Sex & Sociability

Question and commentary on connections, both sexual and social

Sexless Relationships

Sexless relationships have causes and often have solutions as well... Read More

how about a factor that the

how about a factor that the male partner never turned the female partner on but her being on the pill disguised this fact.

To Rachael

If "he never turned her on" means she never had an orgasm with him that's a separate issue. Whether or not her libido was dampened by taken the pill a woman would know whether she was sexually attracted to him or not.

What if over time the mystery

What if over time the mystery and lust just naturally go away? This happens to me in every relationship. The longer I'm with someone and the more I get to know them, the less sexually attracted I become.Not that I don't like sex with them but not as much as I did when the relationship was new and exciting.

reply to Anonymous

Very few if any couples manage to retain the original charge of new love and lust. It does change over time for everyone. One hopes that what takes its place is a comfortable love and sexual relationship that is richer than the original. Love and sexual connection can be recharged with deepening intimacy and there are many books available to suggest methods of doing so. I personally like couple enrichment weekends which encourage falling back into love like those of David Schnarch, Terry Real, and John Gottman.

divergence over time

Your reply seems to presume that each partner equally loses "new love and lust" with time. I would suggest the problem is that in many, if not most cases the problem is that one partner loses it more quickly than the other, or even that one partner actually has increased lust and love while the other has less.

So perhaps the problem isn't so much "recharging" the relationship as bringing one person up more than the other?

What if you hate sex and cannot be "turned on"?

I've taken great measures to ensure that I have zero interest whatsoever in sex and never will develop any (copious amounts of antidepressants and hormone suppressing injections around the age when most youth start puberty were very beneficial). I was also brought up with an understanding that it was not something people did to those they love. Furthermore, I come from a generation that associates it with piggish acts by a cigar-loving, "chubby chaser" U.S. president and also the far worse problem of AIDS. Is the OP saying it's impossible to have a "relationship" if you don't consummate it or can't just "close your eyes and think of England"?

reply ro anonymous uninterested in sex

There are people who define as asexual who are still looking to have a life partner. It is not necessary to to consumate such a relationship if both partners want to be abstinent. Do a search for "asexual" and you will find others like yourself.

25+ years of an essentially

25+ years of an essentially sexless marriage, which, although a good marriage in many ways, but has just about killed me every single day, have now culminated in a husband that not only is not interested in sex but unable due to prostate cancer surgery. I have felt lonely, resentful at always being the initiator, and deprived of fully being a woman everyday of my life with him, but this is simply unbearable. It is so sad.

Response to Anonymous

You have my sympathy. Please consider discussing this with a sympathetic therapist to help you make some decisions.

Some are hit hard by menopause.

She went through menopause and lost interest completely. She no longer can even masterbate or even get turned on by someone else. Hormone therapy and such did not help. Perhaps a small percentage of women cannot be helped. We are good friends now. I will keep this experience in mind when I date again, perhaps I will date younger women.

dating younger women

A woman's age is no guarantee of her interest in sex, I assure you. There are many postmenopausal women who enjoy intercourse and many younger women who don't. I can't comment on your wife's situation, not knowing all the facts.

my wife hit hard by menopause too

Great article. I think I'd add another category to the five you list. There's a small but significant percentage of women who've never had an orgasm. They experience erotic feelings and turn-on's in the initial part of the relationship, but probably fall more quickly back to a level where sex doesn't really provide the "punch" to sustain interest as long as for women who can have orgasms.

And then when you add loss of libido due to multiple childbirths and menopause -- added to a lifetime of not knowing how her body can work to produce an orgasm, it would seem to be a very steep uphill to THEN have one's first orgasm. Now, when such a woman is married to a healthy man who still wants daily sex, you have a formula for sexual discrepancy disaster which even therapy can't adequately resolve, in spite of mutual love and respect in nonsexual ways.

good essay

Just read it -- good essay. Totally agree. You're exactly right -- therapy can enable better communication, but might still not resolve the sexual discrepancy.

It's my observation that there are probably more quiet and tacitly open marriages than some people might suspect, and they have found it the most practical solution to their problem. They don't show up in therapists' offices because the solution works well for them. And they don't advertise to everyone that they have such a marriage because many Americans judge that rather harshly (sometimes by people who themselves have affairs they are keeping secret even from their spouses!) And they don't show up in statistics as "open marriages" because they prefer to be just known as "married" and file their taxes that way.

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Isadora AlmanM.F.T., is a Board-certified sex, marriage, and family therapist, lecturer, author, and syndicated advice columnist of "Ask Isadora."

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