I thought this was a great post from unicornsearcher
Posted in Wayward,
Topic: Physical relationships within a marriage (long)
Posted: 7:07 AM, January 26th (Wednesday), 2011
When the wedding vows say "love & honor" that includes sexual passion. People are hardwired for a need of sexual intimacy & touch. It has physical, mental, emotional & benefits. The lack causes detrimental effects individually & obviously on the relationship.
Obviously, betrayal is not an aphrodesiac, so that creates new levels of sexual issues. But you say that the problems started long before that, so while the betrayal makes it even more challenging to reconnect sexually, it is still possible & very desirable.
A sexless marriage isn't as rare as might be thought, especially these days when there is so much stress & particularly in the child rearing years. It could be a low sexual desire but can often be a symptom of something physical, emotional or a deep rooted issue(s), etc, that need to be addressed.
The first step may be to have your spouse go to the dr for a full sexual health physical to see if there is a medical reason for the lack of desire. You stated that there was a lot more frequency initially at least for a time, so you know the potential is there to have a more frequent & mutually fulfilling passionate life together.
It will be impossible for you to get what you want until it is more of a priority for your BS as well & after a DDay that can be extremely challenging. It may be that taking baby steps to be more physically affectionate is needed.
Once out of the habit of having sex it can be difficult to turn that switch back on, granted, but making physical touching even if just cuddling to start may help significantly in conjunction with a concerted effort to make progress a priority for the relationship by both.
As the last article demonstrates, even if from a woman's viewpoint, that a lack of sex is much more than just being deprived of a sexual release. It can have a domino effect in other ways. So maybe it would help if you do like the author did there to write out a similar type document after thinking about how the lack of a passionate life with your spouse specifically, has affected you & the relationship.
You may not want to share that with your BS immediately but it will help you sort out what exactly bothers you about the lack of sex & physical closeness with your mate. It may be best to discuss these issues with a professional to aid the discussion & guide it gently in a constructive way for both of you.
It's obviously a very touchy subject (pun intended) & even more so after a DDay. There are resources out there to help, just google "sexless marriage*".
sexless marriages news video
Psychotherapist Tina Tessina, PhD, author of "Money, Sex & Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage," lists these as the most common causes of sexless marriages:
one partner had their feelings hurt or got turned down too many times,
one got too busy or neglectful, or
one or both partners has a communication problem of some sort.
Judith Steinhart, a clinical sexologist in New York City, is yet more specific:
"Problems in a marriage [like] lack of trust, anxiety, financial issues, misunderstandings, pressure from children, all can impact a couple's sexual patterns."
The question, of course, is whether refraining from sex causes other problems, or if the other problems stop the sex in the first place?
"It's a cycle," says Mason. In other words, one can exacerbate the other — & before you know it, no one can remember what came first.
As for how much sex a healthy couple should be having, that varies — & is up to the couple to figure out. Tessina's best advice is at least once a week, saying that "intimacy keeps you glued together. It's what you need in order to nurture your connection to your spouse. You'll be a lot happier with each other & feel more cared about if you're regularly having sex.
But when a couple has had a long period — say, several months — without sex, it's important to address the problem, so months don't become years, Tessina says. "Some couples won't have sex for two years and then come in to my practice & ask for help. We can get to the bottom of the problem at that point, but it's more challenging. If they haven't had sex for a couple of months, that's when they really should be asking questions. That's a good time to come in and have therapy. Otherwise, anger & frustration builds, & it takes longer to fix it that way."
After a period of sexual inactivity, you & your partner can get back on the proverbial horse. The experts say that scheduling sex can work.
"I know this doesn't sound romantic," says Mason. "But with kids, work & chores, it may be the only way." Take inspiration from the Obamas & call it "date night." Think back to when you & your spouse actually were dating & try to recapture some of those spontaneous, getting-to-know-you moments.
"Remember how you connected back then & repeat that," says Tessina. "It could be a few words, a gesture, a kind of look or touch." Do new things together, go on a trip or try some thrilling activities to try to keep things fresh. "Break away from your routine as much as possible," says Mason.
It's common for spouses to have different amounts of sexual desire. If you're the spouse who's unsatisfied, it's important to communicate with your partner, compassionately.
"Say, 'We haven't had sex in a while, & I miss you,'" recommends Tessina. "Don't complain about it — that's not going to get you laid. Go for the sweetness."
"Try to make it as easy & simple as possible to get together, & it gets easier to do," says Tessina. "In a long-term marriage, you have to pay attention to keep the sex going. It won't keep going by itself."
So can a sexless marriage be healthy?
The experts agree that a marriage without sex isn't necessarily wrong, but it can be more vulnerable than one with regular sex.
Luckily, it's doesn't always take much to keep up a routine — but it does take some effort. Steinhart suggests getting back into the groove by reading erotic stories or watching X-rated movies together & opening a dialogue about each other's sexual desires. What gets each couple — & each person — back on track will vary, so explore ways to loosen up your current attitudes about sex, shake up your routine a bit & begin to talk about sex with your partner.
"The focus needs to be on giving & receiving pleasure," says Steinhart. "And letting the [sexual] feelings in."
If you're the one who doesn't want to have sex, closely examine what's going on in your life & your relationship & ask yourself why. It could be a physical condition you should see a doctor about, or it could be negative feelings toward something in your relationship — & that could be something you can get past. "Be honest with your partner," says Mason.
"Remember that it's important to your relationship to keep you partner sexually satisfied." "There are deals you can work out," says Tessina. "Maybe you can hold your partner while they masturbate."
So is a sexless marriage ever okay? Yes, says Steinhart, as long as both partners honestly feel happy & satisfied with their relationship without sexual intimacy.
"If a couple is OK with their pattern, whether it's infrequent or not at all there isn't a problem," says Steinhart. "Some would say, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.'" That's why it's important to keep an open dialogue with your spouse, to continue to connect on other levels & to make sure both of you are truly content with the status of the relationship. Steinhart adds, "It's not a lack of sex that's the issue, it's a discordant level of desire."
Sexless relationships, reports & surveys suggest, is on the rise. In fact, it is believed that more than 15% of marriages in the US are of the brother-sister kind.
Here are some shocking statistics relating to sexless marriages:
According to Newsweek, more than 18% of couples have sex as little as 10 times a year, making them fall into what experts call the ‘sexless marriage’ category.
Another survey in the Newsweek shows that most married couples have sex about once every week. By contrast, unmarried singles have sex up to 3 times a week!
About 20-25% of men & 30-50% of women complain about their lack of sex drive.
About 25% of Americans, mostly women, suffer from a condition called Hypoactive Sexual Desire (HSD) which is a condition in which the person feels a persistent lack of interest in sex.
While experts suggest that you can define your marriage as sexless only if you are having sex less than 10 times a year, the truth of the fact is that you cannot quantify sex. How much sex you want varies from person to person & age to age.
For a couple in their sixties, sex once a month may be more than sufficient, but for a couple in their thirties, this is a worrying pattern indeed.
What with pressures from work, children, life & circumstances, the only way to keep your marriage going strong is to invest time & energy in the relationship continuously.
This is What a Sexless Marriage Feels Like
This post is not about virtue. It is not an ask for sympathy. It attempts to explore what I've learned about sex & sexuality since sex ended within my long-term relationship. I won't say much about why, because half of it is not my story to tell & I have no right. Just know that because of illness & after sharing a normal, monogamous, sexually active relationship for nearly a decade, my spouse suddenly lost the need, desire, & passion for sex.
When sex disappears like that, you don't necessarily know it at the time. There's no announcement. No resetting of hormones for each of you. No discussion that starts with, "I'm thinking I'll never want to have sex again. Are you ok with this?"
It's just gone. One day, perhaps months or years later, you realize that the last time you had sex together was the last time you’d ever have sex together.
As I’ve gone through these years without a sexual connection to my spouse, sexual desire did not fade within me. I still think about sex & long for it, I still dream about it, & fantasize. I do try to minimize overt exposure to what can make it harder. I don’t read the OS dirty haikus on Thursday & I never read sensual erotica. I look away during sex scenes in films.
I no longer engage in “how’s your sex life” conversations with friends. And yet, even with these rules & a relationship devoid of sex, sex remains a part of my life, in my mind, in my dreams, & in my writing.
As I’ve gotten through these last 8 years, I’ve thought a lot about sex, sexuality, & relationships. Here is some of what I’ve discovered:
Sex is vital to a good life.
What? You thought you knew that? So did I. I knew sex reduced my stress level, added to my joie de vivre, helped me sleep more soundly, & that it made the mornings after sweeter. I knew that dependable, good sex was very important, even imperative to a good life & relationship.
Going without sex led me to understand its meaning even more: I understand how it nourishes & comforts, touches the soul, sustains our natural rhythms. All of that was happening before, so I never examined the ‘how or why”.
Going without sex now, I can see how the lack of it upsets each of those things.
Sex may not be a need like air, but it is needed.
Yes, I can live without sex, I pretty much do, but I don’t live joyfully. It’s gotten harder, not easier to go without for so long. I need sex to live the life I wanted to live, to feel happiness to the potential I have within me, to carry me through life’s challenges & sorrows. I need sex like I need friends & conversation, like I need the sun & spring, like I need books and music. I need sex to make all of those things better, too.
Some nights, sex is all I can think about. I ache to be desired & wanted, to give way to joy and abandon. There is no substitute for the moment when your lover reaches out for you with passion, or with love. Trust me on this, there is no substitute.
Sex holds you together when everything else is pulling you apart.
Another given, but think about it for a gentle moment. How many times has that tender caress, that kiss that lingers just a bit longer, that flirtatious glance made you feel closer, safer, connected, a couple, united? How often has it been the bridge from anger to forgiveness, from stressed to relaxed, from lonely to loved? It works.
Sex does the job it is supposed to do, fusing you as a couple. Sharing sex means exposing vulnerability, intimacies of the heart & body. You know secrets about each other that are beyond naked & truer than fact, learned during uncensored moments of bliss.
Honoring & protecting those secrets is a gift to each other.
Sex makes me feel like a woman & nothing else really does. My career doesn't do that for me. Spending time with friends doesn't. Volunteering doesn’t. Wearing skirts & lingerie helps, but still.... sex?
Oh yes. That's when I feel womanly & confident, aching to express my desire & eroticism, & ready to reveal the mysteries of my gender. Nothing else asks me to reach in & grasp the inner femaleness that flows so deep, that yearns to surface.
Going without sex now, I sometimes feels less of who I am, less connected to my friends & other women, a little less relevant in the world. I feel distant from myself.
Our sexuality continues to evolve over time, even after many years.
About 5 years into this, I realized something very new about my sexual desire, something I had not considered before. How could this be? I wasn’t in an active sexual relationship, I was making every attempt to de-sexualize myself, & suddenly a new sexual idea came to me begging to be explored & experienced. How unfair & cruel!
This revelation thrilled, stunned & scared me. How & why this came to me during the sex-free years of my existence remain obscure to me, & yet there it is. Just another reminder that sexuality, that basic human drive, has a life of its own.
Sex allows you to communicate in ways that you cannot replicate in any other way.
What you can do with your fingers, your mouth, your hips.... all those luscious areas of the body that allow for expression that can't be articulated any other way. During sex you can whisper & tease & demand & beg with intonation & nuances that are not appropriate in any other setting.
I miss this language so dearly & with such a vengeance that I have to continually monitor myself to be sure I don't do it in the wrong setting. I have to say, honestly, this is probably what I miss the most – the language of sex.
Masturbation is nice. And I am a pro. I swear to all of you, none of you are better at this than I am. I always knew masturbation was nice, but before it was just a warm-up or a way to tide myself over between couple-sex events. Now it is sex.
Masturbation gets to be very, very lonely.
Not lonely enough to totally stop, but lonely enough that sometimes an orgasm from solo masturbation ends in tears & a feeling of profound solitude.
Sex gives us some hope.
Sex makes us hope, for more, for better, for different, for the same. During the good years, we had sex pretty regularly, as couples do. Thursday night? Always. Again on a weekend night & a weekend morning, even both weekend mornings.
And then there was Tuesday, the bonus day. Tuesdays felt a little hopeful, a little romantic, a little sexy. I miss that feeling, wondering if it will be a ‘sex Tuesday’. I miss counting on sex on Thursday, & looking forward to weekend sex.
Going without sex all the time adds a layer of drudgery to the week. Now it's just work, time after work, & then sleep. Same thing tomorrow. Same thing next week, next month, & next year. Sex adds that soft glitter to the winter’s gray, a soothing balm to the end of a long work day, a benevolent barrier to the world outside.
The less I had sex, the more I thought about it.
During the first few years of this, I thought about sex all the time. ... I have consciously worked to mitigate those thoughts and that’s helped, but even that ‘success’ feels like a loss.
Sex makes me love my body.
Watching, feeling, hearing a lover take pleasure in my body & receive it from my touch, these feelings are inimitable. A lover’s certain touch affirms me emotionally & physically.
Knowing that my body & my own touch produce exquisite gratification & joy tell me I am a sexy, sensual woman. I appreciate my body & am glad for it, but I ache to express & enjoy its sexual potential.
Our sexuality is a gift of comfort & passion that we offer the world, an offer to sustain a love, to convey our essence from our soul.