Sexless Marriage

Submit your questions for Dear Hoopers here 

Dear Hoopers,
My husband and I have been married for almost 3 years (together for 6) and have a 6 month old baby together. While dating, our sex life was wonderful…Now, not so much. This has been an ongoing issue since we got engaged, but lately is going in months long spurts. Before I got pregnant it was infrequent and then turned into only for conceiving purposes during ovulation. He refused to sex with me while pregnant stating it was “weird”. Since the baby, sex is nonexistent. I should add that I am only 26 years old and he is 10 years my senior. He works out daily and takes a lot of supplements which I tell myself are to blame. I ask and initiate sex, but am always rejected for various excuses- exhausted, need to shave, full of food, headache, etc. Recently when I questioned the lack of sex in our marriage he stated that he was no longer attracted to me, but still loved me. This broke my heart and he apologized and tried to retract the statement, but the damage was done. He refuses therapy and says he has no medical issues. He states he will fix the problem, but never has it been fixed. I feel completely rejected, disgusting, unwanted, and just downright unloved. I am a fit and young woman. I do not want to break apart my family, but I do not want to be in a loveless and sexless marriage. What is left to do?
-Sexless Marriage

Dear Sexless,
I am sorry that you are hurt. I would be too. Those were weighty words that pierced through the heart. Feeling unloved by your spouse is a hard place to be. Intimacy is a vital part of feeling connected in a marriage and I can only imagine how vast that void feels right now.

How is your relationship other than the sexless aspect? Do you still share interests and enjoy time with each other? Are you communicating okay?  Do you show affection outside of sex, such as kissing, holding hands, cuddling? Luckily your current sexless marriage is a reversible problem if both of you are willing to compromise and to work on it to make it better. You aren’t alone. Surveys estimate that 15 to 20 percent of couples have sex no more than 10 times a year, which is how the experts define sexless marriage.


I would keep reiterating the importance to you.

-Kate

Couples counseling or seeing a sex therapist, would be a logical next step and may provide a workable solution, but only if he accepts that there is a problem. At this point it sounds like he is refusing, but I would keep reiterating the importance to you.

Seek professional counseling and go even if your husband won’t. You need to find an outlet and process through these tough emotions. If he’s against seeing a counselor or therapist, then propose a marriage education class where you can improve on communication skills. Sex may not return to the same dynamic level you experienced while dating, but together you can create something that satisfies you both.
-Kate

Dear Sexless,
You are feeling rejected and abandoned. Marriage is a committed relationship “to have and to hold”, not to dismiss and condescend. You rightfully feel rejected because your husband has rejected you. Sexual distance and sexual changes are quite normal in a long-term relationship, but the distance you have described is much more. It’s enough that he called sex with you “weird” while you were pregnant. I’m sure that you were radiant and wonderful; I’m sorry that he couldn’t see this at that time.

The mystery is why your husband has created this sexual distance from you. It doesn’t sound like the issue is on your end. You have initiated sex on regular occasions and have attempted to have the difficult conversation with him to figure out the problem. The problem and the solution likely lies with your husband. It will be up to him (and from your support) to seek help and to make the changes needed to support your marriage relationship.


The problem and the solution likely lies with your husband.

-Dr. Ryan

I’m not sure what to make of his excuses so far. The excuses about being too full or needing to shave certainly sound silly. His excuse of not being attracted to you seems sudden and unrealistic. I suppose it’s not impossible to lose attraction to your “fit and young” wife of only 3 years, but this feels like an excuse for something else. I’m not sure what that something else is, but sex is a complex process that involves many physical, emotional, and interpersonal factors.

Just because he says that there is no medical problem doesn’t mean that there is no medical problem. The prevalence of erectile dysfunction significantly increases with age, with up to 40% of men experiencing some form of ED in their 40s. Emotional distance within the marriage can also be a significant contributor and should be addressed. You two share a newborn together, have a 3 year marriage together, and he still commits to being in love with you. Those are all strengths that can pull this together. I wish you the best in finding a way to do so.
-Dr. Ryan