It is estimated that 10 – 15% of marriages are sexless, meaning the couple has not had sex at all in the last four weeks, and only a few times in the last six months.
Ten women share their stories of why they choose their marriages to be sexless, and to remain that way.
1. Exhaustion and Resentment
“I dropped sex after our second kid was born. Exhaustion and resentment.
The sex has always been pretty good and frequent and his skill level hasn’t changed, however, the orgasm isn’t a big release for me, and sex is just a bunch of time stolen that I could have used more effectively on all the other shit I have to do every day.
I could prioritise sex, because making the one you love feel good is important, but I’m also on the bad end of household chore division, so I resent my husband.
We have two small kids, and the housework and administration of caring for a family as a whole and 2 small, helpless people in detail is mentally draining and dispiriting. I am always, always: making someone food or cleaning up from a meal (a third of my day), trying to get the floors clean, finishing laundry, trying to summon the energy to clean a bathroom, getting the older kid to do some homework, reading a story or giving in to a demand to be picked up, figuring out the grocery list, hauling those groceries in the house and throwing the old food out so I can have some order in the fridge, wiping off the table, clipping toenails and giving baths, returning library books, finding a missing boot, organizing a babysitter for yet another teacher’s development day, etc.
This is my “free” time. I have a full-time, paying job, too. We tried hiring a maid for a half year. I asked my husband to organize her visit one week when I was particularly swamped and the reaction was extremely angry and negative.
My husband is a wonderful lover and friend, but he’s a terrible roommate (slob, the kind of person who doesn’t pick up their own dishes, who will make the effort to step over a piece of paper left on the stairs instead of picking it up, who has cleaned the toilet exactly twice in the 10 years we’ve been together) and he’s not particularly involved with our kids.
Before you scream for a divorce, I’ll let you know I’ve been considering it and am practicing the speech that will give him until New Year’s 2020 to turn things around, or act as my deadline for thinking about a trial separation. It’s scary. I’m very afraid that he won’t change, and I truly don’t want to split up.”
2. He is NOT Entitled to Sex
“First, you have to understand that even using the word “denying” makes it a loaded statement. In my case, I’m just fucking exhausted and don’t have the energy or motivation to “meet his needs”. It’s not a deliberate attempt to punish him, there’s just no gas left in the tank to give a fuck.
Background: He’s very selfish in bed. I have never had an orgasm with him – which is actually not a problem on its own. I can take care of myself. He does “try” because he feels that if he “tries” he can then attempt to emotionally manipulate me into doing things I wouldn’t feel comfortable with but he can now do it with a clear conscience because he “tried”. He has actually injured me during sex (he’s not abusive, just a klutz). Because he didn’t feel like showering before sex, I wound up having to go to the doctor’s a few times for infections. When I told him what was going on, he would lie about “Oh, I just took a shower” (he once sat on the bed and when he stood up again there was a brown streak mark). Yeah, that’s the way to get a girl in the mood – make it a health hazard.
So let’s take those already existing trust/respect issues and compound them by never keeping your fucking hands to yourself. Because, hey, just because it’s MY body doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to constantly run your goddamn hands all over me. Even if I’ve told you not to do so. Repeatedly. Because there’s nothing like doing something that pisses off the person you supposedly love to get them ready to jump your bones.
Throw in a job that takes him away most of the time (which he took without even asking how I felt about it)- as in, we didn’t see each other more than once a month for a year and he’s still working in a different city so he’s only up on the weekends. Nothing spells intimacy like trying to get someone into bed the moment you step through the door, right? Because that whole emotional closeness component of sex is utter bullshit. Who cares what she thinks? You’re ready to go and that’s the important thing, amirite guys?
Did I mention that we have a nine month old? It’s not enough in today’s modern world for a married woman to basically be a single mother while you’re married, keep up the house, and work a full time job – you apparently have to overcome your own biological exhaustion (breast-feeding alone takes it out of you to say nothing of the sleep deprivation) to give him what he wants. And don’t bother being delicate while trying to reintroduce sex – you’re buddy was banging away at his wife six weeks after birth? You should be too! Never mind that there was extensive tearing and longer-than-usual heavy bleeding and she was still having pain walking three months afterwards – you deserve that sex.
On top of that, when you do come home on the weekends – don’t help clean up – if anything, make larger messes for her to clean up. Keeping women in a constant state of cleaning the house and caring for the kid while you play Command and Conquer will really get her going.
If she brings any of this up – go for the emotional manipulation. Remember, words are just as good as actions and false promises will get you far. If all else fails, whine and beg repeatedly for hours and days over and over until she gets so fucking sick of hearing you that she just gives it up just so you’ll SHUT THE FUCK UP for five minutes. After all, that’s how you got your baby when she didn’t want one.
Also, he was stupid enough to ask me “when I was going to get back into shape” following the birth of my daughter. Fucker has gained 30 pounds since we got married and doesn’t understand that there’s going to be skin sagging. I’m below my pre-baby weight, jackass.
Wow, this was actually really cathartic.
You are not entitled to sex. Stop acting like you are. Pitch in around the goddamn house, help with the kids, be respectful and worthy of trust in bed and out. A well-rested, less-stressed spouse is more likely to have some sex drive or, if they’re low-libido, more likely to accommodate yours. Pushing for something makes it less likely to happen and even if you get it in the short term, the resentment it fosters isn’t going to be worth it.
To clarify, no, I don’t have PPD and yes, he does know that I’m not happy in the marriage. Yes, we probably will be going to counseling at some point and my guess is that it will focus around “effective communication and listening”. That said, this was a question about the other person in a sexless marriage and WHY they don’t want to have sex anymore – I feel this was a pretty comprehensive response. He’s not the worst man in the world and, in some ways, he’s a very good husband. If it weren’t for the constant nagging about the sex, some of these other issues probably wouldn’t be as annoying. I have communicated to him – in far kinder terms – that I’m tired, stressed, and overwhelmed and generally just don’t have the energy to “take care” of him in addition to all of my other obligations – but thus far he has interpreted that as ‘take out the trash once or twice and ok, now you owe me sex’. We’ll see how it goes in the future.”
3. Hormones and Birth Control
“I recently got an IUD (contraceptive that is placed in your cervix and stays there for 5 years or until you have it removed) and it’s been creating some problems. Fortunately, I’ve talked with my doctor and because the main problems are caused by my hormones trying to settle into this new change, the problems should go away/decrease after six months (I’m at 4) and if they don’t, we’ll be able to look into removing it/other options. But right now:
Because of the hormonal change that’s happening with the IUD, my sex drive has just dropped completely, which is a change from when we first started dating where I was practically jumping him every night. I often just don’t want to have sex because my body isn’t in the right mood for it – add in the stupid, stereotypically PMS, emotions that my hormones cause, if I try to have sex I end up nearly in tears because my brain is going, “You’re not enjoying this. You’re having sex anyway and you don’t want to. Your boyfriend is enjoying this though. He really only likes you for sex anyway.” which is absolutely not true, but feeling that way makes having sex feel terrible.
It’s also become physically unpleasant. Even when I do want to have sex, it’s like my body still doesn’t. I can’t stay wet enough and even with lube, things get dry, and therefore painful, very fast. Also, and this came as a warning with the IUD, my preferred position, doggy style, is now quite painful because that position lets him get deeper, but results in him pretty much knocking into the thing which hurts like a mother fucker.
It helps that we talk about it, though. Explaining that I still care about him and find him attractive and want to want to have sex is a big deal. We try to make up for it. Lots of snuggling and kissing and touching, showering together. Occasional blowjobs for him – though for me, it’s tough to give a good one when I’m not feeling particularly sexy.
The only other big thing is the week before my period, I become very touch aversive, but that’s always been a thing for me and he’s pretty used to that.”
4. Depression and Sexual Abuse
“I have regular cycles of depression associated with PTSD from sexual abuse, so every few months it’s not happening for a few weeks. Then since we got together he has put on a couple of stone and I no longer find him attractive. He’s working on this, which helps. He can be so childish and blame others for his faults, so when he has been moody I don’t even want him to touch me. Add to all of that the fact I have an exhausting job with ridiculous shifts and yeah, sometimes it isn’t going to happen. It’s not deliberate, sometimes I just can’t bear the thought of it. Other times I’m a complete nympho. It can just vary a lot.”
5. Guilt Trip Central
“I won’t say we have a sexless marriage, but just a very very very diminished sex life from when we were dating and such. I’ve only been married 2 years, so take what you want from it.
I just don’t feel like it. I don’t really even know. I just have literally no sex drive. What I’m about to say might sound like I’m blaming him, I AM NOT. It is MY fault. I don’t ever want sex… but if you get me started (the hard part) within 5 minutes I am ready to go. I just understand why he doesn’t want to initiate anymore. Asking 10 times and me saying no 9 times, then maybe trying to touch or kiss me after I’ve said no then I change my mind a few times… it has to get exhausting.
I am NOT saying all women have this problem, nor all men are the ones that are the horn dogs. But I wish for ONE second both sides could feel like the other one feels. Imagine being SUPER full. I mean, splitting at your seams. Then your spouse says “Here, can you eat this quadruple cheeseburger for me?? You HAVE to eat it! I made it just for you! It’s SO good! If you don’t eat it, it means you don’t love me anymore! PLEASE!” Not 100% accurate analogy but I tried. I’ll be lying there in bed. Comfy as shit, reading or whatever. Then it’s poke.poke.poke. from mr. happy. Then, the INSTA-SECOND I begin to make a face about it, he whips it back like, “Fine, whatever. You don’t want to fuck me anyway. You never want to have sex with me. I don’t get it. We had sex all the time when we were dating.” Guilt trip central.
The guilt trip is the worst part. I feel like I either have to give in so he’ll feel better, or he’ll whine and complain forever. But the whining makes me angry. I’m sorry. I can’t help it. It just does. And I’m sure you’re imagining dramatic whining. It’s not. It’s usually sigh “Yea, I know you hate my penis. Whatever, I’ll just go to bed” And rolls over. The end. I lie there feeling like a fucking assclown. What am I supposed to do? OH! I’m SO sorry! Let me suck your dick RIGHT now! Sometimes I say okay. Then it’s “You don’t want to, you’re just doing it so I’ll shut up. That doesn’t make me feel good.” So I literally can’t do anything then. You’ve made up my mind for me. I don’t want sex.
I think there’s a few factors at play for us. 1) We’ve both gained some weight. Myself more than him, but he’s much bigger than I. I don’t feel as sexy, but I honestly think it’s the smallest reason.
2 & 3 & 4) We live at his Mum’s house right now to save money. (I’m back in college as a late 20-something after I lost my job/career a couple years ago) I hate it here. When we DO have sex, I like to be vocal and loud and use toys and shit. This bitch is home ALL the time. I feel like we are 16 year olds again. She knows we have sex, but I feel like it’s rude and a dick move to be like “hey, want to listen to us at full volume?!”.
I’ve been very down lately (I’ve never had depression diagnosed, because that is SO fucking expensive holy shit. I went to ONE session and it was $100. I didn’t know it was so expensive so I never went back.) I don’t want to leave the house. I don’t want to leave BED. Especially in the winter. Summer is easier for me, but I HATE the cold… I used to walk around our apartment naked. Now it’s fucking 12 degrees inside because she’s frugal so I have to wear pants and a hoodie even to fucking sleep. Having to get undressed just to have sex sounds horrible. It’s so cold. It’s like having a blanket ripped off of you when you wake up. I give way more blowjobs than I have sex with my vagina. I don’t have to take off clothes that way.”
6. I Never Really Loved Him
“I was the denying wife for a very long time. I can tell you pretty much all the same reasons that have been listed here by others: exhaustion, kids, resentment, chores, etc, but I’m learning at this point (almost 5 years since leaving my marriage) that none of that is exactly true. I withheld sex because I was selfish and unrealistic about what a marriage should be. The fact is, I never really loved my ex husband. Not really. On some level he realized that at some point. He became controlling and conniving, he constantly jockeyed for attention and while I was always ready for a fight, when it came to affection or intimacy, I could barely muster a meh.
For the longest time, I thought I’d lost my sex drive altogether, but I’ve learned at this point, it wasn’t that I didn’t want sex, I just didn’t want sex with him. I blamed him for all of it, but in all honesty, I don’t think he could’ve done anything to make me want him anyway. So yes, I was tired & angry. I was bored and detached. I wasn’t content for a random host of reasons on any given day. More than anything, though, I simply didn’t love him. As harsh as that sounds, it’s the bare truth.”
7. Sex is Boring and Monotonous
“I find sex to be like swimming laps in the pool. You can mix up your stroke however you like, and try everything from freestyle to doggystyle, but ultimately all you’re doing is putting a new label on a boring, repetitive, back and forth motion.
Whether you’re doing the butterfly in the pool or in the bedroom, time moves like molasses uphill. After what seems like hours, you’re finally ready to pull yourself out of the pool or the pussy. Big mistake. You glance at the clock and notice those hours were in actuality only a few minutes.”
8. I Just Don’t Care
“I just lost interest. Some of it is menopause, but it started before then. Also, he never initiates sex. He claims he never knows when I’m in the mood. The truth is he’s always been able to get me in the mood. Then there is his iffy personal hygiene. He sometimes goes 3 or 4 days without a shower. But mostly, I just don’t care.”
9. I Don’t Trust Him, So He Can’t Have Sex With Me
“This is an easy one for me. Simply…I don’t trust him. Sex, for most women, is more than just physical. It’s a very emotional act as well. my SO doesn’t let me open up to him emotionally. He says he doesn’t have time for my emotional bullshit. So…that turns into me not trusting him emotionally which naturally lead to me not trusting him with my body. I’d rather just give him oral a few times a week than let him actually touch me. I feel that he judges my body with every touch. It’s mental torture. and plus…he’s selfish in bed. “
10. He Has a Porn Addiction
“My husband and I have been married for 3 years, but we have yet to consummate the marriage. We were “okay” before we got married. I say okay with quotation marks because sex was never great with him, but he made up for that with how much he showed his love for me…at the time. He put a lot of effort into proving himself to me, basically.
As time went by, before getting married, I noticed he watched porn a little too frequently, but i didn’t want to make it an issue because I just figured that’s what guys do.
Little did I realize the more he watched, the less he wanted me.
Then a few months before our wedding, the sex stopped completely and the fights became heavy. Eventually he convinced me that I’m not marrying him for sex. So i married him.
I cried myself to sleep on our honeymoon night while he slept there next to me like everything is normal.
We have had only failed attempts at sex ever since then.
I did everything i could; pills, waking him up on the middle of the night, buying lingerie, buying toys… i did everything. And yet, i still catch him watching porn while I’m laying in bed waiting for him to want me.
Never did he once suggest anything. So I begged him to come to therapy with me. It took him a year to finally agree and admit he has a problem.
Now we’re in marriage counseling the past month, but I’m not seeing improvement yet.“