I have to warn you now, this topic is personal. I have grappled a bit with if I should post it, but I decided to take my own advice from my last post and be honest. I know this will probably make my husband uncomfortable, so I apologize in advance to Mr. Mess. I just feel like I need to get this out there and talk about it so maybe someone else in a similar situation won’t feel like they are all alone.
I have heard from lots of people about their hysterical bonding after DDay. That never happened for us. We maybe had a slight upswing in our sex life a few months in, but nothing drastic or immediate. Now things are back down to pre-DDay levels which is around 1-2 times per week if I’m super lucky.
I’m a very sexual woman. I have always heard that men are supposed to have a higher sex drive than women, but that is definitely not the case in our relationship. My husband often turned to pornography and masturbation rather than actual sex with me. When I was interested he was always “too tired” or some other lame excuse – except for about once or twice a week (usually on the weekends) when he couldn’t think up a lie I would believe.
Like I said, there was a slight upswing in sexual activity a few months after DDay, but nothing sustained. And nothing to write home about. The fact is that it doesn’t take much to have an “upswing” from nearly never. Part of the disparity in our libidos may be that I am 20 years younger than my husband. I am 27 and he is 47. Women are just hitting their sexual peak at my age. If you consider his sexual addiction issues and his age I guess I can see where my sex drive might be a little higher. But he’s a sex addict for goodness sake! A s-e-x addict who never seems to want s-e-x!
I have voiced my concerns in the past about the lack of sex in our marriage. That has been when some of the upswings have occurred. He has now been on anti-depressants for a little over a year, and I know that those can effect sex drive. However, I just keep feeling like there is something more. I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something. It’s just not right. I’m here. I want sex. I’m open-minded and flexible (in more ways than one). I put myself out there. Still, when it comes to our sex life, I get crickets…
The other night my husband was ready to head off to bed early – at around 9. He never wants to go to bed that early, and it hadn’t been a particularly long day. His work was normal, and he didn’t have to go to school. I was thinking that maybe I might get lucky! Alas…. no. He basically wanted to get in bed, put on his CPAP machine (he has sleep apnea), and go to sleep. I was beyond frustrated. It’s not like we don’t connect or touch. It’s not like he isn’t affectionate. We kiss, he slaps my butt, we hold hands on the couch, I had snuggled up to him and was wearing barely anything… but it rarely goes much further.
Wenesday night it was just too much. I told him that I am frustrated. He thought it was because he wanted to go to bed so early. I told him that wasn’t it. I can almost always sleep because I am stressed right now, plus I like us to go to bed at the same time so we can unwind, talk, and connect. I feel like if we start going to bed without each other we may as well just get separate rooms – something I am not willing to do. I told him straight-out that I am disappointed by how infrequently we have sex. I told him that I am not ready to be in a sexless marriage at 27! And to me once per week is basically that – because there is no passion, no need, no feeling of hunger or desire from him.
He was quiet for a long time. I thought he had just decided to go to sleep and ignore me, which was making me even angrier. Then he finally said that he can understand. I said something like, “oh, really?” in a slightly (okay, very) sarcastic tone. He just replied “Yeah.” That was the extent of our conversation. Sometimes it is like pulling teeth with that man! I was still frustrated, but let it go for the night.
Yesterday at lunch he gave me a call. He said that he has been thinking about what I said. He said that he is sorry that he has been neglecting me. Then he said that he thinks he is really just afraid. I asked him “what of?” He said that he is afraid that if we have sex more he will start thinking about sex more and he is worried that will lead to acting out and cheating on me again. He was teary – I could tell from his voice – and it gave me a little pause. I thought about it, and told him that I can see where that might cause some anxiety.
I pointed out that there is a difference between healthy sex and unhealthy behavior. He should be able to have sex with me without that making him want to have sex with someone else, too. He said that he does know that. So I asked again what is it that makes him feel afraid of sex with me (the healthy, normal, necessary to sustain a marriage sex). At first he said he wasn’t sure because he knows that isn’t the same as his unhealthy, obsessive, unsatisfying, secret porn/ chat room/ affair-driven sex life (if you can even call it that). I asked if he really feels like he has addressed those issues. He said yes immediately. Then I asked him if that is really true… has he dealt with them or has he just been avoiding anything that would make him have to confront them. He then admitted that was probably it.
He is so afraid of messing up again that rather than develop healthy coping skills, confront those triggers, and do the work to heal himself, he is just trying to avoid sex altogether. Once it reached a timeframe where he felt like he needed sex or he should be giving it to me, he would give in briefly and have sex. Then he would bottle up all of his sexual feelings together and store them away somewhere. He would only allow himself to feel sexual during that hour (or whatever) he allotted for us each week, then he would lock everything down.
He told me that he knows that isn’t right. It isn’t fair to me. It isn’t healthy for him. It’s not what he really wants. He said that he wants to be more open and sexual with me. He is just afraid that once that box is open he won’t be able to control it. I told him that I can understand now that he is talking with me about it… That it definitely allows me to give him more grace around this matter.
I also told him that I’m not the person who knows what the solution is. I’m patting myself on the back for that one a little bit because in the past I would have tried to come up with some “game plan” or started researching and looking for an answer. Today I just told him that I think he is feeling that way because he hasn’t really addressed things. I suggested that he talk with his IC today in their appointment to get guidance. I didn’t push. I didn’t call and get the schedule. I didn’t dictate to him anything that he needed to do – other than reach out and start figuring this out with appropriate people who can provide assistance. I said that I am really glad he shared that with me, and I want him to keep talking to me about those sorts of feelings. But I didn’t try to become the “rescuer.” I think that is a healthy step for me.
What I am wondering is if anyone else has had a similar issue with their spouse. I know not everyone is dealing with this kind of situation, but I am curious about if other people’s partners have fear around sex. Do they worry that letting go in one area will cause bad habits to pop out in another? I haven’t heard a lot about this, so I’m not sure the best way to support my husband through this. All I know is that it’s frustrating as hell.
- Sex addicts fear intimacy and romantic relationships (themedguru.com)
- Can lack of testosterone lead to decreased sex drive ? (drbjornsson.wordpress.com)