Tell me about it: I’m struggling in a sexless marriage
Kate Holmquist answers your sex, life and relationship problems
Please help me out here, I’m struggling with married life not turning out at all as I expected.
We had a very healthy sex life when just living together, and three years into marriage in all other respects our relationship has improved.
However, my wife seems to have totally misunderstood the meaning of legally enforced monogamy. It’s not just a prohibition on having sex with other people. One is also under some kind of implied obligation to actually have sex, at least occasionally, with one’s spouse, no? At least that was my understanding. Otherwise it would be called celibacy, am I right?
Despite things being relatively good in that way before we got to the altar, it went downhill very rapidly afterwards, before dwindling away to nothing for the past year or so. I haven’t given up trying to initiate, but she just goes cold each time. Every time I try to bring it up with her, she retorts: “You’re just mad because you didn’t get what you wanted this morning/last night/at the weekend/whenever” and then tries to pick a fight with me over some unrelated domestic trivia. Yes, of course I’m mad that my wife is turned off by the thought of making love with me. She makes me feel like a dirty old man (and I’m only in my mid-30s).
Even worse, she seems to have adopted the persona of a woman of her grandmother’s generation. Gone is the changing into her swimming cossie at the beach without a care in the world as to who saw a flash of flesh; now she turns off the light in our bedroom and gets changed in the dark. Before we used to enjoy slightly racy French movies; now she tut-tuts when anything in the least way suggestive comes on the telly. It’s as if she was auditioning before. Now that she’s secured the role, she feels she doesn’t have to try (or pretend?) anymore.
My male friends are absolutely useless when I try to talk to them about this. The unmarried ones just laugh: “Hate to say I told you so mate, that’s why I’ll never get married” is a typical response. The married ones just bow their heads and sadly admit to something similar, if less extreme, and then shuffle off to the bar for another round and never mention it again.
At least they have some beautiful kids to show for their sacrifice. My wife was always adamantly against having children, and asked me to have a vasectomy shortly after we were wed.
I agreed because the alternative was to use condoms, and I’ve always had trouble keeping an erection with a condom on (since my teens) so I didn’t want to go down that route. But I really regret it now that I’m beginning to realise that this may not be for the long haul.
Am I the only one who wasn’t clued into the great unspoken secret of Irish marriage? Please help me understand the psychology of what might be going on with her, as I’m going up the walls and won’t last at this rate. Sorry if I’ve gone on a bit, but I really needed to get this off my chest fully.
I can sense your frustration, confusion and even anger, as you put it, at having married one woman and ended up with another. You’re also looking for insight into what is going on with your wife.