I don’t have sex with my husband (pt.1)

There, I said it: I don’t have sex with my husband.

In the past three years, the number of times we’ve had sex could probably be counted on two hands…maybe even one.

My therapist says it probably came from a trauma, and while I have no great trauma to speak of, I can pinpoint it to a specific time when I was in a crisis of sorts – emotionally, physically, mentally.

I had just come back from a long trip overseas. I felt lost, wasn’t ready to be back, and I definitely wasn’t ready to move in with my husband (then-boyfriend). Sex was awkward; it was like we didn’t remember how to be together (it had been six months at that point). I was struggling creatively, stressed out and putting a lot of pressure on myself to succeed in a difficult career; I dropped that, too. And all around the same time, I had to go to the hospital with a weird thumb injury and (TMI) got a very uncomfortable yeast infection.

[A word on *too much information*: this blog will be filled with it. You’ve been warned.]

It didn’t happen all at once but eventually sex became uncomfortable. It wasn’t exactly painful, but the friction caused such a discomfort that it may as well have been. I felt awful. I really wanted to have sex with him but it hurt. It was only a matter of time before I wasn’t into it at all. Oral still happened a few times but eventually that, too, was nonexistent.

I started dreading bedtime. I avoided talking about sex, avoided closeness. I felt like a fraud: sex was so good and ample in the beginning, I felt like I had lured him in and then turned off the tap.

I gave him multiple outs – if he wanted to break up, sleep with other women, we could do that. (He didn’t). I hated that I couldn’t show him love in all the ways I wanted. I hated that he felt unloved because of it.

I tried to convince myself it was all in my head. I wanted to believe it was just a habit I had gotten out of, and if I just did it, I’d get ‘used to it’ again. But I could never quite talk myself into it. The times I did, I cried, it was so uncomfortable.

But the truth was, I didn’t even want sex anymore. And I blamed him: his hair, his hobbies, his weight. But I knew those were all excuses: they were never a problem before.

We didn’t fight about it constantly – actually, we rarely talked about it at all – but it was always the elephant in the room, silently underpinning most other issues, until we finally almost broke up. (We didn’t).

We agreed to a fresh start, and got engaged a few months later; nonetheless, the issue remained. I once more gave him an out – we could still call things off – but everything else was perfect…except…this.

It was confusing. He said didn’t need the sex, he just wanted the closeness. But I knew the closeness would inevitably lead to the topic of sex and everything that came with it, so I avoided it all.

He felt rejected, embarrassed. I felt guilty and ashamed. I didn’t want to be in a sexless marriage, and yet here I was, the architect of it.

I turned off that part of myself. I didn’t need sex. I didn’t care for it. The times I did get aroused, I willingly took care of it myself. I didn’t want him to touch me – it had been so long that any touch of his was foreign, uncomfortable.

And I hated that I felt that way. I wanted to want him. I wanted so badly to want to have sex with my husband. I would’ve done anything to just take a pill and make the discomfort STOP. I was sure that if the pain just went away, I could then at least reasonably consider  going through the motions.

Going through the motions would’ve been a welcome improvement. That’s what my sex life had become.

[Continued in next post…]


6 thoughts on “I don’t have sex with my husband (pt.1)

  1. Cynthia says:

    You are a brave and courageous woman to share your story. I know the pain and roller coaster of emotions that goes along with a sexless marriage all too well. It is the wanting to, and not wanting to, at the same time that is so very distressful and overwhelming. I found myself thinking about sex all the time. It consumed me. And yet I wasn’t having any! I always thought it would be easier to deal with if I could at least choose one or the other.
    The first five years of my marriage we had sex a few times a year and then the next twenty none at all. My husband and I have been trying to re-establish sexual intimacy for the last two years and it has been a long, slow, difficult process for us.
    I will be waiting for your next post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your support Cynthia, and for sharing your story – I’d love to know (if you don’t mind me asking) what you’ve been trying? I wanted to share that very roller coaster you speak of because I felt so alone whenever I searched for help myself. Everything I found talked about “lack of passion” but it’s so much more confusing than that! I want other people going through this to know that as painful or awkward or shameful or inconceivable some of their feelings are that they’re not alone. Sending you love and luck!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cynthia says:

        You are so right that it is often more than a lack of passion or libido. We had no intimacy whatsoever emotional or physical. And so there becomes a lot of trust issues when you try to restore it and make new patterns and habits. For us, we didn’t even say good night to each other when we went to bed let alone cuddle or have a good night kiss. So we had to go back and begin anew from the start before we could even think about being sexual. We would hug (hadn’t done that for years) when we came home from work. And then after a bit of time, I allowed, and was able to accept a kiss on the forehead or cheek. As this process continued, eventually a kiss on the mouth. And none of this was in the bedroom where there would have been more sexual pressure or fear. We spent many weekend evenings on the couch watching movies and snuggling, learning to be near each other and touching. Again without pressure. Learning to be comfortable physically. We began something called the “3 dailies” to connect us emotionally and spiritually. First we identify and share feelings with each other about our day but unrelated to each other or our relationship. That was actually really tough. And then we give each other two praises. Something we like about our character, a physical trait, something that was done, etc. And then we pray together. Another thing that our counsellor had us do was create a “sexual garden”. This has been very helpful with expectations and relieving fears and pressure to do something you may not want to do. You discuss together things like what positions, acts, places you are willing or not to do. If one person has a no for something the other can’t pressure them to do it and you don’t have to worry about it. So, there is yes, no or when I want to. We also have discussed frequency and have to commit to once a week. Some couples pick the same night(s) to ensure it happens or it can be whoever has to initiate by a certain day. This can sometimes seem a little cold and calculated but it does help in making sure it happens and forming new habits. It is a long, slow process for sure. We have been doing this for over two years now. Our emotional and spiritual intimacy has grown significantly but the physical is still very much a work in progress for me. Phew. That was a long answer. If you are still reading, thank you! Hope something here helps and gives you more ideas……

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, I can absolutely relate to so much of that. We did maintain some touch (handholding, hugs, the occasional kiss) but often I felt very awkward and the kisses were very foreign. It was like having to start anew with someone I didn’t know (and didn’t care to know) very well. Interesting to hear that even just discussing your day as part of the “3 dailies” could be difficult, but I’m not surprised – it’s amazing how this can seep into all the other parts of our lives without us realizing!

        Have you found the committing to a frequency to work on building the habit? I considered doing this but found it felt like pressure to force myself and decided it might make things worse, at least where I was at the time.

        Thank you so much for being so open with your own journey – it definitely helps to hear from someone using the same language and to hear what works and what doesn’t because I’m sure there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cynthia says:

        Committing to a frequency to build the habit has had its ups and downs. We have had to shuffle the agreed upon parameters around a few times to find something that works for us. Our therapist had initially suggested it as a way to relieve my anxiety about when sex might happen and to make my husband commit to it happening. That worked for a bit but then instead of looking forward to the scheduled event I became distressed, anxious and dreaded it all day knowing it was coming that night. At this point, we don’t have a scheduled time, but do have an agreement that sex needs to be initiated within one week of the last time. We do tend to push it to the full week, so in essence we have a pretty good idea of when it will happen, but we don’t feel the same pressure and it ensures we keep showing up to try no matter how awkward or will we easily slip away to our old patterns again.


  2. That’s amazing, good for you. I don’t think I’m quite ready to commit to an arrangement but I like that you say it ‘ensures you keep showing up.’ That’s so important. Am keeping my fingers crossed for you!


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