A Marriage Without Sex

by Belle Motts
Originally Published: 
A woman longing after her husband who doesn’t want to have sex with her, holding onto his arm as he'...

It’s shaming.

Sexually, he wants nothing to do with you. And he’s your husband. You’re pretty, clever, smart and generous—the total package. People love you; you have friends everywhere.

It doesn’t matter. He’s not interested.

It’s all over the culture that it’s the men who can’t get enough. Their virility is so much a part of their identity that they’ll take whatever pill they need to keep ol’ Dick at full mast. It’s the dried up females who whose libidos have crashed through the floor. The women who actually want it, but instead endure married celibacy? They’re hiding away in horny shame.

Most of your friends confess to shoving their hyper-amorous husbands away. “He wants it all the time,” they sigh with resignation. “I love him of course, but sometimes, I just wish he’d leave me the hell alone.” Some dole out obligatory BJs to keep their man satiated, but away from their lady bits.

You hear these tales of woe and smile uncomfortably, desperate to change the subject. You nod and pretend to know exactly what they’re talking about.

To admit the truth hurts too much.

It’s been weeks, months, maybe a year.

When you were younger sex was about validation. “Hooking up” with someone was an outlet for a selfish need, for sure, but it also meant that someone found you attractive, or even irresistible, for however short a time. Then you found The One and it was so much more than that. It was a connection, a refuge. It was deep and beautiful and it meant something huge.

But then life happened. Jobs and money and kids and a life so squeezed that you both sometimes retreated for hours into the cave of your minds, losing each other. You made sure there was food, electricity and the fastest Internet known to man, but even though you slept in the same bed you might as well have lived across the world. The oasis became harder to find, until the oasis became the problem itself. You never thought you’d be rejected and humiliated by your own husband. You never thought you’d have a sexless marriage.

You don’t know what to do. You’ve consented to—committed to—therapy, both of you, but, come on, what can you really expect when a person just doesn’t want to have sex with you? Wouldn’t they just do it, if they wanted to? You can’t make someone love you, if they don’t. Bonnie Raitt wasn’t making that shit up.

You feel horrible about yourself. You’re lonely, you think about leaving, but you can’t. Is sex really everything? After all, you get along in other ways—he’s a good partner and provider.

And parent.

My God, the kids! You’re staying for them—everything is for them—but if it weren’t for them, would your relationship even be at this low point the first place? Don’t you deserve to leave and find happiness? But wait, is being a single parent really better than being in a sexless marriage? Trading one hardship for another doesn’t seem like a great outcome.

You were supposed to be a shining example of a strong, fearless, independent woman. In a world that still treats women like brainless baby makers, your duty to your daughter was to be the epitome of a badass. You were supposed be the model of a woman who went after what she wanted, hauled it home, and took no prisoners. Now you’ve settled for a marriage that would make you cry heaving sobs if, years later, it was your little girl’s situation. You know exactly what you’d want for her.

But this is real life, not the movies.

So, you lick your wounds. You put on the brave face you present to the world. Maybe you curse a little more, or are more cynical about everything. Maybe you cry more in private, or insulate yourself with people who resonate with you. Maybe you self-medicate more. Extra shopping trips, and buckets of popcorn gulped down with large pours of wine.

Whatever props you up until the answer comes.

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