Suggestions for sexless marriage - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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Suggestions for sexless marriage

I'm a husband in my 40s, who has been happily married for 22 years. We have two teenage kids, with one leaving the nest for college this year. My wife is a caring person, who would do most anything for my kids and I. We seldom have arguments, and share the responsibilities of household chores, and try to be on the same page together when it comes to parenting. We enjoy each other's company, and spend most of our time together, when away from work.

My concern is that we have had what most people would consider to be a below-average sex life for many years now. For the first few years of our marriage, I'm sure that we had sex multiple times a week. Mostly before kids, and when the kids were quite young. For the last 5-10 years, any sexual experiences have been very few and far between. I would say that we average once every few months. I really try to not let it bother me, but lately it's been nagging at me, and has me down in the dumps. Perhaps I'm going through a mid-life crisis. It's not that we aren't intimate at all. We hug and kiss every day, and often hold hands. She has a stressful job, that can sometimes extend into the evening, and requires travel most every month. I often give her body massages before bedtime, as I know she gets tense and stressed due to work and kids issues. The massages used to lead to sex, but she is normally too tired for it anymore. She has always had an issue with her weight, but it's never bothered me, as I still find her very attractive. The lack of energy isn't just in the bedroom. About 2 years ago I lost almost 60 lbs after improving my eating habits and ramping up exercise and activity. I always ask her if she'd like to go for a walk with me, or join me at the gym, but she always says that she's too tired or busy. Perhaps my weight loss and improved health is causing me to desire sex more now. I can usually talk to her about most things, but the subject of her weight is almost taboo, and can really cause her to be hurt and upset. Like I said, her weight has never bothered me, but the lack of activity, especially desire in the bedroom, is bumming me out.

I'm really trying not to dwell on it, but I just wish that there was something that I could do without making it an issue with her, and potentially hurting her feelings. I would really appreciate any thoughts and/or suggestions that someone may have who has faced these issues.

Much appreciated.
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 11:49 PM
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Re: Suggestions for sexless marriage

I know it's difficult but I think you have to be honest with your wife. Instead of worrying about hurting her feelings you should worry about building resentment that will ruin your marriage or destroy your love.

I'm in my mid 50's - about 3 years ago I disrupted my marriage to get the point across that either our intimacy would change or our marriage would be gone. We were very close as you are and that's partly the reason my w couldn't understand that the infrequent sex was a deal breaker. it took several come to Jesus discussions to change the dynamics.

It's hard but you are not being kind to her by letting her believe things are ok


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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 11:52 PM
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Re: Suggestions for sexless marriage

Read His Need Her Needs with her and talk about what you need versus what she needs. They're very different.

If you're as close as you say, once she fully understands this, it'll be a profound change and she'll be sad that she didn't realize you weren't happy


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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 12:50 AM
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Re: Suggestions for sexless marriage

I simply told my wife that if she was unwilling to have sex with me, I would find it elsewhere. We had a non monogamous marriage for most of the 44 years we are together. So it is not a threat, just doing what I have refrained from doing for the last few years. She is free to date anyone she wants to also. I also did something that has worked for us a few times, find a fetish or kink to try that would jumpstart our sex life. That is how we ended up non monogamous. This time it was chastity play which I will not go into. What it did was give my wife control over my orgasms and turn my sexual frustration into a fun sex game. It was a perfect fit for us the same as having threesomes so that my wife could have a woman in her life without cheating. So far we have always found something that works, but that is because my wife wants it to work.

Many prefer to drown in a pool of their own morality rather than seek the safety of a different morality when the choice is monogamy or your marriage.
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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 03:54 AM
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Re: Suggestions for sexless marriage

If you don't tell her what is bothering you The fact that you lost weight and are taking better care of yourself probably IS the reason you desire sex more. Most likely you have raised your testosterone levels in the process.

Still, the bottom line is - you need to talk to your wife and tell her how you feel! If her weight is truly not an issue for you - it does not need to be part of the discussion.
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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 05:04 PM
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Re: Suggestions for sexless marriage

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Originally Posted by IND Average Guy View Post
I'm really trying not to dwell on it, but I just wish that there was something that I could do without making it an issue with her, and potentially hurting her feelings. I would really appreciate any thoughts and/or suggestions that someone may have who has faced these issues.
One of the biggest challenges is to convey to your wife that you want a higher frequency of sex in the marriage, but at the same time you do not want to come across as being needy.

You are going to have to work on her confidence, and also educate her about how you respond to her sexually and why.

A really good way to try and understand what she needs from you is pay close attention to what she does for you and what things she compliments you about. THESE are the things that are important for her. Make it a point to try and appreciate these things and begin to put a little more attention into those details. If she compliments you for wearing something that looks nice, start paying more attention to what she wears and compliment her when she indeed looks nice and has put a little extra effort into grooming herself. If she enjoys cooking you something, be sure and compliment her for what she cooked and take more interest in learning what all she did to prepare that meal as a way to better appreciate it. THIS is the way that you build her confidence is by complimenting her and taking the time to sincerely appreciate what she does for you and the family.

With this confidence will come the fact that you will see her smile more often, and make it a point to let her know how your respond to seeing her smile. Let her enjoy that!

Regards,
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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 07:59 PM
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Re: Suggestions for sexless marriage

You aren't going to compliment your way into sex. This ain't high school... It may work once or twice but not in the long term.

Instead, find out why she's like that.

She may have some deep rooted issues in which case compliments will not help at all (why is he saying that type thing).
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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 09:27 PM
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Re: Suggestions for sexless marriage

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You aren't going to compliment your way into sex. This ain't high school... It may work once or twice but not in the long term.

Instead, find out why she's like that.

She may have some deep rooted issues in which case compliments will not help at all (why is he saying that type thing).
True, without knowing the cause, compliments can also serve to exacerbate the problem (if she feels guilty about something). The problem is that if you don't know what the problem is by now, she is either not going to tell you, or you have not learned how to listen to her and she gave up trying to explain it a long time ago.

So your kind of damned if you do and damned if you don't sometimes. But in my opinion compliments never hurt. If she does not respond to them, try giving yourself some unreasonably optimistic compliments about yourself, and just observe her reactions to that. Odds are that will at least get her to smile!

Cheers,
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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 11:31 PM
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Re: Suggestions for sexless marriage

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Originally Posted by IND Average Guy View Post
I'm a husband in my 40s, who has been happily married for 22 years. We have two teenage kids, with one leaving the nest for college this year. My wife is a caring person, who would do most anything for my kids and I. We seldom have arguments, and share the responsibilities of household chores, and try to be on the same page together when it comes to parenting. We enjoy each other's company, and spend most of our time together, when away from work.

My concern is that we have had what most people would consider to be a below-average sex life for many years now. For the first few years of our marriage, I'm sure that we had sex multiple times a week. Mostly before kids, and when the kids were quite young. For the last 5-10 years, any sexual experiences have been very few and far between. I would say that we average once every few months. I really try to not let it bother me, but lately it's been nagging at me, and has me down in the dumps. Perhaps I'm going through a mid-life crisis. It's not that we aren't intimate at all. We hug and kiss every day, and often hold hands. She has a stressful job, that can sometimes extend into the evening, and requires travel most every month. I often give her body massages before bedtime, as I know she gets tense and stressed due to work and kids issues. The massages used to lead to sex, but she is normally too tired for it anymore. She has always had an issue with her weight, but it's never bothered me, as I still find her very attractive. The lack of energy isn't just in the bedroom. About 2 years ago I lost almost 60 lbs after improving my eating habits and ramping up exercise and activity. I always ask her if she'd like to go for a walk with me, or join me at the gym, but she always says that she's too tired or busy. Perhaps my weight loss and improved health is causing me to desire sex more now. I can usually talk to her about most things, but the subject of her weight is almost taboo, and can really cause her to be hurt and upset. Like I said, her weight has never bothered me, but the lack of activity, especially desire in the bedroom, is bumming me out.

I'm really trying not to dwell on it, but I just wish that there was something that I could do without making it an issue with her, and potentially hurting her feelings. I would really appreciate any thoughts and/or suggestions that someone may have who has faced these issues.

Much appreciated.
First things first, congratulations on the weight loss and for taking care of yourself. It sounds like your wife needs to look to you for inspiration. Instead it seems like she may be in some sort of funk instead. Is she exhibiting any signs of depression over one of your kids leaving the nest? Is her job occupying her thoughts when it isn't demanding her attention? If so, do you feel that she may benefit from a change of scenery or maybe some time off?

Secondly, count your blessings. Other than the physical disconnect you and your wife seem to have a supportive relationship. I wish I at least had that.
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 11:39 PM
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Re: Suggestions for sexless marriage

I was/am going through the same thing currently....I open communication up and spoke to my wife on what's bugging me about no sex...it's getting better...make sure you tell what's bugging you. Sometimes life gets in the way...don't let it.. One thing I've learned lately if you want it you have to work for it...Communication id the key both ways...
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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 01:48 PM
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Re: Suggestions for sexless marriage

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Originally Posted by IND Average Guy View Post
I'm a husband in my 40s, who has been happily married for 22 years. We have two teenage kids, with one leaving the nest for college this year......

....For the last 5-10 years, any sexual experiences have been very few and far between. I would say that we average once every few months. I really try to not let it bother me, but lately it's been nagging at me, and has me down in the dumps. Perhaps I'm going through a mid-life crisis. It's not that we aren't intimate at all. We hug and kiss every day, and often hold hands. She has a stressful job, that can sometimes extend into the evening, and requires travel most every month. I often give her body massages before bedtime, as I know she gets tense and stressed due to work and kids issues. The massages used to lead to sex, but she is normally too tired for it anymore. She has always had an issue with her weight, but it's never bothered me, as I still find her very attractive.

....the subject of her weight is almost taboo, and can really cause her to be hurt and upset.....

.....I just wish that there was something that I could do without making it an issue with her, and potentially hurting her feelings. I would really appreciate any thoughts and/or suggestions that someone may have who has faced these issues.

Much appreciated.
Been there done that. First congratulations on your weight loss.

First, look in the mirror and say the following words. "I am in a Sex Starved Marriage."

Second, get the books MW Davis, The Sex Starved Marriage, Glover's No More Mr. Nice Guy, and Chapman's the 5 Languages of Love. Read them study them, compare the advise and examples in them to your situation with your wife. Those three books (plus a few more) along with a great sex therapist helped save my marriage.

Third, if your wife is unhappy with her weight, it will make her feel less sexy regardless of how much you tell her she is sexy to you.

Fourth, you can not and should not try to change your wife or force her to do things she doesn't want. You can inspire her, you can reward positive behavior to reinforce change, you can change how your react to the way she treats you , and you can talk to her. You need to understand that she is not "broken," "damaged" or in need of "fixing." The two of you have just drifted apart in terms of sexual frequency and need to negotiate a new compromise that will work for both of you.

Finally, you and your wife can go to a sex therapist. There are marriage counselors who have extra training in sexual problems and dysfunction.

I would like to digress and try to explain what I think Bad Santa was trying to explain (at least from what worked for me.) In Chapmans the 5 Languages of Love, everyone has a primary and secondary love language. It is the way that a person communicates how they love their spouse. I am a touch and words of affirmation guy. When my wife and I drifted apart and I wanted to tell her how much I loved her, I would put my hands on her shoulders, give her a massage, hold her hand, hug her, etc. My wife interpreted that as constantly pawing at her to get sex. When I praised her, my wife felt I was buttering her up to get in her pants. I was just trying to express to her in a non-sexual way how much I loved her. Your massages, hand holding, etc. may have become counter-productive.

Instead to feel loved my wife needed quality time and acts of service with an occasional present. Once I figured out rituals to do that my wife felt very loved and started to be receptive to working with the sex therapist on reestablishing sexual relations with me. Your mileage may differ.

What I took Bad Santa as saying is that you need to observe how your wife communicates her love to you. To do that you need to watch and understand what she is doing. For my wife, cooking a hot dinner was a way of saying I love you. After I figured that out, I brought her coffee in bed in the morning as a act of service to start her day feeling loved. I also became her sous chef and dish washer at dinner, so she had the extra time and energy to create more elaborate dinner meals and feel she expressed her love even more so.

Now before, I leave this topic I want to issue a big warning. In Glover's book NMMNG he warns about how covert contracts poison a relationship. A covert contract is where you massage your wife's back and expect that she will fulfill her half of the contract you are trying to impose on her which is to have sex with you. Unfortunately, she hasn't bought into your covert contract and like wouldn't even if you discussed it explicitly. When I bring my wife coffee in bed in the morning there is absolutely no expectation on my part that I have created any kind of quid pro quo for sex.

Good luck and yes, seek the help of a sex therapist.
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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 01:58 PM
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Re: Suggestions for sexless marriage

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Originally Posted by TheTruthHurts View Post
I know it's difficult but I think you have to be honest with your wife. Instead of worrying about hurting her feelings you should worry about building resentment that will ruin your marriage or destroy your love.

I'm in my mid 50's - about 3 years ago I disrupted my marriage to get the point across that either our intimacy would change or our marriage would be gone. We were very close as you are and that's partly the reason my w couldn't understand that the infrequent sex was a deal breaker. it took several come to Jesus discussions to change the dynamics.

It's hard but you are not being kind to her by letting her believe things are ok
This.

You need to have a HARD talk with her and basically make it CLEAR. You DO NOT intend to spend the rest of your like having sex a handful of times a year.

If she truly cares about you, she'll work with you to increase her drive. You should help her anyway you can. If she dismisses you, then you will have you answer.

WALK.

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” - Maya Angelou
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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 02:06 PM
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Re: Suggestions for sexless marriage

You seem to have a few issues going on IMHO. First, your weight loss is most likely increasing your testosterone which increases your sex drive. That's making you notice the lack of sex even more than in the past. For her, your weight loss is probably a constant reminder of her own weight. That, in conjunction with her stressful job, probably turns her off from any desire of sexual activity. I also suspect her body hasn't been what she'd like it to be for a long time, which might be why sex has been minimal in the past. Finally, being in the 40s, unless they're the early 40s, could be her going into perimenopause which would only exacerbate the situation. I agree with others that your best plan of action is to talk with her about it. Whatever you do however, DON'T MAKE IT ABOUT HER or her not wanting to have sex. She'll just get defensive and shut down. You need to make her understand that you miss the intimacy with her and how much you love her. Work with her to find times when she might not be so tired. If you can get her to become more sexually active, she might find she has more energy as well and even want to lose weight herself..

BTW, I don't speak any of this from experience. My wife learned from her father not to be affectionate, and was shamed by her mother for any sexual thoughts. It's a wonder we have children. Because of my own frustrations however, I have read many, many articles and books and simply offer this from what I've read. Good luck!
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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 02:15 PM
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Re: Suggestions for sexless marriage

Since life DOES interfere, I think a lot of times couples just get into a rut of "well, this is just how we are". You REALLY need to talk with your wife and explain that you don't want to live this way -- that you need to get more out of your marriage. Don't accuse or threaten -- just talk with her. She MAY not be really thinking about it at all, so you need to get it out in the open. Depending on how she responds to these discussions will tell you a lot.
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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 02:19 PM
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Re: Suggestions for sexless marriage

Just a note, the 5 Love Languages is a bit overrated... If you've lived with someone for two decades and need a pop psychology quiz to tell you what she likes. It's the equivalent of the silly jewelry store commercial of a guy buying his wife a vacuum for their anniversary...
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