20 years and I have found there are a number of ways to cope.

    First it cannot be stressed too much that an active autosexual lifestyle should be practiced with masturbation done every day or every other day.

    This is like opening up the steam valve and letting the pressure out. In a sexless marriage your enemy is being too horny which can make you do all sorts of crazy things cruising the net for cybersex or trying to meet someone to have an affair with.

    It also helps to really become independent in your outlook. Know that depending on others for your own happiness is a recipe for hurt and anxiety.

    Try not to think what things might have been if you had only done this or that. Right now your life is what it is so you must learn to cope.

    People will always hurt and dissapoint you. In the end everyone will hold their own self interest before yours. Take what you can get out of a relationship and never expect too much. Keep this as your guiding principal and take responsibility for your own happiness.

  • Marye Audet

    JoJo, that just seems very cynical. I don;t think that would make me happy at all.

  • http://www.myspace.com/heartmirth David

    I don’t think it cynical as much as it is onerous – sounding.

    When I went to visit some of the remaining Daoist Temples in Northern China years ago, I was told that Kung Fu ( martial art ) was developed by the Shaolin monks in part, as a way to thwart the gnawing pangs of forced abstinence, and in part as a way to fight the Emperor’s royal guards – who were hoarding all of the women in the Imperial Harem – LOL!

    For sure, if you want something to really smoulder, try to suppress it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/heartmirth David

    I happened upon this today. Didn’t have time to look through all of it, but it looked interesting.

    http://wordpress.com/tag/sex-and-the-christian-marriage/

  • Marye Audet

    I will try to check it later.:)

  • Kay

    Hello all, hope it’s OK to join in here and ask for some help…
    I’m 54, married 25 yrs. to a man who has had serious congestive heart disease, surgeries, etc. for many years now (since he was 38, he’s 57 now). It’s been tough but we love each other & have grown as people through all this. It’s not a great marriage, but we are good companions. We haven’t had sex for many years, & before that it wasn’t that great. We’ve been to several counselors, none of whom could help once they realized my husband was so ill & his meds take any shred of desire away. He has told me it’s OK for me to have an affair. I really miss intimacy – & feel like an unwanted woman – even though I have a fairly happy, busy life with great friends & a super adult daughter. I dream about passion, sometimes sex, all the time. I feel like I’m shriveling up inside, & yet greatly fear the Pandora’s box I’d open were I to act on my desires. Let alone how to go about finding someone & not hurting them. So I circle round to staying stuck, but it seems to be getting worse.
    Thanks for listening.

  • Marye Audet

    {{{Kay}}}
    I am sorry. Sometimes our choices seem impossible. My guess is that you would not be able to live with yourself if you were to have an affair. Is there a way he can be physical with you even though he can’t have sex? I mean seriously, just because he can’t or won’t work the penis doesn’t mean that he can’t be intimate with you manually, orally, or with a toy.
    That is what I don’t understand about some people. Have you all talked about that (I am sure you have) option?

  • Kay

    Thank you Marye. The sadness is that we have discussed other non-penis intimacy for years, & he says he just has absolutely no interest. You are right that I may feel awful having an affair, but I am really at my wits end, & don’t want to separate at this point due to emotional & financial reasons.
    I feel that he isn’t trying at all to satisfy me in this, or several other areas, & no matter how I try to work on myself, I have both day & night dreams of intense anger & frustration at him.

  • http://www.myspace.com/heartmirth David

    “…he says he just has absolutely no interest.”

    Therein lies the heart of it. Whether he’s eighteen or eighty, if the desire/hunger for it is there, the rest follows along, regardless of arteriosclerosis ( there is a point in adv. heart disease where this is no longer true ), or age – Moses was said to be quite virile at a very advanced age.

    There are exceptions like spinal cord injuries, etc.

    I think in most of these cases, its usually the medicines that are the real culprit as they take a toll on the hormones. I’d wager that if his testosterone levels were checked, they’d be found to be low.

    Would he consider testosterone replacement therapy then?

    As far as the other remedy goes, I’ve known three couples where the husband gave permission – either directly or implicitly – for the wife to go outside for her needs.

    In two of the cases, it backfired badly. The husbands overlooked the fact that women, unlike men, do not usually engage in satisfying sexual relations without corresponding strong emotional ties. I.E. the woman would end up ‘falling in love’ with her partner – even when it turned out later that they had little in common.

    It just creates a lot of confusion and conflicting emotions in her as most women are unable to separate the strong emotions involved in sex from those she would feel towards a mate, father figure for her children, source of strength, etc.

    Without going into the long sordids, it left a big mess in the wake of the affairs, though in one of the two cases, the marriage eventually became much stronger than before. But it had been a close call and required a lot of painful soul-searching on both the husbands and the wife’s parts.

    In the third case it worked. However, the woman was wired differently ( on an emotional level ) than the avg woman, AND the encounters had been arranged by the husband so that they would be completely anonymous to her – she wore blindfolds or something.

    Anyway, that was probably a very rare situation. The bottom line is don’t do it. Kay’s husband hasn’t really thought out the consequences and in any advent, that is one Jeanie you can’t put back in the bottle once he gets out.

  • Marye Audet

    Kay, I agree with David here. No matter what your husband does or doesn’t do, when all is said and done you can’t compromise your own ethics.

    But I also want to point out to any men or women that may be reading that your own lack of desire does not release you from satisfying your mate. That is just disgustingly selfish and lazy.

    And it really pisses me off.

  • Kay

    Thanks David & Marye. He had his testosterone checked – normal. He is a very passive man in many areas, which causes other problems, too. Do any of you know of a site that deals with these medical/medication marriage issues? It sure looks like I need to separate from him…but that seems overwhelming. He IS being selfish and lazy. I have told him how this is really hurting me; he just shrugs & says there’s nothing he can do about it. Yes, it REALLY pisses me off! Now what?

  • Marye Audet

    Kay,
    you will find like minded people going through the same issues at the Marriage Bed. The link is in the side bar.In some ways what you are dealing with is not so different from what I am dealing with. Please keep talking here or somewhere and don;t do anything that you will regret.

  • Kay

    Thank you all so much. I was on the verge of starting to “look” for someone else, & you have given me good reasons to take some more time to reassess my situation and options. Your support means a lot to me, & is giving me a “next step” – keep coming here. Whew!

  • Marye Audet

    {{{{Kay}}}}
    you can email me privately if you need to unload. But doing it here is better because you get more opinions.

  • http://www.myspace.com/heartmirth David

    I for one, would be overjoyed for the opportunity to unload…

  • Marye Audet

    Ha. email your wife.

  • http://www.myspace.com/heartmirth David

    She doesn’t want to hear it ;)

  • Marye Audet

    LOL.

  • Maxx

    Married 42 years. Almost no sex in the beginning and nothing for the last 20 years. My husband is a closet gay but doesn’t act out due to super religious convictions.
    About 6 months ago I realized I could empower myself by telling myself that I have chosen to stay in the sexless marriage and I can leave anytime I choose. I know what is here in the brother/sister relationship and I know what is “out there.” My choice is to remain with my “brother.” My affair in 1989 was a disaster and has not been repeated. I said till death do us part and I will stick with it. Instead of watching love stories and such, I concentrate on other things and the yearning has gone away. I stay busy and try not to dwell on the situation, but I still go to websites like this one from time to time to remind me that I am not alone. Those of us who belong to this secret club of “involuntary celibates” feel alone but we are much more numerous than we know. I have put my marriage and family ahead of my sexual satisfaction. It is my choice.

  • Marye Audet

    Wow, Maxx. It is good that you are in charge of how you feel. And you are right..there are many more than I ever realized.

    Does your husband realize he is a closet gay or is he in denial? I am curious. How did you find out. ..If you don;t mind me asking.

    Thank you for posting.

  • Maxx

    I figured it out myself and confronted him. He said, “You may be right” which is as close to an admission as he will come. He was abused by a male teacher when he was 10 years old. It lasted about a year. I feel that we never really had a chance for happpiness with this huge secret between us.

  • Kay

    Maxx, you are a good role model for me. I too have a brother/sister role going, switches to mother/son when he’s sick (heart disease) which isn’t much fun, but necessary. You made me appreciate the friendship & companionship I do have, as I struggle with the rest. We have always had an imbalance of power (me top dog), which mirrors his past, & I’m sure has made these years harder for both of us.
    Good luck, and keep writing here.

  • Marye Audet

    Maxx that must have been difficult.

    Kay, this is awesome. I really had hoped that Marriage actually would be a forum for encouragement as well as advice and information.

  • Maxx

    My husband had cancer in 1981 and was given 6 months to live. He is still alive. In 2005 he had heart surgery and was not expected to make it through the first 24 hours. He made it. There must be a reason why he is still alive. I always ask myself, “What if the situation was reversed and I was the one with the health and sex problems. Would I need him to stay with me and take care of me?” I have to answer, “Yes!” Could I live with myself if I walked out on him. “No.” I took “for better or for worse” seriously. I had the very short-lived affair to find out if the problem was with me or my husband. It wasn’t me and I regret the affair. Other than that, I have remained faithful because it is important to me. Sometimes I kid myself and say I’m going to join a convent when my husband dies because I am already living like a nun! There is so much more to being a real woman than orgasms. They are nice but not essential for life – if they are not available with my chosen life partner I will do without. Not everybody thinks like I do and I understand. This just works for me.

  • Marye Audet

    Maxx,
    I think the main thing you have done is taken control of your situation. You have chosen to stay, you have chosen to remain faithful, you have chosen….
    It is hard to come to that point where we shift from being the victim of our circumstances to being the victor over them. It sounds like you have reached that.

  • C

    Married almost 2 years. Started strong from the beginning of the relationship, but quickly waned as time went on. My wife said that she had self-esteem issues. As time went on, I tried to help her feel better about herself. She seemed to be getting better, which caused her drive to diminish. She is the victim of abuse as a child. I just got back recently (I am in the military) and after a few times she told me she realized that she needed to be in total control of when and how we did it. I want to be supportive, but one night shortly after that, we were lying in bed and I felt the urge. Instead of trying to do anything to her (which would have gone against her control issue) I started to masturbate. She became extremely angry and informed me that she was frustrated at how “it’s always about the dick”. She told me that not only was sex now infuriating to her, but any sexual act by men, was aggravating her. To appease her I have been celibate. It has been several weeks now and she is asking about our plans for valentine’s day and I, especially after reading about these experiences am feeling unsure if I want to spend a valentine’s day with her. I love her, but the fact that without even wondering how it would affect me decided to murder our sex life (as well as other issues related to selfishness), and my attempting to numb my sex drive is making me start to hate her. The fact that I can’t even masturbate because it bothers her bothers me. Please help me, I welcome any advice anyone has.

  • Kay

    Maxx,
    Thanks for that information; you are a remarkably strong & wise woman. I’ve been in a similar “he’s going to die any day” situation since 1988, though he’s stable right now. What makes it harder is that we never had a good sex life – he wanted me to take the active role, which I’m just not cut out to do, though I tried – & he’s had multiple non-health related job problems & other personal issues throughout our marriage. I think I would have left long ago, but we had a wonderful daughter & he was a very good father. Now that she’s grown & gone, I’m left with….I’m not sure what.

  • Marye Audet

    C- I am going to be very down to earth here, ‘k? If someone does not want to have sex, and they don;t want you to masturbate then they are not selfish…they have serious issues. It is important that you sit down with her and communicate the depth of your need; how often, where she might be willing to compromise etc. If she continues then I suggest you get a sleeve from one of the online “toy” shops. I think there are some listed in the side bar. Human beings were not meant to live without sex. If you wanted sex once a day and she was willing to meet you halfway at 3 times a week, then I would say that you are being self centered. But the fact that you tried to not take care of your own needs because it bothered her shows compassion and willingness to sacrifice.
    My best suggestion is to do what you need to do to maintain your health and emotional well being sexually. Try to get her to go to counseling if possible. If you have a chaplain that you can talk to then that would be a good idea.
    Know that you are not alone. As you can see there are men and women in the same place, with the same frustrations.
    Mainly I want to caution you to watch resentment and anger towards what she is “forcing” you to do. Those emotions will lead to stress, health problems, emotional problems, and spiritual problems. Like Maxx you need to stop being a victim and make choices. ANd then take responsibility for the choices you make.
    Keep reading, and keep talking.

  • Marye Audet

    Kay- I think alot of empty nesters find themselves in that situation. :/

  • http://www.myspace.com/heartmirth David

    The knowledge of what an ‘empty-nester’ would be like can sometimes be gained without actually being an empty-nester.

    It can be a painful revelation to know that you and yours have little in common and don’t particularly enjoy spending your free time with each other.

    Instead of thinking ‘I’m stuck with this insufferable bore’; rather, take the time the time to find out who your partner really is and you might discover that they’ve some interesting qualities that you either forgot or didn’t see before.

    We accommodate and alter our outlook and attitudes when we are around someone we think splendid and special…if we ourselves were all that marvelous to begin with, maybe our partners would begin to react in kind.

    I haven’t done that yet…but I’m going to start taking my own advice.

    Let you know how it turns out.

    ============================

    “The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our Stars…but in ourselves”

  • Marye Audet

    True, David, but in the case of someone who is trying to figure out how to function because their spouse is allergic to sex…well…I think it is difficult to respond to the person as if they were marvelous.

  • LostinOZ

    I’ve been married for 23 year and my wife stopped wanting sex 5 years ago. The loss of the physical sex was hard enough, but the loss of the overall intimacy has me depressed, and at times even suicidal. We get along “OK”, and there is some cuddling type of intimacy, but it’s not enough and I’m terribly lonely, angry and resentful. It’s pushed me away from her and its causing me to feel less close to her as a person and a partner. She has shut off any and all discussions about it and gets extremely angry if I bring it up. According to her, a 50 year old man that still needs sex should seek counseling for a sexual addiction. She feels that that sex is only a “guy” thing and has now decided that it’s God’s curse on women; a necessary penence if one wants children. One of the hardest things about this is her insensitivity towards me and that’s the part making the temptation to have an affair hard to resist. I’m not sure how else I can continue to cope. Divorce is absolutely not an option, at least not for 10 more years.
    Thanks for letting me vent a little.

  • Marye Audet

    Lost-
    vent any time. It seems like a catch 22, those of us in this situation, that the more we push the worse it gets, yet if we don’t do something we will explode.
    sigh.

  • li’l m

    Thanks Maxx. That is a good perspective. I think it will help me alot.

    My husband has had a steadily declining sex drive (with me anyway) for the last two years. We haven’t had sex in over six weeks on this last run, with no end of the ‘dry spell’ in sight.

    He has always had a high sex drive, but since the birth of my daughter I became a ‘once, or twice a week’ kind of girl,(vs. almost every day) which was a bit of a shock for him.

    I have suspected he is having an affair with a co-worker for most of those two years of bedroom-time-decline (although he denies it), but I have no solid proof.

    He is attentive emotionally to me (except in the bedroom department), and supportive in general, and we are very good friends. I am learning to accept that as enough. (Although some days it is harder than others.)

    I focus on my work (artist) and my daughter, walk, ride my horses, and in the summer spend a lot of time with my ‘riding buddies’. I’m not against masturbation (please forgive my frankness), and I can handle my own once a week ‘needs’ very well, thank-you-very-much. (LOL)

    Some days I feel sorry for myself and dwell on the fact that I’m a little young (32) for celibacy; but having an affair to ‘get what I’m missing’ just isn’t in me. Besides two wrongs don’t make a right, and I feel it would just up the complication ante by way too much.

    I know that a lot of people will look down on me for this but; long story short, I stay–for my own reasons–but I CHOOSE to stay. It will help me to remember that, and to remember that my reasons are good ones. I feel I’m doing the right thing, even though sometimes it is the hard thing. It is certainly not the current socially acceptable thing, but it is the right choice for me and my daughter.

  • Marye Audet

    Lil- I don’t know that it isn’t the socially acceptable thing. It seems to me that there are an awful lot of people doing hte same thing. Be sure to read the interviews with Todd Sellick on this site. You should be able ot do a search…

  • LostinOZ

    A followup on my venting on Jan 31st. This month, through a purely chance encounter, I met a woman who is in a similar place as me. We hit it off and have started a sexual relationship. It’s made a huge difference in my outlook; I had forgotten the pleasure of mutual intimacy. Of course we both know it can’t be a long term or too-often type of relationship, but it’s taken my mind off the resentment toward my wife’s attitude and insensitivity towards me. On the other hand I look at some of my friends, who I look up to for their integrity, and wonder what they would do in the same situation.

  • Marye Audet

    Lost, I wonder, and you are the only one that can answer this, if compromising your values and ethics is going to have a more negative effect long term than celibacy..which is also no picnic?
    I so understand that loss of intimacy..it isn’t just about the sex but a deeper connection that happend during sex. Just like eating is fun because the food tastes good but necessary because your body requires the nutrition…Yet, if I had to choose between cannibalism and starvation, for example, I am pretty sure I could handle the starvation better.
    Think this through carefully. Make sure that you can live with the ramifications.
    Praying for you. :)

  • Maxx

    It was interesting to learn that a CT woman had the companionship of a chimp. The news report said her husband had passed away. I had a cat who got me through the tough times. My little cat and I were inseparable. He went to work with me and slept in my arms. He was warm and fuzzy and purred and I felt loved even when I felt my husband didn’t love me. My husband and I had no sex and we had no intimacy of any kind. I never knew how far it would go when he got physical and would get all excited only to find it stopped and he would go to sleep. I was starved for affection and closeness and touching. He just avoided me at all costs for years. Thank heaven for my little cat. I miss him.

  • Marye Audet

    Maxx- we are created to need fellowship, acceptance, love, and affection as well as more obvious needs like food and shelter. Sometimes it is necessary to have those needs met by pets, which is one of the reasons animals are such a mainstay in our environments I think

  • Jojo

    you always take your chances when you depend on another for your own sexual happiness. You should be more independent and know what you have to share is very special and if someone else doesn’t want it then it is their problem not yours. Know that there are many others who will want it. I’m in a 20 year sexless marriage and this is the philosophy I have used to survive it.

  • Maxx

    One of the things that made me crazy through the years was the fact that everybody loved my husband. He was very respected in the community and people were always asking me about him and telling me how much they admired him. We moved a lot because I felt discounted. I kept “the secret” so nobody ever knew what a sham our marriage was (at least in my eyes.) We were in business together and he was incredibly popular. I did most of the work behind the scenes and he got all the credit. Truthfully, I did start to drink in the first year of our marriage. We both did. I would get him drunk enough to get him to cooperate and drunk enough not to care. I think that is what happened when he was molested by his teacher at age 10.
    Drinking became enough of a problem for me to stop and turn to medications prescribed by doctors. I got off the drugs in 1984 and turned back to booze in 1985. I finally got sober in 1994. My husband stood by me and was willing to help me with my problem. At least that is what he told my therapist. I was still keeping the secret. He was heroic in the eyes of the doctors.
    I could not admit that my husband did not want me. I was an unwanted child and was starved for love. My violent acoholic mother used to tell me she hated me from the day she knew she was pregnant. She tried to kill me more than once. My dad couldn’t be bothered with me. I was just a problem that had to be dealth with. I met my husband while I was still in high school. It seemed a perfect match because we agreed completely about everything!!! We wanted the exact same things in life. At least that is what he told me until the day we got married. I was 18 years old and was faced with rejection from my new husband and there was no where to go to. I decided to stay. I was too stunned to do anything else. I made my “single” bed and now I could just lay in it all alone. There were no babies either. So I ate. My highest weight was 278. I am 5 foot 4. The fat was to protect me from myself. No man would want me and I would not be tempted. I had a lot of male friends who looked upon me as a mother or a sister or someone who would lend them money – never as an object of desire. I threw myself into work. I often had three jobs and worked 7 days a week. The more I worked, the more he didn’t have to. I went to therapy regularly and my therapists told me they had never met anyone as invested in “getting well” as I was. I still kept the secret because I didn’t want to hurt his precious ego. After all, that was about all he had. One day I started to tell certain people about the secret and they didn’t want to know and stayed away from me. So we moved again. We are retired.
    That is where is stands today. I have invested 45 years of my life in this man and I am still waiting for someone, anyone, to say the magic words, “I think you’re special and I could love you if you would give me a chance.” Other than that, I’m doing okay. :)

  • Jojo

    To describe a sexless marriage couple as “high drive” and “low drive” is not really correct in many cases. Often the Refuser’s lack of interest is situational and partner specific. He or she still has a sex drive and would very well be fine in another relationship or they may prefer daily masturbation over partner sex.

  • Nat

    I have been married for two years, my husband and I saved ourselfs until marraige. I have always considered myself to have a normal sex drive even though I suffered abuse as a child. After our honeymoon my husband stopped wanting sex alltogether, eventually he confesed he had been abused aswell. He burst into tears and couldn’t speak about it anymore. He didn’t get out of bed all day. I was as understanding as I could be given that since he had never had sex before he couldn’t have known how it would effect him. Two years on we very very raley have sex. He can’t handle penetrating me but he will use a vibrater on me and sometimes let’s me pleasure him in other ways. At first I was so embarassed and blamed myself thinking I was unattractive and that my desire for sex was somehow wrong. I’ve improved my outlook a bit now but I just want to say that dispite this we are so in love. He is very affectionate and loving. In fact besides the sex he is a fantastic partner and I could never imagine not having him by my side. It was hard for both of us but you can get beyond sex you can still have a wonderfull relationship.

  • Pud44

    I am so very grateful to have found this Blog.

    My husband was very offhand about sex when we first met which I found quite exciting in the beginning but once we married, rather than hotting up a bit, it went colder. He says he loves me, fancies me and “thinks about it” but that he ignores it because it is often ‘not at appropriate times’ (!). To complicate matters, we left having a family to chance even though he said he has always wanted children as neither of us wanted any pressure. Of course, I have never become pregnant. It is not spoken about and we have just tried to get on with our lives. Ten years ago I had 3 horrible operations, encouraged by my husband, after a visit to the doctors showed I had endometriosis (blocked tubes) so I know my chances are slim. Since then, I have tried to count my blessings and put it all behind me and my husband says “oh well, we’re alright as we are”.

    However, the lack of sex and closeness has got worse and makes me feel ugly, unattractive, unwanted and old before my time. Since the failed operations I felt less of a woman too and wanted reassurance. I try to hide this as best I can and remain outwardly cheerful but it has taken its toll.

    A few months ago I had crippling chest pains. I am a slim, fit non-smoker so went to the doctors expecting it to be nothing. After a checkup and an ECG referral, the GP asked me if I had suffered any long-term grief; he also asked if I had any children. I broke down in tears and cried so deeply I felt ill; it all came out. Apparently one of my heart valves is not working properly and the ECGs indicate stess. The GP was very kind and on seeing my distress offered an appointment with a fertility clinic as he said it is not too late for children if we still want them. My husband was encouraging when I told him and I was overjoyed but when we got there we were asked about our sex life and he lied, saying we had sex twice a week. I was shocked and cried when we got back to the car. He says it doesn’t matter and that he was just a bit embarrassed, but now it means that the hospital think we just need to ‘keep trying’. I am 45 this birthday and I weep when I am alone for all that might have been.

    To make things worse, I left a wonderful man 15 years ago (after 5 years together) purely because I wanted children and he didn’t (he was lonely and divorced when I met, with two little girls). We both broke our hearts over it but neither of us felt we could compromise and we always promised to be honest with each other. I still see the girls regularly (all grown up now) and their Dad and I still send Christmas cards with my husband’s knowledge. From day one I missed this man but I tried to focus on my new life with my husband. Over the years I admit I find myself still longing for the sort of closeness, trust, love and frequent passionate sex we shared. I wish I could have this with my husband but we never have; he says he could ‘happily live without it’ (sex).

    I masturbate and have a sex toy which my husband is aware of and says he isn’t bothered about. If I try to talk to my husband about it all, he says “give it time, I’m just not in the mood”. We have been together for 13 years…..

  • Jojo

    lack of attraction to the partner is also a big reason for sexless marriages

  • Kay

    Thanks to everyone who has shared their stories. It makes me feel less creepy to know I’m not the only one. I knew when I got married that my husband-to-be had a low sex drive, but I never expected it to get this bad. We have had sex once in the past 5 years. He says that it’s not me, that he just has no desire at all, but I still feel ugly and unwanted. I have discussed divorce with him 3 times, but he thinks our marriage is perfect (and it pretty much is except for being sexless) and always persuaded me to stay with him. We’ve been married for 13 years and I think I’ve given up on leaving, but I still feel cheated and bitter about it. And I think I’m getting too old to find anyone else and I don’t want to be alone.

  • Agent C

    People want sex THAT badly? No better then a bunch of animals. If you’re all that horny just go to a bloody orgy then, I am sure that will satisfy you more than enough sexually.

    Enjoy sexual addiction.

    • Sing

      The quesiton is if they want physical sex or emotional intimacy that comes with sex? (pun intended)

  • trish

    It has been so reassuring to know that I’m not the only one with this problem! My husband lost interest in sex with me after about a year, was pretty good before that, then became once every 6 weeks or so. He sees it as my problem, says that he just has a lower sex drive than me. I used to get upset about it, sometimes even drank too much to numb the pain. He is just indifferent, he made a few negative comments about my body which he now says meant nothing (basically he likes Kylie Minogue)but obviously I think about what he has said and assume that he thinks I’m ugly and just doesnt fancy me. ok I’m no supermodel, but I’m not hideous either! I have reached a point now where I feel I’m just no longer interested in him sexually, I feel annoyed with myself for being needy and wanting intimacy in the past. He has been interested a couple of times recently, but I can’t even bring myself to kiss him properly, I have a protective barrier around me now and I can’t risk feeling the hurt and pain again. If I give in then it will be back to how it used to be and I don’t want that, but neither do I want to be celibate for the rest of my life. I still love him, we get on well and have a good laugh together. No matter what I do now, I still have this niggling feeling that I must be so ugly and it affects other aspects of my life too. Hmmm I think I’ve rambled on a bit here, but its the first time I’ve talked about this and just writing it down has helped!

  • UnfortunateSolution

    Thanks to all who have shared their personal stories. Not sure why I felt compelled to write, but maybe it will provide some insight into why affairs sometimes happen. My wife’s sex drive has never been very high and as the years have passed it has continued to decline. After 20 years, her desire for sex is virtually non-existent. Begging for sex is humiliating and I feel that when she agrees to make love that it is out of charity. I’ve told her how I feel and even asked her to go to counseling, but she refused. I’ve always kept fit and have never had a problem attracting women. Additionally, my job exposes me to women in both professional and social settings. I eventually violated my own values to satisfy my needs. While I feel guilt for being unfaithful, my relationship with my wife is in many ways better because the underlying sexual tension is gone. I wish that I could have found a more honest way to deal with this but, for me, I have found an unfortunate solution.

  • not a happy camper

    Me: married 18 years, one child, 17. He moved into the guest room soon after our kid was born. No sex in 10 years, and it was pretty scarce (and frankly awkward and lousy) for 5 years before that.

    I used to want to return to a normal marriage, but that train left the station long ago. At this point I see my husband as a good friend, there is no sexual attraction between us at all anymore. I know the truth, that he doesn’t want to have sex with me, and if I did get him to do it it would be just “pity sex.” We love each other, but we’re just roommates. I’m realizing that I need more from life.

    I’ve spent a huge portion of the last 15 years feeling sad, ugly, and lonely. I’m not going to put up with it anymore.

    I’m considering three options at this point: separation, divorce, or asking for an open marriage.

    Never, ever thought I’d be in this situation…

    Problem is, he’s happy as can be with the way things are. It’s going to break his heart, which makes me sick to think about.

    Like my name says, I’m seriously not a happy camper.

  • Okay

    Been married 5 years, 2 kids. Sex about once a month or less – sometimes not for months. Neither of us mind – both of us have low drive, but are happy as a couple. We ruminate that maybe there’s something wrong with us. For both of us, we talk about how if we were married to someone who wanted sex more than once a month, we would be divorced by now. Neither of us were ever abused sexually. Wondering if there are other couples out there who feel perfectly fine in a sexless marriage but because you’re not “supposed” to feel fine, wonder if you’re abnormal.

  • Tilda

    My husband decided a month ago that he wanted to have a celibate marriage. This is on the grounds of being influenced by Buddhism and Elisabeth Haich (I haven’t read her book ‘Initiation’ but my husband has…it is now on my reading list). And he also admits to hating his penis on the grounds of it being so small. (This has been an issue throughout the marriage. I think he has nothing to worry about and I have certainly had no complaints!)

    We have been married for nearly 3 years and it has been tough. I moved countries, cultures and languages. (We speak his language at home). I am 37 now (he is 42) and I took my marriage vows very seriously.

    My husband has also vented his feelings of extreme jealousy about my previous relationships. He also notes that this is unreasonable of him. (I privately agree – especially when I spent the first year living next to his 10 yr old son and ex-partner (who has repartnered and had another child).

    What is so distressing about this celibacy decision is that my husband was very clear when we met that sex was the way he felt most comfortable about expressing his love. He hasn’t said ‘I love you’ for the past year, so that has been some (lukewarm) comfort.

    And I don’t want to be celibate. I miss my husband as a lover (and have told him this). He was the most generous and gentle lover I have ever had (and I have told him this too). I don’t want to be celibate at 37.

    It has been comforting and incredibly sad to read other comments about the impact of being sexually-rejected by one’s mate. I feel ugly. And I just want to burst into tears at inconvenient moments. (And I frequently do burst into tears…in private).

    Thanks to my husband’s long monologues on Buddhism, I am aware that all my feelings are manifestations of ‘ego’. But it is also how I feel. And whilst I respect his attraction to Buddhism, I am incredibly angry that that takes No. 1 place, over his decision to marry me…and have a sexual relationship. I am not Buddhist. I am Christian.

    I am almost angry about that too. I don’t want to divorce but neither do I want to live like this. And even if I divorced on paper, it would change nothing about the vows I made. I don’t think I could ever marry again because with my heart and soul I married this man. And I love him. I am happy to even read his books, talk with him about them (fortunately we can also talk about other things). But I’m not happy that they have come into the bedroom.

    I really don’t know what the way forward is from here. I don’t think there is one; other than acceptance. I have told my husband my feelings about his decision. And of course, who wants to make love with someone who doesn’t want to make love with you? I don’t.

    It all just feels very unreal. If he was a boyfriend, it would be the end of the relationship. But this is my husband. It is just the end of the sexual relationship.

    I am really trying to look for some deeper meaning in this. But it’s all so raw that I’m probably not ready to see it…if I can. And this is a long entry but it has been one positive thing I can do. I am not ready to entrust this to friends in my home country and there is no one here I care to share this madness with.

    And deep down, I also have suspicions that it is a way for him to exercise ‘control’. Just like not saying ‘I love you’. In moments of clarity I am contemplating divorce – even if it means that I will not remarry or enter into another partnership.

  • Richard

    I have just found this site doing a search for sexless marriage. About a year ago my wife decided she just doesn’t feel it anymore, and cut off sex. we went like that for several months, no sex at all. We attended a special weekend for couples to reconnect. It worked for 3 months. We were having sex again like when we were first together! About 2 months ago now, she cut it off again with the same “just not feeling it” excuse. We have been married for 9 years, have 2 boys 4 and 6. I really don’t know what to do. I love my wife, and I don’t want to break up the family. But I am afraid life without sex or even just hugging, kissing or cuddling will just bring on depression for me. We are only 40 and 41 years old. The pain of climbing in to bed every night and not being able to touch her is becoming intense. How do you cope? I tried getting out the frustration at the gym, but it doesn’t work.

    • florida_madman59

      Pal, IT DONT GET BETTER! I have been celebate all my life! I have had sex threee times in my life! I am not scared of death because of my lack of sex. I do not feel complete. I am daring and fearless. That is one plus, I guess!?

    • Oki2010

      I can’t believe I’m reading my exact feelings written by someone else. My husband is not interested in sex (with me or anyone) and after several years of begging and insisting I stopped recently. I quietly have stopped asking for it and touching him. Every night the pain of being so alone next to him seems unbearable. I feel I need the unique deep connection with him that comes through sex. I don’t know that I can keep on living this way. I have no idea how to cope.

    • Franco

      I sleep on the floor of the living room. That way I remind myself that marriage life is tough as hard wood floors and cold as if it was winter every day. I’m sick of masturbating, but I’m too afraid to divorce cause she’ll take our son to another country. I shouldn’t have ever married, have had children or deal with humans… I’m gonna get me a dog… or a pet turtle.. Anything!

  • Marye Audet

    I wish I knew what to tell you. I will say that Marc and I are now divorced for a variety of reasons; however sex was definitely one of them. The divorce was not my idea, nor did I want it, however now that I am walking through it I am content with it. Only you can decide what you can and can’t handle in marriage. I can tell you that the idea of celibacy or near celibacy on and off for the next 30 years was not appealing to me at age 50.

  • matt1941

    Just to share my experience!. My wife and I have been married for 43 years and they have been great ones. And we haven’t had sex or used the word sex for about 30 years now. We didn’t have sex on our wedding night, because my wife wasn’t ready for that. We ended our honeymoon the next day and went back to work. Some how in our marriage we had two accidents known as kids, there grown and gone.Now we are good friends and partners with the same last name who happen to sleep in the same bed. Were in our 60s fatter and unattractive , but having a great time with life

    • funlove

      I am so glad to hear a man comment on having a great time with his wife with no sex. My fiance and I used to have sex alot, then he went through rehab and when he got out, he seemed to lose all interest in sex. But it has not really bothered me, because we actually became closer and started having more fun together. We are getting married in 2 months and we have talked alot about this subject. He says he just needs more time and that is fine with me. And if/when his desire returns, I will be there for him as sexy as ever. If it does not return, I will still be happy bacuse I love him and he loves me. We are best friends and we have a blast together.. It is not about sex…it is about intimacy and LOVE. And we have both.

    • Sing

      Great attitude! I love it!

  • Aslo in Pain

    I am 55 years old. I have been married 29 years, have two great kids, loved my wife and have lived with infrequent (once every 3 – 6 months) sex through most of the marriage. I have always been faithful to my wife. When I think about it, I cannot remember if she has ever initiated sexual relations. Yesterday, I was told that sex was not a priority for her and that she thought marriage was about more than just sex. She told me that if I was not happy, I should find “it” elsewhere. I guess why I used the “Also in Pain” name, is that I understand the difference between the physical sexual need and emotional need. While the lack of the physical is extremely difficult to bear at times, the lack of emotional connection is devastating.

    I do not know what to do. Funny, this is the first time I have looked at this subject in the internet. There is some emotional relief in the realization that there are many other people suffering through similar situations – always good not to be alone in life.

    Life is short, I have lost both my mother-in-law and my mother over the past four months. What does that have to do with this subject? Well, I guess, life is short and it is more important than I perhaps previously thought, to address things that bother me.

    I would like to hear from people, who may have been in a similar situation that found some answers…

    • I’m also lost…

      Loosely similar to you “Also in Pain”… Married with two kids from my previous relationship and have had issues with sex pretty much right from the start of the relationship (struict religion and anxiety during childhood has passed on the lovely gift of female sexual dysfunction which renders our marriage almost sexless)… I’ve been told that I need to be more supportive and understanding, but I’m so at the end of my tether after three years of being patient and supportive.

      We’re going to couples therapy (into our fourth week), and with my last suggestion to consider (entertaining just the possibility of an open marriage with a view to do more reserach), being shut firmly down last night, I have no idea what to do next… If you have any updates on how to move past this, then please let me know!

  • william

    I hurt my back about 5 years ago, and had an operation that didn’t fix it. 2 herniated vertebra. So we never had a great sex, once a week was good. But some years it would be like 52 times. But since I hurt myself she has backed off a lot. I can only lay there basically and she does the work, which was fine for her at first. But she started missing the more vigorous activities, and positions. But it was hard to keep up for me. So we went to mutual masturbation to help each other. And last 2 years, 2008, we had intercourse 8 times, And 2009 13. Yes I mark it on the calendar. I used to bug her for it all the time, that is why I started marking calendar. But she would have a lot of excuses it seems. This was before injury. Now she sometimes brings it up she needs it. But always at wrong times it seems. What do we do. I once told her after she had stopped, that maybe it isn’t important enough to us now. We used to get mad because her sister and hubby did it almost everyday.

  • http://bakingdelights.com marye

    I suggest themarriagebed.com . It is a huge, tasteful, Christian forum where you can talk freely about anything of an intimate nature. It has been very helpful to me.

  • florida_madman59

    I deal with it by hang gliding, astonomy, R/C airplanes and helicopters, restoring air old airplanes, hiking and camping, SCUBA, sailing, masterbating etc. I am 50 and I have been told I am a nice looking man and I am in good shape. I never had sex in my teens and was and am ackward with women. I am in good shape. I work out ever day which makes things even worse! Testosterone levels are high! I do not have kids, no sex-no kids, and I do not feel complete. It drives me CRAZY!
    I think women dont have much of a sex drive and they lose it all in their 40s. They are full of shit when they say they desire sex as much because if that were true there would not be so many men suffering out there!

  • downunder dave

    I had frequent and enjoyable sex with my wife for the first couple of years of our marriage, but after the arrival of our first son that tapered off, to perhaps once a week. After our second son’s birth my wife lost all interest in sex. I tried for years to gently suggest relations through cuddling etc, but we haven’t had sex (or anything more intimate than a once a month hug and kiss) for more than 14 years.

    We get on as friends, in a lot of ways better than when we first met. But we don’t even share the same bed. Sometimes I just feel so alone and inadequate.

    I haven’t cheated on my wife, and have found alternate ways of satisfying my desires (God bless the internet!). I have what I would consider to be a normal libido for a man in his 40s (every couple of days) but I must admit that the thought of not having sex with another person for the last third of my life, and the prospect of never having sex again is begin to weigh heavily on my mind.

    A recent brush with mortality has alerted me to the fact that life is not a dress rehearsal. I hope I end up like #Matt1941, but at the moment I’m feeeling more like #Aslo in Pain. I’m on the cusp of going to seed, and up until now I’ve managed to ignore the pretty young things who like to flirt. I not sure I’m going to anymore. What’s more, I’m not sure I want to.

    • juicee2200

      DD,
      I am so glad I read your post. I am in a sexless relationship which believe me is not my idea at all!!! I hav e tryed to communicate with my husband BUT he says that he wants to b celibate and it really not open for discussion.

      I am 44 years old, however I don’t look my age at all. I often get mistaken for being in my mid to late 20′s and it is difficult to get hit on when I have desires but I would feel like I am betraying my mate if I acted on them.
      I need the attention and touch of a man and I want and need to have sex. I drink socially,I don’t smoke, I really don’t have any real vices. I love cuddling and intimacy and write now I am in a loveless abyss.

      What do you do?

  • seamist1974

    my husband and i also have neevr had sex at all – i am afraid of birth control thing bc of side effects so you are not alone i also have very little sex drive – and hehas a ton i dont know what the future holds for us – but will try to find a way for him to have sex maybe i will just get my tubes tied and have it over with – the pregnancy factor is what scares the HELL out of me — i dont want kids and neither of us can afford them- he wants kids some day though so then what – i would like to just go and tie my tubes and possibly thats what i may end up doing – he wont get a v snippy at all – he is so sure he wants kids some day – he has never even been around kids so how does he know ! ?

    • seamist1974

      plus we are both to old for kids – i will 36 and he will be 39 soon – i wouldnt want them so late in life

  • chime

    I am 47 and I married a man 15 years older then myself we have been married 4 years now and have not had sex. Our wedding night I was devistated when I came out all dressed for him and he said he was too tired. I tried everything for the first year. I am over weight and I have always felt un attractive but he assured me when we were dating that he thought I was beautiful. I have begged and cried and on a rare occasion he will offer but if I say ok then he says tomorrow we will do it. Well that day still has not come. He knows I get depressed. I feel ugly and lonely. I question if he loves me or have I been taken for a sucker.

  • Michael

    It took me many years to realize that most women draw power and control from their sexuality. When I become mature enough to stop acting like an overgrown puppy and begging for it all the time, I gained a tremendous amount of my own self respect back. Women know that to be desirable gives them power, and power gets them what they want. Ergo; no longer desirable, no longer poweful. That’s why women report feeling depressed etc. Their sexual power has been taken away. Frankly it was quite easy. I realized I was acting like a fool and most time getting excuses and turned down. The power being that “maybe you’ll get some later if you are a good boy.” I gave up and realized what she was really doing. I have not had sex with my wife in over 2 years. I don’t have affairs, nor do I masturbate. She tried numerous times to get me “in the mood”. She serves wine, I drink 1 glass then have a large glass of water. She puts on a sexy nightgown for bed, I stay up and watch an old movie. For the first time, I am in charge and I love it. I only wish I’d know this secret years ago when I was making a fool of myself at singles’ bars and in the dating scene.

    • Geof

      Very well said Michael. I have recently began abstaining also. When my wife makes advances, I do not respond. What you say about the power is truly on the mark. I do not seek power myself, only to be removed from hers. Another aspect is dependency. A good sexual relationship is a wonderful thing but if one partner can not be depended on to accommodate the other when in need, it is a put down of the greatest psychological magnitude. A lifestyle, or a marriage, of celibacy is much more peaceful.

  • CRM

    It isn’t as hard as you might think — to deal with a lack of sex, that is. I am a guy, and I guess I have a standard sex-drive for someone my age (late twenties). My wife does not, and when we have had sex — it is out of pity for me (I find out afterwards)… and since she is simply not into it, she is not ‘ready’ physically — and it hurts her.

    For these factors I just deal with it. I used to ask for it, now I don’t — what’s the point? If she gives in, ‘cos she feels guilty, it hurts her — and I do NOT want to hurt her — not for something as insignificant (aside from procreation purposes) as having sex (in the long run). If she has sex with me, I want it to be because she wants to — it is selfish of me to only think of myself, and I feel animal about it. Loving someone is about putting them and their needs first. On another note, since we do not ever want kids — no harm, no foul.

    I love my wife, and in some ways, I feel closer to her w/o sex (haven’t told her this). I feel I can express myself in other ways, and these ways have continually become apparent to me… sort of like someone losing their sight, but becoming heightened in other senses.

    Sex is something you learn to live without — as with all things in life, the strong adapt and get stronger when facing adversity, the weak get weaker. Like the article reads above, I have tended to focus on other goals in my life — my music career, my art and writing, and my bodybuilding goals.

    So for those going through this, know that there is more to life AND your relationship (assuming the celibacy isn’t due to marital problems) than sex. I’m young, considered attractive, and in my sexual prime, but it is what it is. Hang in there!

  • isthereanyhope

    I am in the same position as Tilda. My husband has unilaterally decided that he is not interested in it. Initially he cited reasons that I was too agressive a wife, that he doesnt feel emotional connect with me. But after years of probing it came out that he does not get the urge. He will not take medical help, saying this is not on top of his priorities. If I push him too hard, he says he is an old man by heart, and he is ready to die. But he is such a loving father to our daughter, and also a great friend for me in many ways, and he had stood with me through thick and thin. At times I feel sorry for him, and vow never to broach this subject again. But, when I atleast want a hug, and he avoids that by watching movies on TV till I go to sleep, I get mad with fury. I would like to reduce my drive to match it if I could, but I just cannot make him believe it is important or something that can be fixed. I am just 36 and so is my husband and we have been like this for years now. I cannot help thinking that if only he could see a doctor, there may be no big issue at all, but there is no way that is going to happen.

  • Lyonesse

    It is distressing but comforting to hear so many people in the same boat as me. My husband had a similar (if a little lower) sex drive than me at first but during the first couple of years his sharoly declined. We struggle on which leaves him feeling pressured and me feeling unattractive and unwanted. The 2 or 3 times a year when we do have sex it is very late at night when I just want to sleep but don’t feel I can say no and almost always purely catering to his fetishes, so I am left feeling unsatisfied, tired and miserable.

    I have thought about leaving but he keeps lying and promising that things will change. They never do. We have a one year old (thank god I got pregnant relatively quickly so didn’t have to nag for too long) but now we are now talking about having another. I don’t think I can go through the stress of getting him to have sex again, but I can’t leave as he is a wonderful father to my son. What is more, I nearly died last year (I had a stroke at 6 months pregnant) and was left with a duff arm and a limp and he stuck by me the whole time so I feel like I owe him to stick around and who else would want a disabled woman anyhow?

    I love him but I’m not sure that things can go on like this any more – I am 34 and feel like I am throwing my life away on a man who doesn’t want me.

    • afriend

      Having no sex does not mean there’s no love anymore. love and sex belong to different instincts. love is associated to affection, comfort, safety whereas sex is much more related to violence. love implies relationship, sex, on the other hand, does not exactly because you can have sex alone when practice masturbation, for example.

  • Blessing

    I have been in marriage for 20 years and two children. Ten years ago, my husbands’ appetite for sex went downhill. He is diabetic and very stubborn. He refuses to see a doctor. On the odd occasion when he has tried to perform, it’s been disasterous and left me feeling unfulfilled and insecure. Because of love and the covenant I made with God, I will never consider infidelity, but it’s a tough road.

  • je f bawden

    my wife is celibate through choice and it drives me wild ,i need sex,women dont need sex, men do i know were all souls its just that on aphysical plane im weak

  • Chris

    It makes me feel so much better that there are other people like me.I’ve been married 7 years,Im 35 and my husband is 49.We have a 6 year old son, my husband is a great Dad.Because we are not physical at all I have a very low self-esteem and feel unattractive.

  • bc04bt

    I have been married 15 years, and we have two children. Similar to other posts here, my wife lost interest after we had or second child six years ago. I take pride in being a good and loyal husband, but living without sex weighs heavily on me.

    Until last year, I enjoyed a strong sense of community with having lived in the same area for about 10 years. However, we moved about 18 months ago when I took a new job. The job has gone great. But on a personal level it’s fair to say that I feel extremely isolated. I enjoy time with my kids and have no desire to ruin their lives with a divorce. My wife can be friendly company at times but is not meeting my needs. Abject loneliness. No other way to put it, so I’m not coping so well.

  • Jennifer

    I have been married for 26 years, and we have not had sex for the last 21 years. And before that very infrequently and never successful. My husband is disabled with a progressive disease, was disabled when we met but not at the level he is now. We were both married before. He was affectionate until recently, but now is not. I would not have a relationship with anyone else but I am very lonely.

  • SPQR

    I want to have sex with my husband, but can’t stomach it anymore!

    I have a young marriage..our second anniversary is in a few days. We have a toddler, but it’s not the lack of time or energy that makes me not want sex- it is the fact that my husband is so mean to me, and he makes me feel worthless and unloved. He barely spends time with me and when he does- he yells at me about his sexual needs. I feel like I am a whore when I let him have sex with me, I never am satisfied -even though he is actually quite good. I find the activity overly-long, uncomfortable, and dirty and I feel like I am lying to my husband when he asks if ‘it was ok’ and I say ‘yes’..but as any man knows..I can’t possibly say no.

    Doesn’t he care that I’m lonely, doesn’t he notice that I derive NO pleasure from sex? Doesn’t he notice that I stop dressing nicely, wearing make-up, doing my hair?

    We used to have sex 5-6 times a day, and good sex…we practically bought out the Frederick’s catalog! And now I just don’t want to, with him. I’m an attractive, tall, pretty blonde and I know that I could get another man…so why won’t he want to put in the tiny effort to make me feel human to him..so I would want to have sex with him?

    Please tell me, why would a man rather live in a sexless marriage with an unhappy, unkempt wife; when he could simply be nice and live with a happy, beautiful wife who can’t wait to have the good sex with him?

  • jeff bawden

    find agood man that will love you

  • mamacito

    I don’t know SPQR, sounds like your man is going through something unrelated to you and is taking it out on you. Pick yourself up, put on some lipstick, just say no to the bad sex and get your mojo back. Once you’ve got your feet under you again, tackle him on why he’s turned into such a jerk.

    I’ve been there, I’m going through it (minus the sex) and let me tell you, the only thing you can do is pick yourself up and find yourself again. You’ll be happier once you remember who you were before your broken heart.

    Good luck!

  • Stuck

    I have been so lonely for so many years. I have lost count. I use to think i did something wrong and I searched high and low for something, anything to fix that would make it better. I work out five days a week. I’m in better physical condition than I was when we got married 15 years ago. He acts as if he recents my fittness level rather appreciates it.

    I believe that when it comes to your marriage, you have to put your pride aside. I have begged my husband to do simple things like call me in the middle of the day or return my call. He has a beautiful voice and I love to hear it on the other end of the phone. I use to beg him to hold me and squeeze me. He would give me what would be the equivalent of the dead fish hand shake. It was humiliating. I have even begged him to make love to me with no resulting response. It has been so long I can’t remember what it feels like any more.

    We’ve gone to counseling at my insistance and he was told to court his wife….what a joke. I’ve explained that I am lonely. I told him that I want to see love in his eyes from across a room and hear it in his voice. I’m afraid that I’m wasting my life waiting for something that is never going to happen.

    Believe it or not it’s really not the sex that I miss…It’s more the intimacy….the emotional and mental connection that I miss. I feel as if there is no one on the entire earth that I can say loves me.

    We live a lie and I feel stuck. I want to live as full a life as possible with the time I have left. The comments of Nick Wheeler are really resonating with me. I don’t want to wake up 10 years from now and I’m still feeling the same emptiness.

    • Diana

      I can totally understand your feeling a lack of intimacy. My husband of 25 years and I haven’t had sex in over nine years. I am at my wit’s end. I just want to have someone kiss me and make love to me. It is a need for human touch that I miss. Lately, I am getting so angry for being treated this way for so long. I am older now (40′s) and perhaps, may never find a good man to love me but I’d almost rather have hope on my side than this awful life. Please do yourself a favor and leave. Find someone that will make you feel alive again. I am so afraid but I am going to do it myself. The only thing that has held me back are my children but I can’t do it anymore. I wish I’d left sooner.

  • Sad & frustrated

    I understand most of the comments here, but disagree strongly with je f bawden
    & his assertion that women don’t need sex. Not true at all. Certainly, speaking for myself only, I would submit that women do need sex. I am a woman & I need sex. I need it for stress relief, for closeness, for endorphins, for cementing the relationship. I just wish my husband felt the same.
    When we used to have sex regularly (2-3 times a week), a feeling of bonding would follow. I would breath in his scent, feel his chest against my cheek & feel absolute contentment & security.
    Now … I question everything. I feel we don’t communicate well, there are many misunderstandings because I feel seperate from him. I feel like he is living his life & I am living mine.
    We cuddle on the sofa, sleep in the same bed & even spoon there … but there is zero sexual contact. When I touch him in the way I used to to indicate I have interest, he just ignores it like it never happened.
    I have brought it up & he says he is having stress at work & just needs sleep. It makes me feel like I am begging & nagging & I hate it.
    I have stress at work too, & I need to feel loved & wanted & connected to him on a deeper level than roommates.

  • kiwibird

    I spent 15 years in what ended up being an almost totally sexless marriage. My husband didn’t like kissing, thought it was ‘icky’. He didn’t like any other position other than missionary, or worse, oral, with himself on the receiving end rather than me. The sex was simply bad, bad, bad, bad, BAD. And, in his eyes, this was all my fault for not being ‘sexy’ enough, it being the responsibility of the woman (in his opinion) to turn on the man. It was a big part of what finally killed our marriage completely. I spent the next seven years after my divorce nearly celibate, and the few sexual encounters I did have convinced me that my sex drive had died long ago, orgasm one of those things I could only remember fondly in the far distant past. I had accepted it, however, and was happy enough with the prospect of living the rest of my life on my own, if the only alternative was a bad marriage and bad sex.

    Then a miracle happened. I met a man who was the complete opposite of what I usually fell for. Rather than the strong, broody, dark, ‘exciting’ guy, he’s quiet, calm, reserved, patient, very very smart but not terribly articulate. He, too, had come out of a 20-year marriage with a battered ego and a sense of sexual depression. We are both in our fifties, hardly kids anymore, and we both work long hours during the week. We are both physically active, but there’s not a lot of hours left during the week for more than simple comforts and a lot of sleep.

    But our weekends! Saturday mornings are reserved strictly for us, and us alone. I have problems with vaginal prolapse, so we have to take things gently, and he has problems with occasional erectile function, so we have to take things slowly. The spirit was willing but the flesh is wearing out. But this has ended up being more a source of joy than a problem. Slow and gentle, patient and fun, willingness to try different things, laughter at the silly stuff and playing with toys, taking turns making each other satisfied first, and to keep one day a week just for us – I have never been happier, and he can’t stop smiling (so all his friends tell me). Once a week has been plenty to keep us both feeling loved and loveable.

    So don’t despair. I would not have ever believed it possible myself, but there are good men, and good women, of all ages still out there. Keep your expectations realistic, keep yourself open to new ideas, and most importantly, remember that inside we’re all still kids who want to play and have fun. That’s all the wisdom I’ve been able to learn, hope it helps someone else.

  • Resigned

    I made it through the 126 comments – interesting, if often quite sad.

    I did two searches tonight:

    1. How to get my wife to have more sex with me; and
    2. How to cope in a celibate marriage.

    As you can gather, the results of my first search were not encouraging. The second search led me here.

    Me: Late 30′s, married 12 years, two perfect kids, 6 and almost 2; sex less than 20 times or so since the FIRST one was born – i.e., I go months without sex, to my bitter disappointment.

    I should probably stop there. I don’t have any advice to share. My marriage and family are too important for me to rock the boat too much over the issue. It is humiliating to beg for sex, and it doesn’t work. When we do have sex it is often amazing, although if we don’t orchestrate it perfectly for simultaneous orgasm, and she has one before I’m ready, I get kicked out; even that’s amazing.

    I can confirm one of the assertions in the post – some people do resort to excessive masturbation to cope.

  • Jill

    I’ve tried it all it feels like, I have currently vowed celibacy for myself, it’s just too painful. Actions speak louder than words, so if there’s no action? The words too are few.
    I got one word for not having sex with someone u vowed to have sex with. SELFISH. Too selfish to walk through the pain or trouble of figuring it out or too afraid to grow,all the while you deny someone one of lifes greatest joys. Thereby forcing your loved one to go against their moral code, to get a pleasure you were supposed to give.

  • Jill Julie

    I am done, I deserve to have all the joy life offers, I have so much love to give, him none. If he chose never to eat again. Shall I parish with him? Part of marriage is sex, says so in the bible, your body is not your own….
    Shame on all the spouses who are cheating their spouse of joy. You call yourself Christian? I pity those who worship a god they think would want them to suffer. I’m amazed so many men and women can endure, do you think your kids dont feel the void ? If they don’t they will when they go looking for a spouse themselves. Have any of the women noticed any similarity between her dad and husband and how love and affection is given? How about Narcissism? Denial is very narcissist behavior. Makes me ill. We are beautiful we need to fight for out right to
    be happy, or shut up. If you stay, sacrificing
    Yr own joy it is supposed to be Nobel?
    Ok if u say so, good for you. After reading
    this I believe I understand, im only going
    to receive as much love as I believe I deserve, sex, touch, kindness, compassion, if I am unhappy it’s my choice. I can either leave
    quickly, or leave slowly, but my butt has to go, I am not going to be blogging at 50 punishing myself cuz I’m too scared to leave too afraid to live and feeling this hollow ache, my husband gives all his desires to online images, I’m his cook maid and snuggle buddy, I’m not even worthy of his attraction. What a fool he is. He knows nothing of joy. I read a quote the other day, it said ask yourself often does this path have a heart? If it doesn’t don’t take it. Bless u all Julie

    • 32yrs

      Please until you walk a mile in our shoes don’t start quoting the bible

  • Another Perspective

    I know this article is old, but I still want to say to those refused that IT SOMETIMES IS SIMPLY NOT ABOUT YOU. There are many reasons why someone will intentionally marry a person they are not into sexually (a huge mistake IMO):

    * A desire to have kids and a co-parent
    * Social status
    * Family or cutural expectations
    * Legal incentives
    * Financial security

    These people don’t get that sexual promise is an essential part of the package, like your appearance, intelligence, earning potential, etc. And, unless the spouse not into sex provides it as a loving sacrifice, meaning enthusiastically and not giving in to feelings of “being used”, you have that functionally celibate marriage.

    As noted earlier, taking charge of your life and doing the best you can without sex from your spouse is the best option. Begging never works in the long term.

  • Thomas

    I’m a modern man (metro man is the word, I believe) who’s off to work early (I work flexi hours) in order to pick up the kids from school and drive them to after-school activities. I prepare dinner every night. Of course my (or should I say THE) wife would love to do that (if only she knew how hard it is) but she works full-time as well. She wants me to find a job so she can stay at home. I’m in no way perfect, but through the years I have came to the realization that I have married my mother-in-law – who has a dictative personality, although she IS cool. Hence, for her daughter, sex is a reward she dishes out. I’m no great communicator, so I wait until I’m offered it – because should I initiate, it is always “you only touch me when you want sex”. No girl. You hardly touch me, do not sit on my lap as even your sister who fights every day with her husband does. Foreplay for me means hours. Outside sex, I get the impression you want me to be you, but yet YOU do not treat me the way you want me to treat you. I cannot be that, because I’m wired differently. Yet, in 17 years of marriage I have not slept with any other woman. I do not want to divorce you, because you are a good woman. I know you have not strayed either. I guess where are in a celibate marriage. It is just so sad.

  • Forced to be Celebate

    I middle age attracted women that takes care of her health mind and body. It puzzles me to be with a partner that satisfies me in all aspects of our relationship, but is not interested in the bedroom anymore? I know, the first thing in your mind is anothre women, but no, I have done my research and there is none, If anything I belive that his work is the affair. I love my partner and thinking of even stepping out to meet my needs else where make me frustrated. Anyone going throught this?

  • MIssie

    I am currently in a celibate marriage by choice. I think there is something comforting anout strengthening the marriage through abstinnance. I don’t think my partner feels the same way though. I have been with my partner for the last 7 years and our relationship was comfortable until they brought up a fetish issue. I have never had any fetishes or fantasies and the way I was brought up makes me cringe inside to think of those things. After a year of trying to get into the fetish thing, I was told to quit pretending. I chose to be celibate to re-discover what I like and want in my life and relationship. If my partner can have their fetish, I should be allowed my celibacy. I was celibate before meeting them or being with them and have missed that aspect of my life. So far we have been celibate for a little over a month and I hope it continues to work out.

  • Happily celibate

    We have been married for almost two years, are very happy, and have never had sex. We don’t intend to have sex. It works for us. We are affectionate, romantic, loving, and best of friends. We were together for 15 years before we got married, so we’re very used to the way things are. Yes, this is mutual agreement, and no, we’re not crazy.

  • Jojo

    Why on earth would you do your research on a site like The Marriage Bed? It is mostly populated by right wing fundamentalist christians. Hardly an unbiased sector of the population. You are better to go to “Talk About Marriage” or the sexless marriage group on the Experience Project which is the largest such group on the internet.

  • Now I feel old

    I love my wife, I think she is awesome. Beautiful, smart, and in most aspects a super caring person. My wife and I have been married 14 years. We have two healthy young children. Our sex life has dwindled to almost nothing. My wife has said on some occasions it is because she doesn’t feel “close” to me. I have asked her what I can do to re-kindle this closeness. She has said this for a variety of reasons (we don’t spend enough time together, I’m not romantic enough, etc). Each one of which I have tried to address. Once I do, surprise, there’s another reason. Now she even says that she feels closer to me. No change in the bedroom. It is extremely aggravating and I feel like a dog begging for treats. My newest thought is that her lack of libido might also have to do with the fact that she takes antidepressants and birth control (for endometriosis) which also coincides with the gradual drop off. Before you say, endo, she’s probably in too much pain for sex, nope that’s not it. She does not see the lack of sex as a problem though and if I bring it up I am always the bad guy and only out for one thing. She won’t seek help or even acknowledge that it is a problem. When she brings up her unhappiness I always try and do something to fix it or me. To her sex is only the “icing on the cake”. Well who the hell wants cake without icing? It just really hurts. I told her that once a week would make all the difference in the world to me and really show me that she cared for me, especially since touch is my love language. Hers (her main one) is affirmation, and I have really been trying to heap it on, and I genuinely mean it too. Still nothing. It feels like it’s killing me, and I just don’t have any self confidence any more. I don’t think I’m ugly and I work out several times a week to try and stay in shape. Now I just do it to keep from falling apart, since nobody cares if I do or don’t. It has effected how I view other relationships too. I don’t really feel like anyone except my kids love me for me. I even struggle with my relationship with God. I love him and this really hurts me. I’m trying to see the bigger picture but it’s very hard.

    • Mickk

      I am a female experiencing the same. I struggle with feeling attractive and desirable to anyone since the person who is supposed to be interested is not. I recently started working out too. Before, my attitude was noone cares so why should I care how I look?

  • jeff bawden

    my wife is celibate through her choice its true it drives ahusband to distraction i have to find other sexual partners otherwise im bad tempered

  • Tim

    Look at me what do you see? A man that is smiling, happy carefree
    Look at me what do you see?The life of the party, a joker thats me
    Look at me what dont you see? The emptiness inside that suffocates me
    Look at me what dont you see? A need ubfullfilled as deep as the sea
    Look at me what do you see? Whatever you think dont wish you were me.

    Married 26 years Love the wife but no intimacy leaves me empty and without soul

  • What now?

    To: By now I feel old. Dude ! My marriage is exactly like you discribed. My wife has allowed me to have sex only once since last September and it is now the end of June. The only difference that I can see is that my wife had some colon surgury 8 years ago that she uses for a normal reason not to have sex. Also she frequently tells me that the reason for no sex is that I don’t go to chuch frequent enough, my language doesn’t suite her, I never fold the towels, I’m grumpy and the list goes on. Never mind that I do all of the yard work, the dishes, cooking, work full time, laundry and take care of my child and I do fold the towels to at times amoung others. She doesn’t have any intimate feelings for me but she loves me. As you, I have to beg for sex like a homeless man begging for cup of cofee. When I do ask for it I get a confused/aggravated look and a long whaaaat, you know like I am the dirt of the world asking for this. She has even told me that I should’nt ask that I should let it come naturally. Yeah right and that ended up in nothing. I have heard it all, I can’t get it when asking and can’t get it by not asking. I am in a no win situation and honestly it makes me mad as hell to have a nice home and young boy that I love so much and a wife that can’t stand to touch me or be touched. Not really sure what to do but I must stick it out until my son is grown and he is just now 2. Anyway pal your not alone, hang in there and when all else fails pray to God for an answer. At least maybe God will help keep us from doing something really stupid.

  • Rosie

    Been married for 27 years, not attempted intercourse for last 22 years. Husband disabled, but has low sex drive anyway, and now does not kiss, hug, hold or use endearments. I would settle for loving behaviour, cuddles etc, and have told him so, endlessly, but he doesn’t change, also refuses to speak when I “go on” about this.

  • Living Once

    I am interested to find anyone who was able to remedy this problem. At this point purely out of curiosity. I have been unable to find any record anywhere of it.
    My happiness is up to me. If a vital part of a marriage is a healthy sex life or at least intimacy, and I do not have it, it is not I who broke the marital vows. Why should I stay true to a promise that my spouse refuses to? I want to feel loved, its a basic human need. Not seeing to my own joy would only make me a very bitter woman. I do not wish to be with a man the rest of my life who puts so little value on my happiness and our marriage.

    • Tim

      I had the same problem and we have been going to see a qualified counselor. She has been very good and has helped our marriage. She has picked up on things as we have talked to her and some relate back to my wifes childhood, Repressed feelings about her mother etc. Sounds unbelievable but its true. Past emotions come back to haunt you but you do not realise that this is what is causing the problem. After 4 weeks my wife and I are closer than we have been for quite a while. My wife is dealing with her deamons and I am more aware of what is going on so we are working through it together. It is realy helpfull for an outsider to have a look inside your relationship and not take sides but to gently guide you through the issues that are dividing you. I am also learning alot about myself and I feel that I am becoming a better person because of it. Hope this helps Tim

  • C. L. Summers

    Celibacy is about more than just not having sex. It’s about learning who are and what you really want out of life. I too believe in being celibate and have created a website and book dedicated to called The Kama Sutra of Celibacy: 101 Ways to be Successfully Celibate. The Kama Sutra of Celibacy is designed to help singles live a successful life of celibacy through practical exercises that addresses the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical aspects of celibacy while providing guidance, encouragement and support. Check us out at http://www.kamasutraofcelibacy.com.

  • Santa

    Because MOST Christians care! We are human and have bad and down days just like everyone else. Why are you so hateful?

  • J Turner

    I have been following this blog for over a year now, and I still feel the same. Marriage is a promise, a contract. One made before God himself . Ive often wondered how people can consider themselves as true to their religions while at the same time justifying their selfishness and judging others. It’s obvious many people are totally unaware of what the marital contract consists of. What happens when we don’t like an agreement or a contract? We get out of it. God doesn’t want you holding your spouse hostage denying him or her what is a basic human desire . To love you. Let them go so they may be happy. Apologize for making a promise you could not keep. Then you can call yourself what ever religious kind of person that suits you. Divorce not allowed? Well it was never a marriage if you didn’t keep your promise. God will forgive you. Your spouse will Thank You.

  • jep444

    you are not alone in how your feeling. Been married for 30 yrs. in good health and good shape. Wife has no interest at all for years. menopause
    but what can I do. I feel your frustration

  • Jojo

    My 25 year marriage has been sexless almost right from our wedding day. You learn to cope. You masturbate, take sex outside the marriage when it is offered and carry on. Married sex is never as good as sex when you’re single with the excitement of new partners and all the sexual variety. That’s why I put off getting married until I was almost 40.

  • Anonimous

    My dream is to have a celibate marriage. Im celibate since 7 years, im actually a virgin, I really wish I could have a celibate marriage, but its difficult to find the person, Im asking God

  • Anonymous

    Virtually celibate for a marriage of 26 years. I always thought THIS guy is different! This guy is sweet, kind, not a wolf. Thought his inhibitions would work themselves out after we were married, and had a place to have sex. Found out AFTER we were married he was into porn. Many fights when I would find it, but to no avail. Sex was about once a month in early marriage, tapering off to nothing with every excuse in the world. Last attempt 2-3 years ago he acted like he was on his way to the gallows, and was relieved when our grown son came home so we couldn’t finish.
    It’s hurt me so much. There is no point in dressing up or caring about my appearance, it means nothing to him. He loves me very much, but in a safe, platonic way. He tries to make up for it, that’s why he’s so sweet and kind.
    Just before our 25th anniversary, I realized I couldn’t stand it any more. The Denial that worked when we were busy with kids and other things just wasn’t there any more. He had sex regularly – just by himself. And hours with the porn. Knowing I was there, available, willing, and unsatisfied.
    In the bible there are two reasons for divorce – infidelity, and not giving yourself to your partner in the marriage bed. Even though it’s porn, I feel just as cheated on as if it were real women.
    After telling him I would have to leave because I could not live like this any longer, he finally started to get help with his addiction. He’s been true to his commitment, goes to groups x2/week, individual therapy and also daily journals. It’s a huge relief that he’s working on it, and if I have to be celibate, at least he is finally celibate with me.
    But now I’m getting older. If I choose to leave him, I might not be able to find anyone else. I’m overweight and past menopause.
    I feel robbed of a lifetime of pleasure and healthy relationship. I feel betrayed, tricked and lied to by the person I’ve loved for almost 30 years, for the entirety of our relationship. We’ve acted out a sick, unhealthy example of marriage for our sons.
    And I still want sex. My body craves it like anyone else’s. I’m not sure what I would do if I had the opportunity to have an affair. Would it be wrong? My husband has said he never wants sex again. He NEVER plans to want it, or try for it. He does not miss it (although going without the porn and masturbation is a daily struggle for him.) But he’s my partner in everything else, and my best friend. What does Christianity say I should do?
    I’m so unhappy and unfulfilled and sad. It really does tear down a woman’s self-esteem. Every time a random man flirts with me, it’s such a big deal – I want to say “See? I’m desirable! You should want me too.” But it doesn’t matter in the least to him.
    He doesn’t want me to leave, but it looks like he will never want me in a sexual way. I feel just as tricked as if he had been gay.

  • Susan

    I dated my husband for 7 years before we married. We only had sex 3-4 times. It was disappointing, but I like ths gentle guy, and he loves me, so we married. We never consummated the marriage (mutual). We Are now seperated but it has nothing to do with sex. We see each other regularly. Neither of us simply cares if we have sex and we are both satisfied with the arrangement. Neither is depriving the other and there’s no porn, fetshes, etc. I have a history of many bad sexual experiences and combined with his inexperience and low sex drive, we are both content. We are seperated because it was impossible to live with him (hoarder, OCD). Both of us have worked on ourselves in therapy, but agree we want to be with each other as we have a deep bond, but we can’t live in the same house and we enjoy celibacy. It is safe. We remain legally seperated.

  • 32 yrs

    Ive been in a celibate marriage for 20 out of 32 years I stayed and now have horrible regrets I no longer see myself being lovable at least you know the reason he is addicted to porn my husband has has varied excuses threw the years I really think he is gay although he is adamant that he isn’t I am now 50 and having health issues but if and when I can I’m done I would rather be alone and lonely than with someone and hurt this bad

  • Living Once

    Relationships for me are hard. We cannot change anyone but ourselves. Period. Everyones situation is different, I imagined I married a man who would at least attempt to resolve or try something to contribute to my needs. I did not. He did long enough to marry me and now he never touches me let alone shows any attraction to me what so ever. I dont know if he is gay, junked on porn, asperger, a narcissist with extreme passive aggressive behavior, or just a selfish bastard. But would giving a name help at all? He wont take any steps to see to my joy. I must ask myself do I really want to be with someone who does not care about my joy? A few weeks ago he put his hand around my throat during an arguement. Im still here I have no where to go. No income. I’ve decided to start packing my things, he is visiting family for 2 weeks in Hawaii, he never asked if I wanted to go. I think he needed me here to feed his fish.
    I read this article a few years ago in search of a solution, to understand, and as I think of the people who will come to read it for the same reasons and what I have learned since, that might help them. If you havent yet married, dont do it. If physical affection is something that makes you feel loved and your partner ignores your concerns repeatedly, decide if you can live your life without it. Trying to get him to change will only make you angry. Your happiness is up to you. I think we thought marrying someone meant that person would Love us, honor us and cherish us. Some people just dont know how.

  • Amanda

    Oh what a blessing it would be to have a celibate marriage. After having been married twice I am now alone. For the most part, I prefer it, but I do get lonely. I would love to have a live-in companion and friend with whom I could share life experiences, also physical affection such as hugs and kisses, cuddling, backrubs and footrubs, things too intimate to share between just regular friends. But I don’t want sex. I don’t want ever again to have to put up with being ogled and leered at, being groped and pawed, being smelly and messy and having to fend off advances at every turn. Ugh, no thanks. But a celibate marriage, oh what a blessing that would be. I’ve lived long enough to know that nobody is ever as alone as they think they are, so I’m sure there must be others like me who desire companionship and intimate physical affection without sex. But where oh where to find even one ….

    • Michael

      Amanda, I totally agree. Although my situation is rather different. I have been impotent since 1994 due to a medical condition. I am a well educated, a true Southern gentleman, attend church services weekly and am assistant music director. I am good with handling money, buying my home in downtown Raleigh. Sex has alwasy felt ackward for me. So, now my libido is non-existent, which is OK with me. So, I can identify with what you had to say. It would be nice to be in a loving, committed, sexless marriage.

  • Maryann Olmsted

    Hello! I am a mid-50′s woman who dresses well, wears makeup,does my har daily and keeps her weight down. I also devote lots of time to my 60 yr husband, doing what he likes, joining his TV time, etc. But, I am dying inside because he refuses to make love to me and we haven’t in years. He tells me he is attracted to women, just not me. He tells me he is unable to have an intelligent conversation with me (he likes heated debates and I don’t), and drools over my younger sister. I am so hurt, demoralized, bitter, angry, etc. I tell him I love him and desire him. I don’t want to hurt my children (and they will blame me) by leaving but I think I am a pitiful person to stay with such a man. I need to either find someone to have an affair with (although now I look sleazy), or get up the nerve to leave before my life is over and I never feel a man’s kiss again. This might not help you, but I totally understand and would wholeheartedly tell you to have an affair and FEEL NO GUILT!!!

  • Steve

    Most of these comments here are making me sick. No wonder marriage in general is a dying institution. You men and women who dont want to have sex because you feel dirty or it takes time are absolutely…. well, I wont say it. You women wonder why your men masturbate or look at porn. I’ll tell you why. I have been married 22 years. We have 2 kids about to go off on their own. When we got married, my wife was sexual but only marginally. We had sex maybe twice a week. But over thelast year, that has stretched to once in 6 or 8 weeks. She has zero sex drive and has said she could do without it. 22 years. She is always tired, she has a high stress job. Money was an issue for several years but its getting better. I love my wife and I desire her very much. She doesnt think so because she sees herself as overweight. She says she has focused on her job so we could survive… Ok, I get it. But I am not ready to be celibate for the rest of my life. And to be honest, porn doesnt even do it for me anymore but when I see my wife naked…well, you get the drift. I have tried to be more sympathetic, understanding, supportive but it seems that all I am good for now is to get her things. We snuggle and cuddle in bed. I give her massages and foot rubs ect. But it never turns to sex anymore. Its simply not even on her mind. Now that the kids are older, we have the house to ourselves a lot but do we take advantage of it, nope. I have even tried to be the sggressor and initiate sex more but a few weeks ago she really let me have it. She said that it makes her mad that I beg for sex or try to initiate sex only to be pushed away and then I become sulky…it makes her mad…WTF. How about me. How do you think I feel? Being rejected all the time just plain hurts. She has acknowledged that “ok, maybe my sex drive is a little too low” but has she done anything about it, nope. I have given her so much information on female sexual dysfunction but she wont read it. I have told her if it is a hormone or chemical imbalance it could be fixed, nothing. So what are my options… I could cheat, or I could masturbate… so I chose masturbating but I am very close to saying to hell with it and finding a frustrated wife and getting busy. I hate this. I cant concentrate, I am depressed. Sometimes I cant even talk to her and lately I have found myself looking away when she gets naked for the shower or to change clothes.

  • distraught wife

    I am in a sexless marriage. He didn’t tell me he “couldn’t perform” until after the wedding night. It’s been almost two years now and HE HAS NEVER TOUCHED ME! Seriously, even though I love him, I feel unloved and unwanted. It is one of the most devastating emotional struggles I have ever dealt with. I doubt that we can survive much longer. We are more like roommates than husband and wife. It is an extremely lonely and hearbreaking thing to experience!

    • Disappointed

      Sorry

    • Janice

      I am so sorry that you are going through this. I was in a sexless marriage for 15 years. I felt everything that you are describing. Eventually we divorced. I tried multiple counselors, read books, engaged him, begged him, left him initiate (not often). Through it all I didn’t cheat which was amazing to me. That I am proud of. Everyone can try and tell you what to do but only you can make this decision and whatever you decide, know that you are right. Sex is what distinguishes marriage from every other type of relationship. So if there is no sex, there isnt a marriage. Good luck to you.

  • chip pacer

    I am the husband in a sexless marriage; married 28 years, 3 kids – the ‘sex’ has been out of the marriage for @ 10 years – we have had sex once in 2012 (and the prospect of doubling the activity in the next 15 days is, well …). Not sure of the problem; I am fit, clean, do my best to ‘pay attention’ to my wife – we have a great time doing things together, just not sex. I have tried to talk to my wife about it – she won’t; suggested counseling – she won’t go; have tried to ‘spice things up’ by bringing home teddies, nighties, etc (was told ‘That is silly, put those away’.). Bottom line is this – my wife is a narcissist … NOT selfish … but focused on what is important to her .. and sex is simply not important to her. Everything else takes a priority … so, I am now working towards a celibate life … it is now a goal for me, vice being angry, hurt, etc. I have come to the conclusion that I can’t change her/make her so something she does not want to do – so while we will remain married, I am moving on … hope this helps others

  • Mrs. Lonely

    My husband makes no move to have sex at all. I’m now 30. Just had a baby 4 months ago and I’m the sex staved one. I’m always the one asking for sex. The only time we do have sex is when I wake him up in the middle of him sleeping and he just lets me do it to him. no intimacy at all. He pretty much ignores me and makes no effort to even touch me. I think he’s becoming asexual. Im highly sexual but I don’t want to cheat. I’m tired of looking at porn to get off. I’ve come to the conclusion I should just resist the urges to enjoy any kind of sex and learn to be celebrate. Otherwise I will just be resentful and highly unsatisfied. How do I turn it off? I don’t want to be in this alone anymore.

    • Just me

      I’m a man going through the same thing. It’s almost painful to look at my beautiful wife. There’s nothing wrong with you, don’t resist the urges and continue to enjoy yourself, look for something to occupy your mind too, running is a good outlet of that sexual energy. You are not alone.

  • shatans

    When I met my husband he was having a lot sex with escorts but he only wants to hump me and when we do have sex I just puts it in gets it over with the best sex I had was because he was looking for escorts my husband pretty much does nothing with me I try to confront him but he keeps saying I need professional help I feel so. alone but he will not divorce

  • Marcy

    I married an older man. He was 15 years older than me. I knew that at some .6 will be out of the question, But I didn’t think it will be the first year we were married! He was diagnosed with prostate cancer. And that was the end of the sex. We have absolutely no intimacy. We need to give each other a peck on the lips after we say our prayers together. He is a wonderful provider. I cried a lot the first few years. Now I just have accepted it.

  • Johnny

    I am in a celibate marriage by your definition. My wife & I have had sex maybe twice in the last 12 months. But I remain faithful because my faith demands it. God’s covenant is not conditional on physical pleasure. Besides it gives us more time for other stuff.

  • Louis Bricano

    My marriage has very low frequency sex, and when it occurs I find it unsatisfying and even a little disturbing. My wife has very little interest in me generally, and the lack of sex is just one symptom. What’s odd is she’s usually cheerful both to me and around me, but she has no interest in what I’m doing, how my job is going, what I think about anything, and so on. Then, after weeks of no sex or much of any other connection, she’ll suddenly initiate sex. What makes it unsatisfying and off-putting is I get the distinct sense she’s only doing it because she’s afraid I’m going to wander off the reservation, so to speak. But it isn’t accompanied by any other expression of interest in me or my well-being. I recently stumbled across a quote by an English author, Martin Amis, that seems to describe the situation very well: “After a while, marriage is a sibling relationship — marked by occasional, and rather regrettable, episodes of incest.”

  • John

    Funny how you say women feels depleted in a sexless marriage. I’m in one and my wife is reporting “very happy” to being in a sexless marriage!

  • Wendy

    I feel what u have written here.my husband and I are in a rut a bad one.your situation sounds like mine.my husband never wants me , he is distant and I am so lonely.I crave intemacy and seriously feel fat and ugly.it’s starting to effect me in a big way.

  • Dee

    Been together for 12 years – My husband seems to not like the female anatomy (to touch ) that is – I think that brought along my celibacy – 1 year now Just like you Kay I always thought it was me – not being wanted and loved Short affair (just to test) after all it was not me
    but grown cold during the years and now are completely celibate – Great
    we still hug and play and wrestle kiss (on the cheek) and cuddle but that’s
    it – Not really interested in starting again – actually never had the urge or feeling for sex thumbs up for everybody that stayed together

  • veryunhappy

    I feel for you – I know where you are, I am in the same place, and I am a woman and 41. I have got small children but have come to think that divorce is an option as to continue like this will make me physically unwell as well. And to upset my children will break my heart even further

  • Aslo in Pain

    I am 55 years old. I have been married 29 years, have two great kids, loved my wife and have lived with infrequent (once every 3 – 6 months) sex through most of the marriage. I have always been faithful to my wife. When I think about it, I cannot remember if she has ever initiated sexual relations. Yesterday, I was told that sex was not a priority for her and that she thought marriage was about more than just sex. She told me that if I was not happy, I should find “it” elsewhere. I guess why I used the “Also in Pain” name, is that I understand the difference between the physical sexual need and emotional need. While the lack of the physical is extremely difficult to bear at times, the lack of emotional connection is devastating.

    I do not know what to do. Funny, this is the first time I have looked at this subject in the internet. There is some emotional relief in the realization that there are many other people suffering through similar situations – always good not to be alone in life.

    Life is short, I have lost both my mother-in-law and my mother over the past four months. What does that have to do with this subject? Well, I guess, life is short and it is more important than I perhaps previously thought, to address things that bother me.

    I would like to hear from people, who may have been in a similar situation that found some answers…..

  • veryunhappy

    I have been deeply affected by my husband’s rejections and I do feel older before time at times (I am 41). But I know that the problem is not mine. This however does not make the situation any easier

  • still married

    Same here, never, ever thought I’d be in this situation!
    The last couple of times we had sex I felt dirty. If he could have done it without touching me he would have done. That was about three years ago. Before that it was always me who initiated sex and I have been rejected more times than not.
    I woke up one morning about 7 months ago and realised that even if he suddenly felt overwhelming desire for me I wouldn’t want to have sex with him. I have been too hurt too often.
    He knows it’s important to me but the only reason our celibacy bothers him is because my needs make him feel like a failure. Not because it hurts me.
    Over the nearly 20 years of our relationship he has undermined and humiliated me and I think I unwittingly or through hurt do the same to him.
    He works long hours in a stressful job so I feel pretty mean asking for more from him but I need love more than I need lots of money.
    I know without a shadow of a doubt that marriage vows or not I would leave the marriage without a backward glance if it were just me but we have two beautiful children who need their dad. He doesn’t want me to go but that’s mostly because of the kids I think.
    I am 42 and feel more attractive now than I ever have – but no super-model! – and I don’t think it’s fair that I should have to be celibate for the rest of my life. Do I sound bitter? I try not to be. Every day that he does not want sex with me says he thinks I am not good enough.
    I have agonised endlessly over the past few months and I now think that I will leave at some point not too far off. The thought of still being here in three years makes me feel sick. I don’t love him any more and although he says he loves me I just don’t see it.
    Sad sad sad.

  • nick wheeler

    take a look at I live in a sexless marriage on the experience project website. if you do not have kids then run for your life. i have been in my situation for 28 years. you do not want to be me in 26 years.

  • c. fregoso

    I’ve been married for 18+years. It’s very disturbing to read so many people are in the same predicament as I. It has been a whilw since he has touched, or shown any affection toward me.
    Lately he’s been so cold, grouchy, and angry.
    To my misfortune he has never been affectionate nor a romantic, the double whammy. I almost feel that he doesn’t desire to be around me anymore. Of course you always think its yourself, questioning what do I need to change?.
    I’m getting tired of self gratifying myself, it gets boring after a while.

  • Darn Sad

    I’ve been a celibate wife for about 25 years now. We love one another and are still married, but early in the marriage, he was having problems with all aspects of performance, and refused to go to the doctor to rule out a physical cause. Finally, he went, but did NOT ask the (male) doctor about this problem! I made him make another appt and this time I went with him and spoke frankly with the (male) doctor since my husband wouldn’t. We tried a number of things, but nothing really worked. Even the little blue pill.

    He turned this all on me, it was my fault. He won’t go for psychological counseling and I’ve given up. After the first few years of marriage, we had many many attempts where we both got all excited and then he couldn’t “perform” or he performed but left me keening in need, so to speak, and that ended with my weeping in frustration too many times so I finally stopped even trying to have a physical relationship. One time, sex just happened but it was over very quickly and while he was all proud of being able to do the deed, he seemed oblivious to my not achieving the big o. he was all cock of the walk preening, and not a care for what I was feeling and that really hurt me.

    What I’ve noticed over the years is that having sex made him more thoughtful. I guess it was the reinforcement of being nice and thoughtful equals his getting off. Not having sex…well, he is only somewhat considerate and thoughtful. Sex definitely reinforced him being thoughtful to me. This year, I didn’t even get a Valentine’s Day card.

    We’re affectionate roommates now, who love one another, but we do not share our bodies with any one else, or with each other. Very sad. He says he doesn’t miss it because he thinks he just doesn’t have that much of a sex drive, but I miss it. Are there any other forums where we can tell our story, find out how others have handled things, and just share our frustrations?