Hello all! Been lurking here a short time, but I thought I’d jump into the fray headfirst here. Thanks for taking my call…..
First things first: I have a penis. Have had since birth. I take it with me everywhere I go. I also like baseball and rock n roll music played loud. Oftentimes I forget to do the laundry. Sometimes I let the dishes pile up. There are a host of other things I could say about myself, but I’ll hold off for now. Just wanted to get that out of the way at first because it’s important to understand I’m a guy. It’s also important to understand that I’m not one of those interweb perverts looking to pick up chicks or sexting partners. I’m a real person with a real problem, and I need advice – a shoulder to cry on, so to speak. I’ve been doing some online research on this problem, and that led me to your board. Strange – it just popped up on Google. You all seem to be very similar to me in terms of your socioeconomic background, relationship status and what not. Perhaps it’s a bit strange that I’m doing this on a motherhood website, but here goes!
I’m in my early 40s and have been married for almost 20 years. My wife is a wonderful woman in many ways: hard working professional, devoted mother and a good all around person. My wife is a lawyer, and a very motivated one at that. She always has been. Her salary has helped us build up a comfortable way of life and a nice nest egg. I have a professional career as well – I’ve been teaching history for about 14 years now. I don’t bring in as much as her, but I like my job very much. We have awesome kids (although none of the little buggers sleep and never have).
However, our marriage is on the rocks, and it has been for years. Marriage is not a one way street, and I can fully admit that I cause my share of the problems. (See laundry/dishes comment earlier….) I am a procrastinator the likes of which the world has never seen. I like movies, especially historical ones. I spend way too much time online at a few music message boards, reading the news, and reading about historical stuff. Last night, I was up reading about Shia Islam; the night before that I found a great article on Midway during WWII. I love that stuff and am sometimes compulsive about it, and it drives her (and, I will admit, the kids) crazy. Also, during the school year, I spend a great amount of time wrapped up in my job. All of the above have added a great deal of stress to the marriage.
My wife brings many issues to the table as well in terms of the stresses of our marriage. She has a very go get ‘em personality and has very definite opinions about everything from money to time spent to what to feed the kids and what color the shower curtain should be. She has her faults, none of which I need to go into now, frankly because they don’t bug me all that much.
This brings me to the core of the problems our marriage faces from my perspective: she is completely asexual, which is to say that she’s got zero sex drive. Zilch. Nada. Nothin’ doing downstairs. She has an extreme fear of heights, and let’s just say she’d rather be duct taped to the top of the Sears tower than make whoopee. Strangely enough, I have a very low sex drive myself – at least compared to other men. That being said, I’d still like to have an intense relationship with my wife that includes sex.
Also, a short bit on past relationships. My wife and I started dating in college, and ours was the first serious relationship for either one of us. Both of us had never pitched the woo before we got married. I “went” with Bess Farple in middle school, who dumped me after a month after she saw me in a swim suit in PE class (true story! I was a tubby kid….). I dated a girl during my sophomore/junior years in high school but never had sex. We lived a long way away from each other and only saw each other rarely, although we did talk on the phone almost every night – great conversations. I had other opportunities but passed them up, either because I was too shy or, at that age, just not interested. Casual sex and picking up girls never interested me all that much.
In my late teens and early 20s, I can probably count on one hand the number of girls I had serious crushes on. My wife happened to be one of them. When we started dating, things seemed hot n heavy early – so much so that I was concerned she was moving too fast for me. But there was no sex. When I was finally ready for it, she informed that she wasn’t and wanted to wait for marriage. Although it isn’t what I wanted, my southern chivalric upbringing understood, and I didn’t want to pressure her. I agreed, although I did stress the fact that I was really looking forward to developing that side of the relationship and didn’t want to be trapped in a sexless marriage. I didn’t want to be 40 and celibate. She understood and promised to work on it after we got married.
That brings us to where we are today: 40 and celibate. Our marriage has no excitement whatsoever, and neither of us are really attracted to each other anymore (although my wife is still totally hot- but no emotional attachment). I am pretty devastated over it, to be honest. I’m on an antidepressant, although it doesn’t seem to be doing much for me. I can’t cheat on her, as I don’t have it in me to make a mockery of marriage. And I can’t leave her for several reasons: first, it’s hard to give up the security that we have financially speaking. More importantly, however, is the kids. I can’t bear the thought of not living with them. They deserve two parents.
In any case, if anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears. I’ll hang up and take your answer off the air!
Have you talked to your wife about not wanting to be in a sexless marriage? What has she said when/if you brought this up?
I know this probably isn't helpful - real life is more complicated than random internet advice can account for, I know. But I wouldn't stay in a celibate marriage. If my partner didn't want sex, and way more importantly, didn't care about my need for a sex life, that would not be acceptable at all. I would never treat my husband that way, and I wouldn't allow myself to be treated that way.
Anyways, I know this is probably not that helpful, maybe someone else will have better advice. I just want to validate your desire to have a sex life (40 is young!).
But if you can't leave her, and you won't cheat on her, the only options left are for her to change, or for you to accept celibacy.
Also you sound like a really nice guy :)
I agree with the others that I wouldn't tolerate a sexless marriage, and change is necessary, but before you go talking about extreme measures like divorce, may I suggest some practical things you can do to help that change happen? She just might be willing to collaborate if you make the effort to communicate.
I suggest sitting down and having a very non-confrontational but honest conversation with her. Tell her the gist of what you told us: that you're unhappy and you need to have an active sex life to be happy. That you love her very much and want to be with her, but in order to be happy in your marriage you need your needs met.
Mis-matched sex drives is a really common problem. In my marriage I'm the one with the higher drive, although the mis-match sounds more extreme in your case, I kind of know where you're coming from. This is not just about sex--it's about friendship, connection, romance, and sharing with each other, and feeling valued. Sex happens more naturally, and obviously will be better sex, when those things are happening.
You can make an action plan, if she will agree to it. Things got really bad for me and my DH and I were having sex maybe once a month for a while--in our case the challenge was that we both work a lot, our kids are very little and very demanding, neither one of us gets decent sleep, so sex just wasn't a priority. As a result we were forgetting to appreciate each other and were bickering more, and it was just a downward spiral.
So we made a "romance calendar," agreed on goals, and started keeping track. It keeps us on point and makes it clear when there's a gap between our perception and the reality.
To come to an agreement, we both listed our goals for how things would be in an ideal world. Your goal might be "have sex once a day" and hers might be "have sex never, leave me alone!" but then you'd both have to agree to meet each other halfway, or at least make your best effort.
So our weekly goals are pretty simple--yours obviously would not be the same as mine & my DH's, but would a half-way point that you both can agree on--but for example's sake, our goals are:
1. Sex 2-3 times per week, denoted on the calendar by a heart symbol. This can include penis-in-vagina, oral, or manual, giving or receiving. Any amount of any of those count equally as "sex," we don't have to meet any time limit, nobody is obligated to orgasm, or to bring the other to orgasm, basically there is no pressure. It just has to be "sex." If both of us are there and genitals are involved, it counts. :) Remove the pressure and it's easier to meet the goal, even if one of you isn't in the mood, even if you're tired or kids are trying to foil your plans.
2. Cuddling, snuggling, kissing, hugging, making out, holding hands, etc. Just some form of basic physical affection, every day, denoted on the calendar by a smiley face. Some days we don't get a moment alone, at all. But even under those circumstances you can take a moment to give a hug or a 2-minute back rub. Being accountable for it keeps us from lapsing. If I don't get basic physical affection I'm not receptive to sex, period. So it helps.
3. A date once a month, denoted by a star. For us, we have very low expectations for what a date entails. It could mean going to the grocery store for an hour while we have a babysitter, or having a special meal together, even if it's at home after the kids are sleeping. Just as long as it's intentional alone-together time. Something tells me maybe your kids aren't as little as mine, so this is probably doable for you and your DW. :)
We also talked about things that aren't requirements but that we'd also like and agreed to aim for. Examples: I very much appreciate it when DH writes me silly little love notes or thoughtful emails. I told him how much it means to me and now he is making an effort to do it more. He very much appreciates it when I take the kids and make sure he gets time alone to work on his own projects uninterrupted. For your wife, doing the laundry/dishes that you mentioned just might be a VERY big step towards making her feel the loving feelings. Different people really appreciate different forms of effort from others. You won't know unless you really talk about it in very specific terms--then you can be more mindful about showing your love in the ways that count to her, and vice versa.
You've got to say, "Here's what I want. Please tell me what you want. How can I give you what you want? And how can I make it easier for you to give me what I want?" I hope you find this approach worth trying as it has definitely helped us. Good luck!
There are many physiological reasons for low sex drive, which often occur with psychological ones. If you're interested in supplements you can take, just answer here and I'll type some out for you. Getting more exercise is a great fist step to raising your sex drive, and hers.