A few months ago, I started to notice that my husband only shows intimate gestures towards me when he wants sex.
When he is not in the mood for sex, he does not pay attention to the things I say. If I wanted to have a conversation with him about any topic, he can't talk because he is too busy playing games on his phone or consuming funny videos on social media.
When he's in the mood for sex, he cuddles me, touches my boobs, kisses my neck and does not turn his back on me when laying on the bed. He is more attentive to what I say and can hold a conversation.
Things have changed a lot from the time when we weren't married yet. He doesn't even take the time to plan how we are going to spend our anniversaries. We haven't gone on a date to celebrate our anniversary...ever! We're married for 7 years now. We have a child.
I finally opened up to him about this as I felt like I am being used. He was offended and told me he wouldn't initiate sex with me anymore. A month has passed and he has not really asked me to have sex.
What to do? I don't want to initiate sex neither. I'd rather masturbate.
I can definitely relate to this topic, my wife has said that "I only show affection around sex
"; meaning the most affection happens before we have sex and carries on after we have sex but then the more time has gone by without having sex I tend to get less affectionate; or less affectionate for her standards, I still feel that I'm being affectionate.
So just being someone who has experienced this first hand and maybe giving some insight into what your husband is feeling/thinking, I had the same reaction your husband had. I stopped initiating sex and also stopped showing affection until the times I would have a moment of weakness and I would initiate sex. I know in her head she was probably thinking the same old thing saying he only shows intimacy when he wants sex
. I hated myself afterwards because this didn't help the situation and it would just make the situation more confusing.
Just like your husband I would shutdown and watch TV, go on the computer, be on my phone, etc. all things to avoid being affectionate it with her. The reason being is I was just building resentment towards her partially because of what she said to me, the fact that I always had to initiate sex, and that I never felt desired by her sexually.
So based on my readings on this forum, I said to myself you know what, I'm going to shower her with affection, leave love notes, tell her how much I loved her, plan nice nights out, etc. taking sex out of the equation
. I would do all these things thinking to myself okay now she will see that I don't just show her affection when I want to have sex but I'm making a conscious effort to meet her needs.
This strategy ended up backfiring on me because what happened is I just kept on meeting her needs and in the back of my mind I was like okay maybe she would step out of her comfort zone and start initiating sex more or at least give me solid queues that it's sex time vs cuddle time but that day never came; so what ended up happening is I started to resent her again and I would go back to TV, PC, Phone mode.
I don't know the ins/outs of your relationship but my biggest issue was just wanting to be wanted/desired sexually by my wife, and her biggest issue was just being wanted affectionately by me. So when I stepped out of my comfort zone to shower her with affection and put her priorities/needs first; when she didn't see the need to do this for me it just ended up hurting me and made me feel like I was not a priority to her, or actually my needs were not a priority to her, which in turn made me just start pushing her away.
This is the female version of "my wife only wants cuddles, not sex".
Truthfully, I think many men do this inadvertently sometimes, and/or many women feel this way from time to time. Obviously the issue is that, in this case, it's ALL the time.
It's probably simpler than you think to stop this pattern. Communication. Simply tell your husband that your need for non-sexual contact (ie. cuddling, etc.) is on-par with his need for sexual contact.
Given his reaction, I'm guessing you essentially told him something along the lines of "you only touch me when you want sex" or "you only ever want sex", thus his reaction of "fine, I won't try to have sex with you any more". Now you're both at the same impasse, neither of you getting what you need from the other.
Not your fault, of course - his reaction is immature and rather selfish. However, proper wording may go a long way to changing his view on this subject.
Like I said, make him understand your need for non-sexual contact is the same as his need for sexual contact. If he doesn't understand, or "get" it, then you may be stuck, but I think you'd be surprised.
On the other hand, we men are, admittedly, fairly easy to manipulate when it comes to sex...
Some people (of either gender) tend to require emotional foreplay, which ramps up the sexual desire. Some people require sexual foreplay to ramp up the emotional desire. It seems as though you are the former and your husband is the latter.
Therefore, a possible solution is for each of you to compromise with each other, which will result in both of you having your needs met.
For example, you can show him sexual desire (ie. touch him, grab him, jump on him), and he can show you non-sexual desire (ie. cuddling, holding hands, spooning).
The upside for both of you is that there's a high probability that this will increase his desire to be close to you in a non-sexual way and increase your desire to be close to him in a sexual way.
As each of you are responsible for meeting the others relationship needs, it requires effort on both parts and compromise.
In other words: the more you show purely sexual interest in him, the more he will be interested in simply emotional, non-sexual time with you. The more he meets your needs, the more you will be interested in being sexual with him. Know what I mean?
This is what I hinted at in my post, and what others have outright said in their replies. I like the way lessthennone put it though, very simply.
I think this is a very common roadblock that many couples face, and on the surface, each blames the other. "All s/he wants is sex". "All s/he wants is to cuddle".
As a 40 year old male, I can tell you that my sexual interest in my wife is FAR less about getting off and much, much more about the intimacy and closeness. If I wanted to simply get off, there are other avenues for that.
The irony in my situation is that my wife actually separates sex and intimacy. For her, it IS about getting off. Usually you see this more in men than in women, but we don't corner the market, either. Unfortunately, her need to get off isn't nearly as strong as my need for intimacy, so we're rather far apart.
But I digress - OP, it's reasonable to assume that your husband is interested in sex with you for primarily emotional/intimacy reasons, and not just getting off. He may not be, of course, but the odds are good that that's it.
The sheer fact that he hasn't touched you in over a month seems to indicate that. If it was purely about getting off, he would have caved by now. Instead, he's likely taking care of those needs on his own, and otherwise feeling rather rejected emotionally as he believes his wife has no interest in meeting his intimacy needs.
Unfortunately, that leaves the door wide open for somebody to take that place.
Think of it this way: if my wife was really touch-feely, cuddly, always wanted to be next to me, holding my hand, holding me, etc. and I straight-up told her "All you want to do is hold me or touch me" (ie. you're too clingy), how do you think she'd react? With total rejection, that's how.
The real root of the issue is far too many people separate sex from everything else, including intimacy, and that it's (especially for men) only about getting off, and only for special occasions, or only to be done once a week (or month).
Imagine if everybody out there had the same mindset about kissing or hugging their spouse, or holding their hand, or sitting with each other on the couch. That those sorts of things were only to be done one in a while, or even that much thought was required before doing them? Imagine if my wife reached for my hand, and I pulled away, saying "I held your hand yesterday!", or if she snuggled up to me on the couch and I told her I wasn't in the mood and moved to the chair.
This is what so many married people do to their spouses without a second thought when it comes to sex. It makes people feel rejected by the person they love, and not only that, it makes them feel bad in the process. You shouldn't be made to feel bad for wanting to be intimate with your spouse, and to me, sex within a marriage shouldn't be a gift one person gives to the other. It's a gift to be shared. As soon as it becomes a tool or a bargaining chip, it's lost much of its meaning. It should be just as natural as a peck on the cheek, holding hands, or hugging.
*ETA - I think the mindset is a carry-over from the dating years, when it very well could be that one person was really only interested in sex, or a regular sex partner. I think we've all probably dated people that we knew we weren't going to marry, but it would be fun while it lasted, right? So in these situations, yes, one (or both) parties really could be only interested in sex.
But marriage is different. Marriage is not dating, it's not seeing what's out there, playing the field, practicing, whatever you want to call it. One doesn't tend to marry somebody simply for the luxury of having a regular sex partner. But one can certainly date somebody for that reason.
My wife had experiences like that while dating, and they're relatively easy to snuff out. If every single time she saw a boyfriend, he tried to have sex with her, then it becomes clear that's all he's after. Duh. Boyfriend gone. (by the way, this isn't exclusively a female problem).
Your posts resonate so much with me...spot on! It's crazy how so many other people come across this same issue in marriage no matter who you are.
I've communicated with my wife in the past and told her how sex is much more than just sex to me. I like being intimate with my wife and in turn it does make me be more affectionate with her. I even tried to give her an example and said it is probably the same way she feels when she is always craving affection and her being the one that initiates it. She has told me that she would like it if I initiated being more affectionate with her, and I tell her that's exactly how I feel with sex, I hate being the one to always initiate it. I would love to have the feeling of my wife wanting/desiring me sexually instead of being a cuddle care bear to her.
IMPASSE...that's the perfect word @alexm
to describe this same issue that plagues so many.
My current roadblock has been, no matter how much I explain to her how important, meaningful sex is to me and how it makes me be more affectionate to her, which is exactly what she wants; she doesn't understand why I just can't be affectionate with her without needing sex. I don't know how else to explain this to her to make her understand this; I've tried comparing it to her needs and how she doesn't like it when I show her zero affection but it just does not get through. It seems like "sex" and "affection" are 2 totally different things in her head. She always seems to make "sex" sound like it's so much harder to do physically than me just showering her with "affection"; so why can't I just give her more affection and having sex once a month should be enough.
I'm not sure how much longer I can last in this roommate pattern but I don't think I have much left in me.