Friday, April 17, 2009

The Sexless Marriage

Today we have our first guest poster!  Missty from Life is Good.  Please click her blog link and offer up some comment love!   Missty just celebrated her 26th Wedding Anniversary and has four nearly grown boys, two of which recently left the nest.  She loves to cook and garden (check out her flowers, beautiful!) Funny, smart and a wonderful blogger we're very glad to have her offer up the post below.  Enjoy!

Sexless Marriage.


Wow, what do you think when you hear those words?  Kind of a taboo subject?  I think how very sad.  And yet so many marriages are in this very state.  Some because that’s what they both prefer… though I can’t imagine there is a guy out there that doesn’t want sex.   Some because it slowly ended up that way, and  last some couples just can’t stand each other and are just co- habitating till the kids are raised, and then both will go their separate ways. Many couples live even in separate bedrooms.


I was having lunch with a friend last week, and she has not had sex with her husband for over 6 years!  They have been married about 20 years.  She was telling me how she doesn’t think they will ever have sex with each other again.  Its to awkward, she said.  How would we just “start” to have sex again?  She asked.  She mentioned that it was a slow process, but look where they are now.  She didn’t really plan it this way, but this is where she is at.  No sex one night, turned into one week, turned into one month, turned in to one year, and there you are. 


Wow, is all I could think of for the rest of the day.  How do you get to that point? 


I started to think back about 17 years ago to my own life.  Married, to a wonderful guy – who worked very long hours at 2 jobs, for very little money.  I was mommy to our four small boys’ ages newborn to 8 years old or so.  Tired and  exhausted.  Lots to do, no money, bills stacking up, a husband who was young, and tired as well.  I could see us, having less and less sex.  Who wanted it?  Not me!!  If I was hitting that mattress – it was to sleep!  My husband – wanted it, he needed it. He was under tons of stress at work, and at home.  We weren’t sexless, we were just not having it as much as we probably both wanted or needed.


Then I had an “Ah-Ha” moment. My baby was just about a year old. When I was watching a talk show that was talking about sexless marriages. Wow – who knew?  I seriously had never thought about married people NOT having sex for extended periods of time.  Seriously!  LOL   I just thought it was something you did.  It was something I enjoyed a few years back, before I became this overly exhausted mommy.  But, I always knew it would get better, right?  It’s just temporary… I think that’s what my friend thought as well. 


After that show I decided I needed to make “US” First.  The kids would now be put to bed at 8:00 pm.  They could read, or they could sleep or talk quiet to each other.   But my man and I needed each other.  We needed a new spark.  We would “date” even if it was within our own home.  I would flirt like I use to do and put that cute skirt on that he loved.   We needed our sex  life to get like it once was – Or better. 


I thought to myself I don’t want to end up  like those couples on that TV show. 


And now here I am with a guy who rocks my world, better than ever.  It has never been an issue since.  I made US important, and in return he made us important.


Having lunch with my friend, I wish I could have told her some incredible advice to get that spark back.  To get the intimacy back in her relationship. The passion..  But I fell short. I pretty much said nothing.  She says they both love each other.  But, she just doesn’t know how to go about connecting again.  And what do you say to someone who hasn’t had sex for over 6 years?


So what do you suggest?  Are you in a sexless marriage?  What do you wish you could do about it?



K said...

This is a really good topic for discussion. I think your point of how you made the "us" come first is the key to keeping the marriage thriving with connectivity on many levels. I have just a few weeks left of my pregnancy, and for the last month or so my hubby and I haven't been able to have sex b/c this pregnancy has created a lot of pain in my bones, and while we've been able to be intimate in other ways, we're both aware of how the sexless part affects us. We can't wait for our baby to arrive for many reasons!

In addition to sexless marriages though, I've also talked with a lot of women who over the years find themselves what they call frumpy. After my daughter was born I was frumpy for a couple of months. I didn't feel like sparkling. I'm not talking about wearing makeup or cute clothes, but being interested and interesting. Some of the women I spoke with weren't in sexless marriages, but they were in passionless marriages. When I started being more interested and interesting again (by talking with my hubby about our lives beyond just the topic of our daughter and doing things with him again that involved adventure and learning), then I feel a return of more passion and a sense of growth in our relationship.

I'm not sure if what I've said applies to others. We've only been married for five years and have gone through two pregnancies, which is different than a couple who has been married for 30 years with grandchildren, but this is the perspective I can give right now :)

Unknown said...

I think there a lot of people who may be in a similar position as your friend. I known plenty of people who've stayed together for the kids, each living separate lives simply not to disrupt the family. I think that only hurts rather than helps.
There are lots of times were making my spouse come first is hard. With young kids and the daily grind things simply get lost.
That's why this little blog rocks (if I do say so myself!) It serves up a reminder to look more closely at our own relationships and strive to make positive changes.

natasha the exile on Mom Street said...

My husband and I aren't intimate *nearly* as often as I would like.

I'm not sure what he would like as we haven't been able to sit down and have a real conversation about our lack of time for each other.

He's on yet another business trip today,and I just find myself at a loss as to how to make it better when he isn't even around much.

When he is at home, his priority for his time is our almost 3 yr old son, who misses his Daddy so very much.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but I do know that at least now I can be glad it hasn't been 6 YEARS!

Susan said...

I love Missty. This is an amazing post, and sexless marriages are a serious epidemic in our society.

I don't even know where to start in my comment. My husband and I come from previously failed marriages, and sex was not a priority in either. For me personally, it absolutely couldn't be, since there were too many other issues ["elephants"] that blocked the course to intamcy in the last few years. Counseling was my own self savior, even though my husband had other priorities.

I think that's why my current husband and I have what we have now - open communication and the absolute priority that WE come FIRST. Don't get me wrong, our kids are priceless to the both of us, yet if we don't feed our own relationship, we won't be able to role model and be the best parents we can.

And speaking of role-modeling, raising two daughters who only see their dad every other weekend and is someone who bleeds certain characteristics I pray they aren't attracted to later in life when seeking out male companionship, it is my DUTY to exhibit what a true, loving, passionate marriage should look like. THAT, is the best gift I can give my girls.

IF I save them from the mistakes I made, being attracted to men who exhibit personalities I was "familiar" with growing up but also "resented" and were unhealthy, then I will have saved them years of unhappiness.

Whew, that pulled some deep passion from within. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Yes, sex is great, but being in a sexless marriage isn't the same thing as being in a loveless marriage or one with no intimacy. It's not always a case of a couple drifting apart. Often, there are medical reasons. Passion and true intimacy don't necessarily end with sex.

I would rather be in a loving relationship with someone who is truly my best friend and love of my life and have no sex than be in an empty marriage where the couple only has sex because they thought "it was something you did."

I wish your friend well. I hope she takes the first step and reaches out to her husband. I hope she doesn't get discouraged if he doesn't take the hint immediately. I hope she learns how much fun it is to date and flirt with her spouse. She needs to scoot over to his side of the bed, : ) even if at first it's just to give him a good night kiss and a squeeze of the hand. If she's one to sleep on her side facing away from her husband, she needs to delay rolling over as soon as she gets in bed and try talking for a few minutes instead. More than anything, she just needs to talk with her husband - no accusations, no whining or blaming, just sharing how they each feel and what they want out of their marriage.

Missty said...

Kimberly - Love your thoughts! I know what you mean by "frumpy" I am sure many of us have been there.

Blogging mama - It is HARD with kids and every day life. I think what helps is just keeping your spouse in the fore front of your mind a bit. Even if it is a quick text to say your thinking about him. kwim?

Natasha - You will read great advice here, These people rock! Maybe while your husband is away, when he calls you can just mention when he gets home you want to carve out a few hours for just the two of you? And then you can talk?Let us know how it goes.

Susan, I think it is AWESOME you realize how important it is to let the girls and even the boys see what a great relationship is. I think it is SO important.

So many people do the "not in front of the kids" stuff. Huh? They should see mommy kissing daddy or holding hands.

Anonymous - WOW great stuff!! You are so right on about a loveless marriage or a sexless marriage. You can have a WONDERFUL marriage without the sex. If it is a loving one. Right on.

And I hope the subject with my friend gets brought up again, I will have more to say to her.

Cajoh said...

So often you find that the amount of sex dwindles over time. Then you have to take into account that you are no longer that young chicken you once were and you may not be able to perform the same way you used to. Being a man, I may tend to get overly self-conscious which results in lack of aggressiveness and I shy away. I have to be more literal and verbally request to have sex or else she might not get the hint.

MakingChanges said...

CaJoh, Interesting thoughts! I think sometime I try the hinting with Hubby and he doesn't get it and then I just roll over and go to sleep. Hubby and I have talked a little bit about this and have finally decided that we both need to be more open about our needs/wants with each other. If I am going to hint I need to make it an unmistakable hint that he will totally get right away. If he is in need then he has to say so, or get up, shut the door and lock it (that is definitely and unmistakable hint!).

I don't think that either of us could do without sex. It is our way of joining together and loving each other in a way that we don't share with anyone else. I agree with Susan, we have to come first. If there was no "us" then there would be no kids. I have a responsibility to teach my kids what a truly passionate, loving relationship is supposed to be. And if that means kissing Hubby in front of my kids, grabbing his butt when he passes me or holding hands when we walk, that is exactly what I am going to do. Of course the kids also see us sitting down and talking, which is another important aspect of a good marriage.

I'll get off my soapbox now. Thanks for reading/listening.

Unknown said...

CaJoh - I have to say I'm always telling hubby if he wants something he's going to have to ask for it. Literally sometimes. I always have ten million things on my mind at night when we go to bed so subtle hints tend to slip by me. If he rolls to me and says HEY, that clears up the problem. :)

Youngblood -There's nothing wrong with expressing exactly what you need!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

OH so much to talk about...I'm going to have to do it in sections!!! So for this first post

KIM...BEEN there and DONE that and bought the t-shrit! That is EXACTLY how I am when downer on our sex life.

And I agree with Mr. Anonymous if I had to choose I could give up the sex part...

But honestly...there is something ABOUT that intimacy that allows me to connect deeper with my HUSBAND...

We have discussed and to be helps HIM...he NEEDS sex, not lying...I'm sure he wouldn't die without it. But he is honestly more relaxed more confident and just an all around better HIM when we are consistent with being intimate.

And I'm sorry...but for ME and MY marriage...the PASSION is the ONE thing that is a MUST for ME... I need the passion with the sex...

It's a lot more fun that way.

But Passion doesn't always equal sex...passion for anything can spice up ones relationship.

I would tell your friend to do what the others have said...and add to grab onto something YOU and HIM can be passionate about together...that always FOR ME AND MY HUSBAND helps in the bedroom. MY husband LOVES to mountain first I never went with him...but as soon as I tried is something we like to do together and the one thing that we always turn to, to get RECONNECTED.

I could go on and on...but I have to jet away for a bit..

I'll be back!

Anjeny said...

Missty...this really is a great topic. Thank you for bringing it up and for your insight. Everyone has such great points and Mr. Anon, I love your comment. I have a friend and actually a couple of my brothers-in-laws are in this kind of marriage. The sad part about their situation is that not only is there no sex but there is no love whatsoever in their marriage...they are in it now just for the kids' sake.

My hubby really likes sex, and that is an And I am as fertile as a rabbit, as you can see on my blog from the number of kids we I often held back from his request because I was always worrying about getting pregnant again or I was too tired but you know the funny thing is I actually enjoy the sex more when I was Anyways, now that we've decided that we have the number we wanted as far as children goes, I am enjoying it more, I even initiate it sometimes.

So back to your friend...I do like Mr. Anon's suggestion. There's dvd that maybe you could rent or have your friend rent and watch, it's got a very good plot and guideline in there. Maybe your friend can try out the suggestions in that movie. The movie is called "Fireproof", the main character is Kirk Cameron. Have her check it out or you check it out and see if what they have on there could be something your friend can try out.

And like Blogging Mama, I think this blog ROCKS too. I love reading the different take on real relationships.

Anjeny said...

I forgot to add that what Susan wrote is something important to think about. The kids do need to see their parents show that show of affection. My kids, like most kids, are always saying "ewww, get a room you two" and my hubby gets a kick out of grossing them out for fun by kissing me passionately infront of them. But you know, even though they're saying that, I can see that they are really happy to see their dad showing affection for their mom...they actually prefer that over the shoutings we throw at each other.

Rachel Sue said...

I totally agree with Kimberly. I think a passionless marriage is just as detrimental as a sexless one.

A couple can be having sex, just going through the physical motions of it and it still won't bring them any closer together without the passion.

Here's my question:
How do you get the passion back?

dadshouse said...

I'm divorced, and whenever I'm in a dating relationship, there is TONS of sex. Mainly because during the in-between relationship times, there's practically no sex at all. (I say practically none, because I do occasionally hook up, or I'd go crazy!) How a marriage can be sexless is beyond me. But that's me - I need that sensual touch and sexual release and physical and emotional intimacy that only comes through sex.

Mr. Anonymous said...

Just for the record, the person who posted the anonymous comment was not from me. I wish it was, it was a good comment. But, my conscious(sp) will not allow me to take the credit.

I'm just saying

Mr. Anonymous

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

We have ANOTHER anonymous? Is it a MR. or a MRS or a MISS??? I'm curious...Anonymous...will you tell us which anonymous you are? Mr. Mrs. or MISS???!!!

Just saying...

Guilt is an ugly think glad you came out of the closet Mr. Anonymous! lol!

DGB said...

We're on "pause" right now. I mean, we have an infant and there's nursing to be done. Hormones getting in the way. I think about this sort of thing every once in a while...about how easy it could be to get into a sexless marriage. But frankly, I don't want that. Neither does she. But we both know that we've got to get past this stage first.

Missty said...

CaJoh - Hmm, I don't know. I think sex in my mid 40's is much better than in my 20's. Seriously. I was married young, we had 4 kids right away. Now - we have a ton of time... for whatever! lol I may not be a spring chicken anymore, but this chick can spring with the best of them. lol

Shelle - My husband is the same - he needs it. And actually I am the same, I need it. It just makes for a more happier person.

Anjeny - LOL Same with me - I am fertile! I use to kid that all he had to do was look at me and I was pregnat! Didn't even have to do the fun stuff! lol

Rachel - Great question. That is seriously the question, isn't it. We all need passion. Not just sex. I guess that is what my friend would need first? Maybe start small, like the bike riding someone said, rubbing a back, asking to take a bubble bath together.

Dads house - I thik you speak for most men. It really is a need.

Daddy Geek boy - This to shall pass! lol Just keep the passion doing things like others have mentioned.

valerie said...

Missty- I think you are right! The sex now is waaay better than say 10 years ago. Then we had little kids and after being up with a baby and toddler half the night-YEAH RIGHT! Aint gonna happen bud! Now that the kiddos are older....let's just say it's been fantastically interesting!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I was having such a hard time turning 30...but now that you guys say IT is even BETTER at 40...

Maybe I'm over turning 30 now...bring it on right?

DGB said...

Eh...30's nothing. The 30's have been awesome so far.

wendy said...

My very best friend is that way - she could care less if she ever had sex again and doesn't care for it much at all HOW SAD. However, she always accuses me of thinking "between my legs" can you imagine ?? I --Like--Sex. I have a 4 day rule. Put out baby if 4 days go by. I am married to a man 15 years my junior and I think sex at my age IS THE BEST EVER.
HOWEVER, this does not mean to undervalue others feelings and respect those feelings, I am not doing that ---I just think --well, that would be sad. no sex

Missty said...

Youngblood - I think its great you both say what your needs are. Maybe that is a good hint for all - the door is locked it means I need you. lol

Valerie - your right - as the kids get older, things get better.

And Shelle - The 30's were great the 40's are awesome. Who knew?!

Dady geek boy - and it gets better!

Wendy, For me personally, I think it would be a sad day, that I didn't like sex. But if it works for your friend, then great for her. And I love your four day rule.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said... have your VERY own Ashton Kutcher???? How fun is that?

Daddy Geek Boy...30 just seemed like SOMETHIN when I went from the 20's to the 30's in one day...ya know? It's like aging 10 years.

BUt I can honestly say...It hasn't been so bad...I can venture and say I enjoy it!

And I am now taking a moment of silence for those in sexless marriages...

The Blonde Duck said...

This is fascinating! Great subject!

TisforTonya said...

I get busy for ONE day and I miss THIS? way to take the reins back and not let your one day turn into 6 years... whoa, can't even imagine it!

maybe she just needs to read twilight? ;)

Okay, that was flippant, I can't imagine 6 weeks let alone 6 years... but I think that something has got to be done before it becomes 7 years!

Aubrey said...

I LOVE that when I come here, there are great topics like this! REAL topics.

I should be thankful that my husband of 16 years still has his hands all over me. We are always making our kids cringe by kissing in the kitchen while I am making dinner or if he's slapping my ass as I walk by. LOL

But sometimes, a sexless marriage can be the result of something medical.

Unfortunately, with medication I am on, my sex drive has dwindled to almost nil. I am so in love with this man and would hate for our marriage to turn in to a sexless one. Therefore, there are those times that I *gasp* pretend to be in the mood, for US. Then there are the times that I really AM and it is fantastic.

It may not always be physical intimacy but the emotional is always there.