Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Don't You Want Me?

Posted by Anonymous.

To my husband:

I never imagined that this would happen. I never imagined that I would be in a marriage where I wanted sex more than my husband. I never imagined that YOU would lose interest in sex, considering how insatiable you were before we got married. But when we got married, it was like a switch got flipped inside you, and everything suddenly changed. The sex on our honeymoon was awkward and flat. I attributed it to being tired, but to be honest I was filled with fear because something just didn't feel right. I actually wondered if I had just made a big mistake. For the first few months, we had sex 2 or 3 times a week at the most - which is find I suppose, but hardly the sex-fest that many newlyweds experience. Pretty quickly it turned into 3 to 4 times a month. For the last year it has been more like one time a month, sometimes not at all. Do you have any idea how humiliating it feels to know that in less than two years of marriage, my husband already doesn't want to have sex with me? You have recognized that this is not good, but you don't seem particularly eager to try to make it better.

You seem to attribute at least some of this problem to your promiscuity prior to our relationship. You say that sex has become completely detached from love in your mind, and that you can never see sex as something good and wholesome. And so I guess since sex between us is perfectly legitimate now, it has lost interest for you? If that is the case - shouldn't you get counseling or something to help you overcome that? Because it's obviously unhealthy. Maybe counseling won't help, but it would make me feel a little better if you would at least try! It really hurts to think that I have to pay now for the sins of your past.

But I am worried that this is not the whole story. At first I worried that there was a medical component. Lack of sex drive in a man can be a symptom for serious health problems. Well, you've been to a doctor, and both you and the doctor seem satisfied. But I'm not satisfied. I am not even convinced you actually talked to the doctor about it. I am hurt and I am filled with fear and insecurity.

When I brought this up the other night, you told me that you think do about our nonexistent sex-life too, but that you don't know how many of your thoughts to share with me because you are afraid they will hurt me. I told you not to tell me unless it would help the situation. You remained silent. And so now I am both maddeningly curious and yet terrified of what sort of thoughts you have been having. I am afraid that you are going to cheat on me. I am afraid that you haven't really lost interest in sex at all, but that you have just lost interest in it with me. I've even wondered if you are gay.

My self-esteem has always been fragile and broken. Imagine the constant and very tangible sense of rejection that I feel now! I used to try to initiate sex, but after being refused several times I can't do that anymore because its hurts too much. So now, every night I just have to hope that you will want to be intimate with me, and every night I fall asleep sad, our backs turned to each other.

I hate, absolutely loathe my body, partly because I am convinced that you are disgusted by me. Intellectually, I know this is bullshit. I recognize that I am about 15 pounds overweight, and that when we got engaged I was much more fit. I know that I should lose some weight and get healthier - these are reasonable things that I admit. But I don't look THAT bad. If your sexual attraction to me was so easily lost, then you are one superficial sonofabitch. For heaven's sake, I still desire you despite your physical flaws! And even if my body was perfect now, age would eventually take that away, so what then? My guilt and self-loathing is made worse by the behavior I resort to to deal with being sex-deprived. I indulge in sexual fantasies - never involving you - and maturbate just to relieve the tension. But then I am left feeling digusted and humiliated. My self-esteem is completely shattered. I won't even let you see me naked anymore, not without some kind of covering and a whole lot of shame. I doubt you have even noticed, or even care.

This has all been hurtful enough as it is, but last night it got worse than I thought. Last night, you admitted that you have no desire to have kids with me. You said you might want to adopt someday, but that the thought of actually having kids holds no attraction for you. Oh yeah? Since fucking when?! When I was obviously shaken by your admission, you backpeddled and said you probably wouldn't feel this way forever. Probably? You are fucking 32 years old, just when do you PROBABLY think this desire will come back? You never gave me one inkling of this when we were dating and engaged. I was always under the impression that you most definitely did want kids with me. You have given me that impression in a hundred different conversations. So what changed?

I am starting to despair, wondering how to come to terms with the scary possibility that I am stuck in a sexless, childless marriage.

The crazy thing is, in every other way, our marriage is amazing. We talk and laugh, we share the same convictions and beliefs, we enjoy each other's company, we are affectionate and comforting to each other. I love you so much, and I miss you when you are not around! But for months I have had this constant sadness and fear pressing on my heart, and I wonder how long I can live with it? Will the sadness eventually go away, or will it grow until it devours our marriage? Part of me thinks I am over-reacting, that I just need to give it time. But what if nothing changes? What if it can't be fixed? I don't want to wait until it is too late. Aren't men supposed to want sex all the time? Why do I feel like I am the one with the problem, like I am some kind of sex-obsessed slut for actually wanting to have sex with you? Should I just be able to get over this and move on?

I feel so ridiculous and alone.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry you are going through this. I don't have any solutions, only abit of commiseration and a small bit of advice. Do not feel guilty about masturbation. You have needs and are meeting them and there is nothing inherently dirty or wrong about masturbation. Don't fall into the same poisoned reasoning that your husband did that somehow sex is bad or wrong.

I hope you and your husband can work this out. You may have to ask him to say the things that hurt, and then give you time to think them through and respond. Create a safe space for communication and recognize that no one is intentionally trying to hurt one another. 15lbs or 100 lbs, sex with someone you love is not about how they look--it's about connection, and it's important. You are beautiful as you are--and will be when (like all of us) your butt and boobs fall down and the lines of your glorious life can be read on your face.

Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

You are not alone. I could have written this almost word for word. It is a difficult and hearbreaking siutation. Many days I wonder if/when my marriage will end because of this. I am dealing with a lot of the same feelings that you are having. It feels like you terrible secret that is so hard to talk about. Thanks for posting about such a difficult subject. It meant a lot to me to read these words today and know that I am not alone. More than I can express in these comments.

Jaden said...

I agree with anon 8:02 above me. Thank you so much for posting about something that is so hard to discuss, to admit, to own, and has no real miracle solution.

I, too, have been feeling sex deprived- and while I understand in my situation it's a little different (my husband is on medications that suppress his sex drive), our sex life before was full of stress and problems, anyway. I worry that things might never get better, that there is something wrong with me or the way I look... That he might never want me, and what does that mean? I can also relate to the last paragraph- where you say that your relationship otherwise is great... We are like that, too... And he is a wonderful father to my daughter... But living without sex is not something I signed up for, and I feel like there is nothing I can do about it right now. *sigh* Just know there are others in the same boat, and you're not crazy, or bad for masturbating, or ugly (for god's sake, what's 15 pounds?! that should NOT change how he feels about you!) by any stretch. *hugs* Here's hoping things get better...

Anonymous said...

It is really a good thing that you're confronting this issue before having kids, as you will have much more time and energy to try to address it now than after having kids. Having been there, done that myself -- I cannot suggest strongly enough that you find a good couples counsellor, preferably one who specializes in sexual issues. It is very hard for most people to talk honestly about sex, their desires and wishes, and you and your husband are going to need good help to sort it all out. Best of luck to you.

Jen said...

Let me just say that you are not alone (as apparent by the other comments here). We have only been married 3 years and had sex about 3 times a week the first 3 weeks. Then it tapered to once a week for about 2 more months. We went our entire 2nd year with NO SEX AT ALL!!! It was a huge struggle that I don't know that I am ever satisfied at. Every night when I take my pill I think to myself, "What's the point? No chance of that happening?"

Yes, we've talked about it. We both blame each other. I think the only thing saving our marriage is that we both do truly love each other. My drive is definitely higher than his; but it's not like he doesn't want to have sex.

Sure, it took a very long time, but now it's a source of sick jokes in our private world. If I have to live with it then I have to joke about it...or go crazy. It's not normal.

When I was sick a few months ago with the flu, people asked if I were pregnant. I gave an emphatic no because I know that's not even a remote possibility.

When my MIL jokes around about sex, a bit of me just wants to fall apart and cry because I don't know what that's about lately.

We've had sex less times in our entire marriage than months in a year. It's sad and I don't know how to fix it.

I fell your pain. I'm glad you wrote this.

Anonymous said...

Cut your losses and start over. I've been married for 18 years to someone I love, whose company I enjoy, who laughs and cries with me, but is a complete sex obsessed idiot. We have always had great sex, 3-4 times a week usually but it's not quite enough. He likes to see prostitutes. His latest was found on Craig' List. (I catch him through computer "mistakes" about every 2 years.) He spends money we don't have for these little field trips. When we have a giant world war over one of these incidents, first he refuses to talk about it. He says "he's embarrassed." Ya think??! Then, after I've threatened to tell his dad, (the only person in the world he respects) he tries to blame me (it doesn't work - I take no blame.) But I think he's like your husband in that he needs "dirty sex." We can hit that every once in awhile, but let's face it, when you're married things settle down a bit. That's normal. They can't handle normal.

It boggles my mind that I'm still here. But I'm committed to raising our daughter with her father in the house. He's an amazing Dad, and she has no clue was a fucking idiot he is. But as soon as she's launched to college, I'm outta here. I don't care if I have to live in a single wide in Sketchy Town. I don't care if I have to collect cans to pay my bills. I'm done. I'll miss the funny, sweet, intelligent (yeah - go figure) capable man I married. But I will be done. And I will be 55 years old. Don't make the same mistake I did and have kids with someone who plays the silent thing, who isn't committed to having kids and is excited about it. You would be making a huge trap for yourself if you have kids with him.

We've had years and years of therapy. It always boils down to my decision to live with it or leave. He always promises to change, always promises to stop lying. He always lies.

I love sex. I love sex with my husband - he's an amazing lover. I'm happy to have sex often. It's simply that I'm not enough for my husband and he needs to pay large amounts of money for sex with strangers.

RUN - right now.

CageQueen said...

You should see a counselor STAT. Marriage counseling would be a good idea, too, but if he won't concede, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Well, perhaps that sounds callous, as you could very well lose your marriage. But you seem like a smart, articulate woman, and thus you deserve more than what you're getting. Good luck to you!!

Remember: you're a person worthy of love and affection just like anyone else!

Anonymous said...

I'm here to commiserate too. After 10 years...I still want more sex than him. I used to think there was something wrong with me...now I'm just grateful for the 2x a month or so I do get it. We're definitely in the minority...but I'm just glad to hear I'm not alone. Thanks for writing this.

Anonymous said...

You don't have kids; there's nothing keeping you there. Frankly, I'd file for divorce and hope you find love and the family you want elsewhere.

Good luck.

Hayley said...

I am so sorry you're going through this! I can't even imagine... I'm sure my husband can, at this point. He never gets any- of course, I'm almost due with twins, so there would be the reason. But I know it still sucks for him.

I wish I had some advice, but how bout I just send some good vibes your way?

Kay said...

As you can see from the previous comments, you're far from alone.

I've been where you are, then things got better, then back to what feels like square one.

It's so hard to feel anything but worthless and undesirable when you're dealing with this - the rejection by the one person that's supposed to love you no matter what.

I wish I had useful advice, but I don't... if you'd like to vent or talk, let me know.

Anonymous said...

If you are not getting what you want from your marriage and he won't change then leave. Life is too short to live that way.

My wife and I have gone through some draughts in our 14 years of marriage, but mainly that was due to the kids being young. Now the youngest is 4 and we are back doing it plenty. We have added some toys and some different things to keep it new and fresh.

If a man won't have sex with you more than once a week then leave him. Many others are willing to have it everyday.

Author said...

Hi, I'm the woman who wrote the post, and I feel compelled to write a follow-up.

First of all, thank you all for the kind and encouraging comments. And if what I wrote helped you feel a bit better, then I am glad!

For those who recommend divorce - my personal beliefs are that divorce is not an option except in the case of abuse, abandonment or adultery. I consider the marriage vow to be sacred and binding, the "for better or worse" part is not just lip service. So I won't even consider it. And I don't even want to leave him, as I said, for like 90% of our marriage, I am so happy and so lucky. I love him! But I appreciate your desire to give me good advice nonetheless.

The truth is, a fair bit of time has passed since I wrote that, and things have gotten much better. I am not sorry I wrote it because I really needed to vent and get it off my chest at the time. But shortly thereafter, our sex life improved. I still want it more often than he does, but I could probably be fine with having sex every day! I think his comments about not wanting kids really stemmed from his huge fears about money and being able to provide for a family, not from a real aversion to being a father.

To any women dealing with this, the thing that saves me is to cling to what is good, to appreciate the other love and affection he gives me, to count my blessings. This problem may never be gone forever, but that doesn't mean I cannot have an overall happy marriage. Anyone who thinks marriage should be without sorrow, sacrifice and strife is kidding themselves.

Thanks to Her Bad Mother for this venue to air our dirty laundry and support one another!!!

Anonymous said...

This is going to sound harsh but it's true.

First of all, not all men are supposed to want sex all the time. And every relationship has it's peaks and valleys of sexual desire.

But the thing that bugs me the most about your post is that you told him not to talk to you about it unless it would help the situation. Maybe he just needs someone to listen to him. Do you think that maybe you're being a little selfish? Maybe it isn't just all about having more sex but maybe you need to learn to listen to your husband and care about ALL of his feelings. That alone might make him more ready to have sex with you.

I'm sorry but sex is not everything in a marriage but the more pressure you put on it, the more you will drive it away. Maybe make a deal with him that you guys will not have sex for two months. After that two months you won't be forced to do it but the door will be open for the possibility again. Perhaps taking some of the pressure off of him, that he must be feeling, will help him to want it again.

dkaz said...

I give you credit for being firm in your decision to stick to your marriage vows, but as someone who spent a long time making that same arguement, I have to ask you - are you ready to live like this for the rest of your life? Are you willing to give up feeling desirable, having your husband desire you sexually, having children forever? You say your marriage is amazing otherwise; are you willing to give up the physical aspect of your marriage for the rest of your life?
I can tell you that for me, after 20 years of that kind of marriage, I couldn't do it anymore. You seem like you are still young; please get a counselor and realize that you deserve to be happy. You deserve a complete marriage. The fact that you want sex and children is a NORMAL part of marriage. Don't allow yourself to feel that you are being unreasonable to want them, especially when you communicated this to your husband before you married. As an 'objective' reader, I think your husband has a big problem. You said that you have low self-esteem. Eventually, he will use that and blame you for his faltering libido, and everything else. I suggest that you require him to go to counseling with you and work this out now; tell him that it is a deal-breaker and that you are serious. Stand up for yourself! Otherwise, I predict that a dozen years from now, you will still be sad, frustrated, childless, and you will realize that you sacrificed your youth and your dreams for what? I know its scary to take a stand, but if you want to save your marriage, don't just sit around waiting for him to change - it will NEVER happen unless you do something.

Author said...

Anonymous 10:13 - regarding failing to listen to my husband. HE is the one who said he didn't think it would be helpful to tell me some of his thoughts because they would only serve to hurt me. But he said he would tell me if I insisted. I thought about it for a moment, and agreed that I only needed to hear things that would help the conversation along. Believe me when I say that I did not cut communication off, we are by and large very open with each other. I also am aware that sex isn't everything, which is why I am not running to the divorce lawyer. But sex IS VERY important, perhaps you have not been in this boat? It's more than just about getting off, there is emotional pain in feeling rejected and unwanted. Anyway, thanks for your concern.

dkaz - your point is well taken. I have not given up paying attention to this situation. I am not sure the children issue is such a problem anymore, I think he was in a particularly bad, anxiety-filled mental space when he said that. We don't have a lot of money, and with our choices of vocation, we probably never will, and that stressed him out to no end. But in conversations since, I do sense that he does want kids, just not yet. As far as the sex drive issue, I promise not to let the issue slip until 20 years later I am miserable. :)

Anonymous said...

ack
15yrs married last 4 years nada sex
sux
his choice
masturbation is old and i want a man
waiting till kids move up and out
leaving
the end

Anonymous said...

Author,

I too, once felt very strongly about my marriage vows, loved my husband and tried to put a "happy face" on my life situation by saying those things like, "well, other than the lack of good intimacy/sex life we have a very good marriage" and for many years I believed it. I forged ahead deeper and deeper into life with my husband, we adopted a daughter, we had a home, debt, etc., etc......Finally, after years and years of living life feeling unattractive/dowdy asexual, I snapped. No normal woman or man can tamp that down forever, it will come out in some way. Some people replace that need by eating too much, some by spending too much, some by drinking/drugs, some of course seek validation and sex thru an extra marital affair.

So, what I'm trying to tell you is this: I also sensed on my honeymoon that something wasn't right and I regret, regret, REGRET not having run away then!! But, much like you I had deep-seating convictions about my vows. DON'T try to say that 90% of this marriage you have is great, when you simply shift your sexuality and self-esteem over to side as "just another facet of our life together"---dear, It is the heart and life of a marriage, the nucleus of all else there is in marriage. When there is no sex/intimacy then there is NOTHING!! Just a shell, just a friendship, just a business, if you will. If you are willing to accept life on these terms, then your self-esteem is definitely dwindling down to nothing.

I just wish someone had given me some "straight talk" like this instead of giving me little platitudes like "there is more to marriage than sex"--BAH!!

Anonymous said...

I think there's a big difference between "feeling rejected because of low-frequency sex" and "having a sexless marriage." I can't help but think that the "leave him now" advisers would react much differently to a man who felt the same things you are feeling: our culture labels that situation as normal, but when a woman feels sexually rejected by her husband, the whole situation feels so much worse because we're constantly told it should be the other way around.

Lots of women are in this situation - nearly as many, perhaps, as face the opposite situation (a husband who wants sex more often than they do). I don't think it's especially easy to be in either position, but it's normal, and it doesn't mean that every marriage with this problem is doomed.

I've been married twice, and in both situations I have dealt with feelings of rejection and inadequacy because of my husband's low desire for sex. In my first marriage, the sex issue was the tip of the iceberg (and probably an indication of some deeper problems). The marriage I'm in now feels much different - I still struggle with feeling unattractive and rejected, but like you I'd say that the other 90% of my marriage is really good.

I find it helps enormously to know that lots of other women are in this situation - I'm not some freak of nature - and also that there is no right or wrong frequency of sex in marriage: it's just a matter of recognizing and meeting the needs of both partners.

Kate said...

I was in your situation. Though, we did discover in my situation that there were medical issues, I was still angry and devastated. I felt neglected, mistreated and more. We had no affection, no sex, no romance. Our relationship became cold and platonic. I don't envy the position you're in, because I've been there. You need to decide what you want and what he wants. Even though the idea might terrify you, you need to find out what he is thinking about. Perhaps he needs more kink, or thinks you're not interested in the things he wants. Have some hard discussions, seek out some counseling and read - the sex starved wife and he's not up for it anymore. Both helped me tremendously.

LegalMist said...

I agree with the writers above who have advised marriage counseling and/or divorce. If he won't go to marriage counseling, or if it doesn't seem to lead to progress on the issue within a reasonable time, then file for divorce.

There is no "One" right person for you. So even though you love this guy, it is possible to love another, and hopefully the other will have a healthier outlook on sex.

And you may be able to maintain a friendship and keep the parts you like about this relationship -- the laughter and common interests -- while moving on to a marital relationship that brings you more satisfaction.

Good luck.

And I am so sorry you have to go through this. I know it can't be fun...

A Man said...

Wow! This sounds really familiar. I absolutely love my wife--madly in love. She loves me, but her sex drive is nearly zero. Once a month is sufficient for her. I'd prefer once a week or even 2x a month. And lest you think I am some sex craze husband, I see sex as a wonderful connection between two people, a way to expose your most intimate essence, your soul, if you will. I try to do a lot around the home and with our kids, but she's always so tired and stressed. It is painful to be rejected nearly all the time and it makes me feel worthless, undesirable. I don't want a divorce or an outside affair. I want to make love to my wife and make her feel sexy and beautiful--the way I see her; I want her to initiate things. We used to make love so often (quickies, a long romp, whatever) and it was always good. Now it seems as though she's doing it out of a sense of obligation. I try to connect with her in other ways (talking, watching movies together) but she doesn't seem to want more than that.

Catharine said...

Honey, GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN. I've been married for 18 years, two kids and haven't had sex with my husband in eight years -- at least eight years. I am cursed with a very healthy sex drive and masturbate all the time - but it's boring having sex with the same person every day, especially when that person is yourself. I have even strayed. There are plenty of men out there who are happy to have sex just for the sake of sex. I can't feel too guilty about this. I have tried to talk to my husband, I have begged, pleaded, asked for counseling...

He's just not interested. Not gay. Perhaps a touch of Asberger's, making any physical contact unpleasant for him. (No hugs or kisses either, but I do get an occasional handshake.)

I won't leave him because of the kids and because in most other ways, he's a brilliant, fantastic person.

It's complicated for me because I was sexually abused as a child which makes me both hypersexual and fearful. That's probably another reason I won't leave: He is safe.

However, you seem normal and if you want children, if you want a modicum of sexual satisfaction, find someone who will step up to the plate. And hurry before it's too late! My heart goes out to you. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

To the people who are staying in the marriage "for the kids":

My parents divorced when I was 12, and I thank God they did. Nobody was abusive. Nobody was cheating. Nobody was an alcoholic/drug addict. Nobody was a bad person. What I'm trying to say is that their marriage was not one of those situations in which someone clearly NEEDED to get out. I've only overheard my parents argue twice in my entire life, but I had also only seen them kiss twice before they divorced. Living in that house was like living in a pressure cooker. The family togetherness was a sham, a pleasant sham, but a sham nonetheless. Yes, I was a little shaken up when my mom actually moved out, but overall I was relieved that we didn't have to pretend anymore.

On the other hand, a good friend of mine's parents stayed together "for her sake." They split and divorced her freshman year of college. Their split came as a complete surprise to her, and she quickly realized that they were only stayed together for her sake. This made her feel needlessly responsible for their (un)happiness. She questioned every happy memory she had. All those family vacations that seemed so happy to her... but were her parents faking their happiness?

I'm not trying to say that keeping a marriage together for the sake of the kids is the wrong thing to do. It's a noble, self-sacrificing way to protect the kids from inevitable hurt and confusion. But don't think that the hurt and confusion will be less for them, or easier for them to deal with, just because they're older.

Divorce doesn't always have the sad ending everybody expects, and staying together doesn't guarantee the "good results" one hopes for by staying together.