What You Can Do to Improve Your Sexless Marriage


Spoiler: Porn doesn't help, like, at all

by Anonymous

two women sitting by the sea

When I married my husband, we were five years in. I was only twenty-three, but our sex life was pretty absent. We had sex once a month, maybe, and it was all, always, on my terms. If he made a move, or even tried to be intimate, I froze. I didn’t think too much about it. He wasn’t the guy to push things, and I sort of just assumed it was normal. Men always wanted to do It and women were just less sexual, right?

When I met my now-wife, we ran hot, like any new couple. I discovered a sexual appetite I’d either never had, or long forgotten in my previous marriage. I wanted sex?! Holy shit! She was surprising too—voracious and entirely unselfconscious about asking for what she wanted.

Then, some time just before we got engaged, something shifted. I’m not sure exactly what. It was probably a number of things. But somewhere in there, she started turning me down and not instigating sex. You know how that made me feel? Rejected, unworthy, unattractive—and that came out as self-pitying anger. No amount of assurance I was sexy or beautiful made up for it. Although I knew it wasn’t rational, I had an expectation that I would be wanted whenever I wanted it. I’d grown up with all the say, and now I had none. I became, periodically, a passive-aggressive, pressurizing grade-A jerk. You know how that made her feel? Guilty, awful, inadequate—and not at all like getting her undies off.

The Merry-Go-Round Of No Sex

That was the start of a toxic not-so-merry-go-round. She was desperate not to trigger the jerk in me, so every kiss, every hug was guarded. No more incidental passionate goodbye kisses, no early morning slippery showers. No more anything that might “lead me on.”

Each of those thin-lipped kisses felt like a rejection. Every time she rolled out of my arms with a worried smile made me more desperate for her—for any scrap of the intimacy I’d come to crave.

Was this the fabled lesbian bed death I’d heard so much about? Was this just what a relationship with two women was like? She was just ahead of the curve, and I’d catch up shortly, start wanting less. We’d slip comfortably down into loving companionship and forget we were ever once sexual creatures. I was lonely. When we did have sex it was like coming up for air. I sometimes wept with the joy of feeling connected again. For her it was just as bad; she felt deficient, at fault, her libido was gone, that she was the one who needed fixing.

Academically we knew that marriage and sex are (at least) two-person activities, we just didn’t really know what to do with that information. We would talk and cry and talk and cry and cuddle and cry and talk. All good stuff, but I didn’t see a way out. We talked about counseling, but a lack of money and shame (probably the real culprit) held us back.

Then it started occurring to me: I’d been here before, only I’d been her. I’d been the one guarding the kisses in case I started something I didn’t want to finish. I’d been the one rolling out of arms and stonewalling with books and iPhones. It gave me new empathy for my ex who’d occupied the position with far more grace and patience than I’d been showing.

Without any reassuring gender norms to fall back on, things were clearer. This wasn’t normal. This wasn’t just men being men, and women being women. We were two people (are, dammit) in our prime, who loved each other, and only a few years earlier would nip into stairwells because we couldn’t wait to get home. Where were those women? We started to unpack what was going on and set strategies to fix things.

How we fixed our sexless marriage

Guess what is super not helpful? The Internet. There’s lots on there about mismatched libidos, and studies correlating sex with marital longevity and satisfaction (which is always reassuring, thanks). But beyond “go to counseling” there’s nothing on practical stuff. Very few people talk about the details of their lagging marital sex life, and I guess I don’t blame them. So here. Think of this as a “How we did it” for how we got the slap and tickle back into our bed.

1. Try hard to not be a jerk. This was a really important step for me to have taken, obviously.

2. Have long, set periods where sex is off the table. French kissing? Yes. Dry humping? Sure. Nipple tweaks? Bring it. Orgasms? Nope. This takes the pressure off. This gave my partner the chance to remember what it was like to feel sexy, without the worry of leading me on. We could have those intimate moments back and I wouldn’t ever feel rejected.

3. Introduce more mystery. No more wash-your-bum, scrub-your-feet showering together. No more sleeping nude (because then it’s not a treat, you know?). No more more-than-naked, intimate-but-not-hot activities.

4. Get healthy. A balanced diet, more sleep, more exercise all helped, both with our emotions and with her libido. I’m still slightly skeptical, but really expensive multivitamins and fish oil supplements seemed to make a dramatic difference.

5. Stop worrying. We were able to relax when we were no longer worrying about how much we should be having sex, and what that means for our relationship.

6. Find your personal escape. This is really a point about de-stressing. For my wife, putting down the business books and picking up some escapism helped heaps.

Things that didn’t work

1. Accompanied self-love. If, after a make-out session, I was rearing to go and she wasn’t, we could take our own pleasure, as it were. This was an okay-ish stopgap solution, but it made her feel awful, and ultimately served as a reminder of how she (perceived that she) was failing.

2. Eliminating sexy times completely. This came after a big horrible, tense period where things started to unravel. We decided to put a pin in it: sex was the problem, so would ban it altogether. It worked. No more tense fights, no more crying, but also, no more marriage. We were really close, harmonious flatmates. It maybe worked as a sort of circuit breaker, but overall, it sucked.

3. Porn and dirty books. Ever tried watching porn when you’re not in the mood? It feels sad.

It’s been a couple of years and things have changed a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Sex is fun again, we laugh and talk—things we stopped doing in case it broke the sexy spell. She feels safe to turn me down, and I feel safe to instigate sex without risking rejection. The incidental, erotic, intimate non-sex moments are back. And as it turns out, it was those moments that I’d needed—that we both needed—the most.

And plus? We’re having heaps more sex… which, I see now, is kind of beside the point.

Have you experienced a sexless marriage? (This fact sheet makes it clear that a sexless marriage sometimes involves minimal sex, not NO sex at all.) Studies show that nearly 20 percent of marriages for people under the age of forty involve minimal sex, so if you’ve struggled with this, you’re not alone. What have you done to improve—or simply live with—the situation?

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  • Anonnnn

    so every kiss, every hug was guarded. No more incidental passionate goodbye kisses, no early morning slippery showers. No more anything that might “lead me on.”

    Oof, this is us. Both of us are guarded. Me because I don’t want to “lead him on” and him because he doesn’t want me to feel pressured or to be rejected again. I want us to have more sex, but I miss the other physical intimacy more. I’m finally realizing/accepting that our issue stems from other difficulties in our marriage, difficulties that have marred our emotional intimacy. If I’m not feeling the emotional closeness, I can’t get there physically either. I don’t believe these are hurdles we can’t cross, but it sucks in the meantime. Thank you for sharing your story and your advice.

    • Anonatm

      hit me right in the gut. oof.

      We have been working on this, I’d say recently but really on going for the last few years. As usual, our sex life was great at the start and petered off over time.
      One thing that we recently decided that has been good so far, is working out a non-verbal signal that means “this next action is not me initiating sex and please don’t take it that way”. We have a few of these signals for various things, but this one is great for him to do so that I don’t automatically pull away and good for me so that I feel more free to give those passionate kisses without the loaded assumptions.
      This dance we both seem to know so well can be exhausting sometimes!

      • Violet

        Love non-verbal signals for things. My partner and I also use shorthand verbal signals in our life together for all kinds of topics. It’s a way of communicating without having the same conversation over and over about something you’ve already reached a decision on and just need to keep tending to.

  • Alexandra

    Cliff and Joyce Penner’s work helped me enormously on this subject. Their books categorize several reasons for sexual problems and give practical solutions. One big help was realizing that this is a common issue for couples. A big hurdle in dealing with it is the shame involved, and once I understood that sexual dysfunction happens to a lot of people, that made it easier for me to face it and work through it.

    I would say the biggest takeaway from my studying and work through this issue in my life is the need for safe, consistent physical intimacy with no expectations of things going “all the way”. Kissing sessions that may or may not lead to intercourse with my husband on a daily basis have been a huge help. Also for each of us to not take it personally when the other is feeling differently about sex at that moment. It took a lot of growth for sex to not be a hugely emotionally loaded subject. It’s tempting to get resentful, hurt, shamed, embarrassed, and frankly, enraged when your partner is in a different headspace about sex, but unfortunately all those feelings make the problems worse.

    The cycle of sexual dysfunction doesn’t just go away on its own. Without intervention, it spirals downward. But it IS solvable.

  • Gray

    I appreciated this article, thank you. I have more issues around sex than I could reasonably get into on a internet comment section, but the summary is that my fiance and I have struggled to figure out our sex life. It’s hard to find resources about it that aren’t basically: “Break up, you’re not compatible.” (I get that sometimes that really is the solution, but for us it is not, and it’s comforting to hear someone present a different option).

    • Ashlah

      Right? It’s okay for someone to decide sexual incompatibility is a dealbreaker, but it seems unfortunate that that’s the standard advice doled out to anyone struggling sexually in a relationship. It’s particularly unhelpful when problems develop over the course of an otherwise good relationship, but really it’s unfortunate that it’s the default advice for anyone.

      • Eenie

        It’s the easy advice to give.

    • Alexandra

      American culture prioritizes sex in a relationship above all other factors. We see sexuality as something that should hot and passionate at all times, otherwise there is something wrong with the relationship. This attitude is not helpful! High expectations for a consistently mind-blowing sex life can be enormously stressful and lead to a lot of shame.

      The reality is that sexuality is highly emotionally fraught and very complex. Otherwise healthy, happy relationships can struggle in this area and it DOES NOT mean that the relationship is doomed or subpar. ALL relationships struggle in some areas. And most long term relationships struggle with sex at some point, because sexual desire is highly cyclical and dependent on many factors.

      Sex is very important, and it SHOULD be a priority, but expectations need to be reasonable and healthy. For example, my husband and I are coming off a period of kind of blah sex, because I’ve been in my first trimester and I’m just. not. feeling. it. We prioritize consistent physical intimacy, but things are just not firing on all cylinders, and that’s ok. It happens. This was the case after our first child was born, too.

    • Anon

      Anon and being totally honest here. I am one of those people who thinks that most of the time, sexual incompatibility is usually not resolvable. You never know why people default to that, but I betcha personal experience is a big part of it.

      My ex-husband and I divorced in great part to a sexless marriage. He was impotent due to years of heavy smoking (Google it) and I felt like I was dying inside. But beyond the physical part, I genuinely think he wasn’t that attracted in the first place, which he sort of admitted after the divorce. It was so confusing to me because I’d never been without male interest!

      To this day, I have a very hard time with narratives describing one partner constantly holding back, yet somehow expecting the other person to refrain from seeking sex anywhere else. I think it’s a purely selfish attitude, or clueless at best. I’m afraid that if I experience sexual rejection in a future relationship, I will probably bail from it because I believe it won’t get better. I just don’t have it in me to chase some reluctant soul into bed.

    • Lisa

      I recently read Susan Pease Gadoua’s The New I Do and, while it wasn’t a page-turner, was helpful in calling attention to the fact that there are so many types of marriages and reasons for marrying out there. Some people marry for companionship, child-rearing, financial security, (and of course love) etc and none of those things needs to involve sex. We mythologize a particular type of marriage, and those internalized societal expectations/pressures can cause all kinds of problems, while the actual marriage is functioning just fine if assessed on its own terms.

    • RageFace

      Yes! :'( “Break up, you’re not compatible” is giving me SO MUCH anxiety :(

  • Sarah McClelland

    Reasons I love APW even after almost 2 years of marriage include articles like this.
    I think it’s tough to remember sometimes that all of the things about our bodies/minds/hearts are tied together. I’ll be tending to them all a little better for having read this article, and will be less ashamed to talk it out.
    Good reminder.

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  • Jamie

    I highly recommend Emily Nagoski’s book “come as you are”. Even if you don’t have problems with your sex life, it’s such a great book I think everyone should read it!

    • Meg

      I read this book a few months ago and it was really good. I need to make my husband read it D:

    • Leah

      Agreed! Even in a great sex life having some new vocabulary and science to talk about can be a big help, and she has so many great stories of how people were able to get to happier sex lives. So good!

    • Rhiannon D

      Ha, just liked someone else to an article on her website. I really want to read that book!

    • Anon 2

      Haha and I just commented on Rhiannon’s comment above about it! SO good. I would like to get my boyfriend to read it as well.

  • Megan

    Can someone clarify what “minimal sex” is? Once a month? Once a quarter? Once a week?

    • Eenie

      One of the linked articles defines it as 10 times a year or less.

    • Meg Keene

      From the research I did editing this, that really depends on the couple (and probably the circumstances). IE, in the first year after having a baby once a month might be a victory. In the first year after getting married, that might feel like minimal sex (again, depending on the couple). But if you’re couple that does it every day, one a week might feel minimal. For say, a couple with two small kids…. once a week might feel maximal!

      Also, some articles brought up that constant awful sex can be a problem as well.

    • I’m just going to leave this here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7nPkpdFAic

  • ItsyBit

    Thank you SO MUCH for this. The part about guarded kisses to avoid “leading on” hit me right in the gut. That’s me. I feel all the feelings you’ve mentioned and…. argh. The worst. Anyway, it’s nice to remember that I/we are not alone in this.

  • jubeee

    This is choking me up a bit. Pregnancy has been really tough on my libido up until the past few weeks. At one point he confronted me about it and made it about him. That he felt like I wasn’t attracted to him, despite the fact that I am still very affectionate with him. I had to explain that I didn’t feel even remotely sexual, it wasn’t something I could even think about. Despite that I tried my hardest to do things that would put me in the mood so sex could happen more often. I didn’t even consider it that bad, we still were having sex 1-2 times a week. Now in my 3rd trimester I am totally turned on but totally physically uncomfortable and now sex is beginning to become a bit painful thanks to a very low baby. It just feels so fraught and I wish it were easier. I know its not going to get better for awhile.

    • …so you were having sex, while pregnant, 1-2 times per week, and he said that it felt like you weren’t attracted to him? …I would get me [and my husband] to a relationship counselor pretty quickly. This sounds an awful lot like a communication/expectations issue…

      • jubeee

        I don’t necessarily think we need to see a counselor because we were able to really talk about it together. We were both hurt at the time but we also walked away with a better understanding of what the other was feeling. It still upsets me though because I fear for the times when its not a biological reason our sex life starts to slow down.

        • Relationship counseling is not going to hurt the situation. It is not a punishment! It really is going to be okay :)

    • Anon

      If you were still having sex once or twice a week when your libido was low from pregnancy, you were doing great!!!

      At least pregnancy is a passing thing. It’s the waning sex lives where pregnancy isn’t involved that are so painful.

      • True, but parenting isn’t a passing thing and I think that they’re going to need to find a new groove after baby comes.

    • Meg Keene

      GIRL. NO. (No to him, big old yes to you). Also, he’s about to need to deal, because you can’t even HAVE sex for 6 weeks after the baby (not to mention right before giving birth), and sometimes it lasts longer, or is painful for longer than 6 weeks. I just feel like for little while it’s ok for you life to not be about being attracted to him, and that’s fine. You’re growing a HUMAN PERSON. It’s super ok for that to be your only job right now. Big love, and it does get better. And nope to him ;)

      • MDBethann

        I’m there with Meg. Sex was painful for awhile after I had our daughter, and I had some other health issues (vertigo) too, that wore me out and killed my libido. Things are much better now, but it took awhile (i.e. months, not weeks) to find a new normal for us after having our baby. Listen to Meg!

    • savannnah

      I really want to recommend that you listen to the sex episodes of the longest shortest time podcast-maybe you’ve listen to them already but they talk a lot about the first YEAR post baby and how new parents need to understand that it can take up to a year to get back to some semblance of a new normal with regard to sex life.

    • Ebloom

      It’s your body, and you are doing the incredibly amazing thing of incubating life inside of it. Even if you weren’t pregnant, still your body. You get to choose when you have sex, if you have sex, and what the sex will be like. It sounds like you know that the idea that your husband made this about him is absurd. The truth is, there are going to be times when sex slows down, because you’re doing other things, and you both were not made to be sexy all the time. As long as there is communication, mutual empathy, and self-love this is not a bad thing. Wishing you so much luck while you deal with this.

    • Dudes, sex doesn’t necessarily equal PIV, yes, even if for heterosexual couples. If PIV is uncomfortable due to late pregnancy (or for any other reason), then do other things during sexy time…it still counts as sex and your partner needs to get on board with that.

      • jubeee

        I realize that. I would say about 1/3 of our sex is not PIV.

  • Anon for this

    I feel like we don’t have a lot of sex -maybe once a month?- but we are okay with it. I don’t think either of us feels guarded or shameful and I honestly just feel kind of… lazy about sex? I only feel bad about it when I think about whether it’s abnormal. We were both late bloomers and maybe that contributed to it. When we first got together, we had more sex, but that was in the beginning of our relationship. We are very close otherwise and are attracted to each other but most of the time it seems like we’d just rather snuggle.

    • Anonarama

      I could have written this exact same comment. I have nothing to add; it’s just nice to know that we aren’t alone in this.

      • Anon for this

        Thank you! That does help.

    • Anon

      If you are both happy, then there is no problem.

  • Anony-non

    Yep. Me. Totally me. I’m the one with zero sex drive and he is very… Driven. I haven’t attempted to treat the emotional side of things with therapy, but there is a physical side I am fixing. I didn’t like sex because it hurt. And hurt=brain initiates flight response as soon as you approach situation that might cause pain (kissing, etc).

    I started going to pelvic floor PT and I can sign that woman’s praises. Put it down as one of the most awkward experiences of my life, but hell, we had like 3 whole minutes of not painful sex and I wanted to celebrate (no, couldn’t finish the deed, but first time pain free ever in 10 years). And I’m not dreading it so much next time.

    The only thing that still frustrates me if that I’m somehow the “broken” one for having low drive. What about someone who is ready to go 5 days per week? How am I more broken that that? And how did we decide as society that low drive not high drive is what needs fixing?

    • Cathi

      “How am I more broken that that? And how did we decide as society that low drive not high drive is what needs fixing?”

      In my more frustrated moments (frustrated at myself for being “broken” that is) I have wondered the same thing! Why am I the broken one when I prioritize getting at least 7 hours of good sleep over sex? Why isn’t my husband the broken one for thinking sex is more important than sleep (something that will kill you if you go without!)?

      • Pippa

        For me sleep always wins out over sex!

    • Pippa

      Absolutely! I don’t have any advice for you, but I feel you sister!!

    • ItsyBit

      Dude. The painful sex is awful, awful, awful. And it really does create this terrible feedback loop of pain -> flight response -> avoidance, etc. I feel you. Glad to hear you’ve found something that’s helping! (my insurance doesn’t cover pelvic floor PT, or biofeedback, or blahblahblah)

    • Her Lindsayship

      The pain issue is so frustrating for everyone involved, but I hope your partner is super supportive. It makes a WORLD of difference. I never realized how awful and blame-y and just seriously shitty my exes were when it came to sex until I met my now fiancé. He’s always concerned that I’m comfortable and enjoying it, which seems so basic now but I literally had never been with someone so considerate before. I had previous men tell me things like ‘it’s going to hurt, that’s normal, just try to calm down’ or ‘other women I’ve been with loved when I did this’. I can’t believe young me just internalized that shit and let it make me feel so broken. Anyway I hope your journey of healing continues upward! Cheers to those 3 minutes!

    • Ella Mae

      Late post, but I had to chime in with some encouragement. I had pelvic pain issues (vestibulitis, vaginismus) for several years before I ended up with a doctor who referred me to pelvic PT. What a difference! I hadn’t even realized how bad things had gotten until they started to improve. I had thought I had a low sex drive, but how can you not when sex is so closely linked with pain and discomfort? We had gotten stuck in this horrible spiral where I would try to have sex to please him (he never pressured me at all, but I did pressure myself to try to keep that part of our relationship alive, very much felt the “brokenness” and that he “deserved more”) and then ending up resenting him for the pain. What really helped us was taking a few months off from sex while I worked with the PT and then slowly adding it back in a low-pressure way. I finished PT last summer and my sex has drive greatly improved. I haven’t had pain with sex since. Turns out it really helps your sex drive when you aren’t dreading the pain. So stick with it and know you are not alone in this. It really does get better.

  • Violet

    First of all, you rock, Anon.

    When people are talking about sexual compatibility like it’s some static thing, I think they do everyone in a long-term relationship a disservice. Everyone has times when they want more or less than their natural setpoint. Even if you start with the baseline assumption that both partners find the other sexually attractive and are willing to put effort into all aspects of the relationship, you are still going to experience times (maybe even long stretches) when you’re not jiving for some reason. It’s totally okay! But once we start saying, “Oh, just break up then,” you’re doing that couple a disservice. The best things in life involve some challenge and effort. Why would intimate sex be any different?

    Because you guys know how I love analogies: my husband and I are pizza compatible. We both want to eat it. We both usually want it once a week. We both generally like the same toppings. But sometimes I’m in a pro-pepperoni mood. He’s always anti-olives. Every now and then, we don’t eat pizza at all! I know I’ve said this here before, but sometimes we split the pizza into two toppings because we can’t agree on them. In the past, that used to make me feel like a failure (it’s okay, you can laugh). I thought it meant we weren’t compatible or were incapable of coming to a resolution. But you know, we agree on life and pizza and working with our partner through thick and thin to find the best outcome available to us at that time. If we went through a spell where I ONLY wanted olives and pepperoni and he ONLY wanted chicken and broccoli would you tell us to divorce? No. We’d work it out, just like we do with anything. Now, if he told me “Well, I want chicken so too bad; you can eat it or starve,”… THEN we’d have a problem my friends. Not because we gave up on pizza, because we gave up on each other.

    Sex is more fraught because there’s feelings involved. But SURPRISE! Marriage involves lots of feelings! You can’t get the thrills of a roller coaster without a little terror, too. I commend Anon and her wife for looking past the shame and guilt we’ve been engrained to feel about sex and focus on making their marriage better, day by day, kiss by kiss.

  • Pippa

    What about taking different positions on the sexuality spectrum into account?
    I’ve always struggled with my partner in terms of our libidos being mismatched. He just wants it waaaaay more often than I do. I would be happy having sex once a month. And it’s taken us 9 years of hard work for me to have PIV that doesn’t fall somewhere in the range of uncomfortable>>painful.
    Through some research on my own behalf, I’m starting to think that I might identify more with falling in the grey area of asexuality. Obviously, this probably doesn’t apply to those who feel like their sex life has shifted or they’re in a ‘rut’, but it’s worth thinking about. I know I definitely still don’t have all the answers.

  • Anon

    Ugh, my lowered libido has been a thorn in my side for a couple of years now. There’s just nothing stirring in my body (and mind). Totally feeling the author’s point about porn just feeling sad when you’re not in the mood – anytime I read advice saying “figure out what your kinks are” or “try something new” or “live out a fantasy” I’m like . . . Yeah, that assumes a baseline level of sexy feelings. My partner is respectful, but we’re both sad that I never feel horny. Luckily sex isn’t painful and I usually get into it once we start and we’re far from sexless, but the lack of personal zing is a drag. I have been realizing that I need a holistic, realistic plan for trying to figure out what’s going on, whether it’s physical/birth control/psychological/lifestyle/combo of all of the above. It’s daunting! Especially since libido issues aren’t high on the priority list for many doctors nor is there always an easy fix. . .

    • Kelly

      You mentioned bc–are you on the pill? Many forms can be libido dampeners… I was on the pill for like 12 years and never really correlated it to my constantly “meh” libido. Switched to an iud and suddenly, “hello libido!” It’s definitely more of a peaks and valleys situation with hormonal fluctuations now, but I’ll take that over non-existent. I know quite a few women who have had similar experiences.

    • Rhiannon D

      Hi anon, I’m a bit like you, I often find I only start to feel into sex once we get going. You reminded me of this article by someone who actually studies sex. essentially some people have a responsive libido, that is you don’t get into it until it starts. Its also normal, despite society telling us that normal sexuality involves actively feeling horny and then getting it on. Take a look at her website :)

      http://www.thedirtynormal.com/blog/2010/02/27/do-you-know-when-you-want-it/

      • Anon

        Her book “Come As You Are” is AMAZING! Highly recommend for understanding the range of human sexual function, not feeling “broken,” understanding what you want and like, etc. OMG it helped me so much.

        • Anon 2

          Oops I should have said… this is a different Anon :)

  • Brittany Means

    Thank you for posting this article!
    To the author, thanks also for including the disconnect between what you & your wife knew and what you felt. I’m in a low-sex relationship, and I’ve always been highly sexual before. I love my fiancee, but sex is something we have to work on a lot. Sometimes I feel like this is my “punishment” from the universe for having many years of great, non-emotional, casual sex–my penance for being promiscuous, as it were. I’m in a committed, loving relationship where there’s little sex at all; me! Who would have thunk? Obviously, in my head I know this is not true, and that my fiancee’s back problems and our work schedules have way more to do with it than the universe’s revenge… but sometimes, it’s hard to remember that.
    So yes, we’re not alone. Thank you for that reminder. :)

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  • RageFace

    I’m the one on the other side. I’m the one who wants sex all the time and Mr Rage just isn’t interested :( It hurts me so much when I would pretty much jump him even when he just mentions nakey times. It really sucks having to initiate or ask for sex every time especially with the stereotypical thing of “men always want sex, women have headaches” in the back of my head :'( Seriously, it breaks my heart to be rejected so often and it feels like our relationship is broken :(

    We can’t afford counselling and it’s tough to find advice other than “leave” or “get counselling”. :(

    • ladyjanegreysanatomy

      this is true of many of these situations i think, but harder to address when the direction of inequality lines up with stereotypes (some women’s stories about painful sex and pushy dudes are absolutely heartbreaking to me). but, in this direction, it feels easier to give a very basic suggestion, which might be old news: even if you can’t afford counseling, talking to each other about life in general and how he’s feeling about it might help. if this is a change in libido for him, it could be linked to depression or other kinds of life stress and personal stuff that are not even about you.

      being just incredibly stereotypical lesbians, my partner and i talk a lot. about everything. it’s not processing though, because it’s usually happening before there is anything wrong. it’s just how we do. we are really aware of each other’s moods because we talk about them and what’s going on for us so regularly. it’s clear that things like life/work stress or when i am having more depressive episodes affect our sex life, although not always in the same way every time. but because we talk so much and we know how each other is doing emotionally, it doesn’t usually come as a surprise, and it’s clear that it’s not a reflection on our relationship. (we also follow the OP’s rule of limiting mundane naked activities. potty time is a solo activity! not sexy!)

      it seems much harder for most men (well, most people) to really talk openly in this way. this certainly has not been the case in any other relationship i’ve had, especially the ones involving men. my previous relationship ended badly and tbh i don’t think anything would have prevented that. but in hindsight, i realized that the about-face in our sex life wasn’t about me or even the relationship, it was more to do with this person having some serious mental health stuff. another friend eventually admitted that she was probably depressed, but only after her relationship ended in part due to years-long bed death.

      i don’t know anything about your life, so this could all be way not relevant. but maybe, if given enough space to talk — without feeling like there is an end goal that needs to be reached in any one sitting — the two you might find that there are other things affecting him, maybe not even consciously. it’s not a quick fix, but if the real issue isn’t desire but rather stress or depression or just mid-life existential malaise (or some other thing), then talking about sex wont fix that. on the other hand, given enough time and patience, talking about and working on those other things might just have positive effects on your sex life (eventually).

      good luck finding the answers!

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