Anyone else in an (essentially) sexless relationship?

posted 1 year ago in Intimacy
Post # 2
1337 posts
Bumble bee

Myself and my partner (female) can go longs periods without sex as I have endometriosis, so any penetration for me is always painful, this has caused my sex drive to drop massively to the point where I would probably be okay going without it completely and just masturbating occasionally for a quick “release”. We are very affectionate and I don’t need sex to feel close to her as we kiss and cuddle etc a lot so it isn’t a massive problem for me, although obviously I would like to be able to enjoy sex again how I used to. Luckily my partner doesn’t really have that high of a sex drive, so I don’t think she finds this much of a problem. We are averaging about 2/3 times a month at the moment, but it is mostly just me pleasing her as I’m in a lot of pain at the moment so don’t really want to be touched down there. There have been times where it’s been almost two months since we last did anything sexual together.

I think since your partner and you are not on the same page then going so long without sex will cause problems for you, I’m not sure what medical issues he has, but he should get help for his germophobia as it looks like even though he can’t really have penetrative sex anymore he’s not making efforts to please you in other ways due to his phobia? I think it’s really important that even if you have health problems which makes penentrative sex off the cards that you should find other ways to please your partner sexually if they still want to have sex. A marriage where one person feels constantly sexually unfulfilled and frustrated will never work. Me and my partner may not be able to have sex like we used to but I always make the effort to statisfy her if she is in the mood. 

Post # 3
4816 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

I don’t think this is a case where your partner doesn’t want to have sex with you, rather that he *physically can’t* because of the amount of pain he’s in. 

Could you bring these issues up with his doctor /surgeon? As much as you love him I wouldn’t sign up for a lifetime of his germphobia and refusal of kissing oral, etc.  When did his phobia of germs begin? When he became sick? Therapy should be discussed also. 

I wish you the best of luck, this is a difficult situation for sure.

Post # 4
413 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

Oh bee, I’m so sorry for the stress this is causing you. 

I understand your situation, as my last relationship became an almost sexless relationship. We were having sex at least several times per week for the first 10 months; then he started getting anxiety and panic attacks, which caused a slight dip, but it was still mostly several times per week. I urged him to see a doctor about his anxiety, and he was stubborn about it at first, but finally went. They prescribed him an anti-depressant, and that completely killed his libido and brought our sex life to a screeching halt. I know that it’s a very common side-effect of anti-depressants, so I wasn’t bothered by it at first. I figured we’d focus on getting him mentally stable first, then maybe he could switch medications to something that wasn’t as severe. 

Well, 3.5 years went by. He almost never felt like having sex; I would try to initiate and got turned down 99% of the time, which was very hurtful to me. Eventually, I would cry and make a fuss about it, so he’d try, but he usually had a hard time “finishing.” We were only doing anything sexual barely 1-2 times a month. He assured me that it wasn’t me, it was just the medication. I urged him to talk to his doctor about switching meds, and he never did. This was one of the nails in the coffin of our relationship; I didn’t mind that he was having these problems, but he didn’t do anything to solve the problems. He said our sex life was important to him, but if it was that important, how could you go 3.5 years without putting in any effort to change the status quo? Actions speak louder than words.

There were other issues that brought about the downfall of our relationship: he lied to me about a lot of things and broke my trust, he couldn’t hold down a job or handle responsibility, he got into some legal trouble and that caused me a lot of extra stress, he became addicted to prescription drugs. In our case, it wasn’t just about the sex, although that was one big factor. The issues started piling up, and they became too numerous for me to help with. It was heartbreaking to have to break up with him, because, like you, I did love him very much. We were best friends, we had the same taste in most things, we did everything together. 

Your case sounds slightly different, as there is a clear medical reason for your fiance’s decrease in libido, and it appears he is at least trying to improve his situation by having this surgery. The being “grossed out” thing is somewhat worrisome though; would it be possible for him to pursue therapy for this? I wouldn’t necessarily be concerned if he can’t handle penetrative sex, but if he’s grossed out by foreplay activities as well, that can really hurt intimacy, and it could be hurtful to you if it seems he is unwilling to satisfy your needs.

Are there other issues in your relationship, or is this the only thing that is less than perfect? It sounds like you are at least somewhat accepting of the situation, but I can understand your worries about eventually being bothered by this in the future. Especially given how long you have been together, I think you owe it to your fiance to see how this surgery affects him and if he is able to put effort into improving a bit. However, you may have a tough choice to make down the road if he can’t improve. It’s not my place to ultimately tell you what to do, but you will have to weigh which aspects of a relationship are of higher priority to you. Keeping my fingers crossed that things get better for you!

Post # 5
10671 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

anon43210 :  

Oh, Bee.  This is such a tough one.  Your fiancé has genuine medical issues that are affecting every aspect of his life.  Poor guy, he’s probably feeling like less of a man right now and in need of reassurance.

Could his germ phobia be a manifestation of his anxiety over his condition?

I’m going to strongly encourage you to seek counseling, Bee.  Healing from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse is not something you can get through easily alone.  Look for a therapist who specializes in abuse recovery.

As for your sex life, or lack there of, maybe you can ride it out and see how he is after this next surgery.  If things improve, great.  If they don’t, you have difficult decisions to make.

Post # 6
60 posts
Worker bee

I agree with a lot of what has been said. Just wanted to add something that may be of help to you. I have contamination OCD, had it since childhood, but it comes and goes in waves. Typically my worst waves occur when I feel out of control with other aspects of my life. Of course, I don’t realize this at the time, but through therapy I discovered this was frequently the trigger. Perhaps this is the case with your SO as well? I think talking to someone could be good for him. 

Also, it sounds like he is still sexually attracted to you and interested in sex, he just can’t get involved physically right now without being in pain. Is he expected to recover, or is it chronic? Either way, there is a lot of information and resources online for maintaining a sexual relationship through illnesses, disability, etc. I would look for suggestions on one of those forums. They may give you guys some ideas of how to keep that part of your relationship fun and exciting without causing him pain. 

Post # 8
1798 posts
Buzzing bee

Don’t marry him. You won’t be happy.How do I know, this sentence  do not entirely miss the sex at this point (my crazy sex drive seems to have finally gone down  —an attractive man will be interested in you in the future and he will give you the attention you need, he will make you feel desired and sexy again. Even if you don’t cheat, you will grow to resent your sexless relationship. Relationships change, this one has turned into best friends and that’s ok. But the difference between “friend” and “husband” is intimacy. He bought you toys, ok, but is he the one using them on you? I’m guessing not, because of the germ thing. He needs mental and physical therapy. 

Post # 9
91 posts
Worker bee

I am in the same boat but the circumstances are different. Me and my SO have been together for 2.5 years. But we currently have an 8 month old who is teething right now.  I don’t get much sleep.  But he has only been in hard core teething mode for the last week or so.  Right now it seems like I am always finding excuses on why I don’t feel like having sex.  For me personally my libdo seems to come and go. 

You need to decide what you feel is important in a relationship.  To me sex isn’t that important. I have been married before and now I am divorced.  I know what I must have in a relationship. I have a guy that treats me so amazing.  There isn’t a day that goes by that he doesn’t tell me how gorgeous I am.  He does all the little things.  He appreciates me.  To me those are the important things that I need in a relationship.  But we are all different and want different things.  You need to decide what you need to keep you happy in a relationship.  And if your guys doesn’t have those qualitites then I would really think hard about whether or not you should marry him.

Post # 10
1244 posts
Bumble bee

I am in a sexless relationship. It sucks. If you have/had a high sex drive, it will come back. And if his doesn’t… But again – your situation is due to his medical issues. It’s different than my situation. If his next surgery can repair things to the extent that he can have an active sex relationship with you again then you’re gold. After all – it sounds like you guys have a fantastic bond and are very happy otherwise. Maybe put the wedding off for awhile and see how things go. 

Post # 11
281 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2018

Prior to finding my fi, I thought sex was incredibly important in a relationship. We were the same way in the beginning of our relationship which was long distance for a year. When we moved in together it started to taper, and then it came to a screeching halt, because he was working through some stuff. In fact we committed a chunk of time to not having sex, so he could focus on what he needed to do for him. In order for us to get to that point, we had to have a real heart to heart about what was important to each of us, and we compromised. I don’t get upset when he turns me down anymore (even if we go a month or two without any), and I also have my go to toys that supplement when he just isn’t in the mood. I think you need to share your concerns with your fi. He needs to know what you are thinking and feeling, so that you can see all the options on the table and determine if you can find one that will work for you. 

Post # 12
449 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2019 - Canadian Rockies

My fiance and I are sort of in the same boat.. we did things more often in the beginning. I waited a few years with him before I decided to not be a virgin anymore.. but it has always hurt me physically. So frustrating. Doctors aren’t much help either.. they blame it on the pill. And it is the stupid pill that kills my drive entirely 🙁 Luckily he is ok with it, and we do stuff on occasion (once a month? Once every other month?) We’ve been together 7 years and engaged for 4 months.

Sorry to hear about your situation. Hopefully on down the road you can both figure out how to reach your goals 🙂

Post # 13
177 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2019

Same boat here, but I personally don’t mind. Sometimes, I feel bad because he might not be getting any. But like others bees said, we have a very loving and affectionate relationship. We’re each other’s best friend, and sex isn’t that important anymore. Ever since I started on the pill, my libido has gone way down. He also finally started taking medication and his libido has gone down too. He literally has to take a small dose of viagra if we do decide to have sex, which is fine, but then also becomes another hurdle. 

In addition, I had gotten several UTIs over the course of 4 months, which further gave negative feedback to sex and I didn’t feel like it for months.  Probably another factor is that I found out he watched porn in the past and we now have an understanding that he does not AT ALL.  I don’t feel like having sex if I think about that (I’ve never seen it before).

I know a lot of people will say that sex is extremely important in a relationship, but We don’t really think that. We’re happy the way we are. 

Post # 14
1 posts
  • Wedding: March 2018

I harp on this a little, but I think it’s important for younger men to know: eventually EVERY marriage becomes a sexless marriage and it usually occurs around the age of 50.

It has more to do with menopause than anything else. When a women’s hormones stop, two things happen – a near total loss of libido and what’s called atrophic vaginitis, usually referred to as dryness. But it’s really a lot more than that. Without hormones like estrogen, the vaginal tissue loses elasticity and thickness and sex becomes painful for women. As a result most of them simply give up sex. But they’re usually perfectly happy with it since having no libido there’s nothing to miss.

If you bring this up to women, they’ll attack you like nothing you ever imagined. It’s understandable for younger women since the knowledge is mostly kept from them as well, but even a 60 year old woman who hasn’t had – or wanted to have – sex in a decade will vehemently tell you you are wrong. But if you know an older man personally enough to ask him , he’ll tell you. Most women after menopause are basically done with sex.

That’s why a younger man’s fantasies are so often for older women while older men fantasize about younger ones. It’s because the older men know the truth. It’s also why half of all Viagra prescriptions are never refilled.

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