Is it ever a good idea to have sex out of obligation? Do you owe your spouse a sex life? What is your obligation to your partner when it comes to sex? We hear variations of this question quite often, and in this podcast we tackle this complicated and emotional issue head on.
Click the play button at the top of this page to listen to this podcast episode on the hazards of having sex out of obligation – and discover the healthy alternative to obligatory intercourse!
Here is the letter that inspired this email. In episode 231 we will discuss what to do when your sexual desire is alive and well, but you don’t want to have sex with your spouse! Be in touch to ask a question or suggest a topic for a future episode by clicking here!
I have a question following your latest podcast on sex initiation/refusal. I have been with the same partner for 15 years, we have two children under the age of 11. Four years ago, I felt like my sex drive was declining to the point where my partner threatened to find sex with someone else, if I kept refusing.
I rarely initiated sex and we were having sex maybe once or twice a month at this point. His threat made me extremely fearful, so I made a real effort to say yes more, even though I really didn’t want to, and we made the agreement that we would prioritise sex once a week, mainly to keep him happy.
Sometimes, I warmed up and found myself enjoying it, and sometimes it just wasn’t happening so I allowed him to have sex with me, even though it did nothing for me. The reason I did this is because if he does not get it, he becomes extremely angry which comes out as him being snappy at me and our two children. I soon realised that if he didn’t get any sex from me, my weekends would be miserable, and felt like it wasn’t worth the hassle of refusing as I was just making matters worse for myself and my children.
Fast forward to today. There are now many more days where I do not enjoy sex. This is not because my partner is selfish or bad in bed, but I feel like I simply do not fancy him anymore. I don’t know if it’s a mixture of resentment that has been built up over the years because I felt threatened that he would leave, but it has now got to the point where, although we are have sex weekly and sometimes twice per week, he is tired of me not enjoying it, and has again threatened to go elsewhere.
This time, however, I have resigned myself to the fact that I cannot continue to be blackmailed in this way and told him that there is nothing I can do if that’s what he wants, and through my tears, told him that he’s right, because he does deserve to have sex with someone who wants to have sex with him, and that I couldn’t help it, but I just wasn’t feeling like it.
However, I have come to realise that, I do feel like it, I just don’t feel like doing it with him anymore. I can’t tell him this, a few years ago I told him I didn’t fancy him anymore, he told me that he wished I never told him that, but I was just trying to be honest, as I felt like I was no longer emotionally connected with him.
I suggested counseling which he refused as he said he didn’t like the thought of telling strangers our problems. I soon ended up taking back that comment I made, saying I didn’t know what got into me and shrugging it off as a phase, partly because I hoped it just was and partly because I realised how much I loved him and I didn’t want to see him hurt, or lose him.
The fact still remains today, that I have no sexual desire towards him, but I do have sexual desire. I fantasise and masturbate often. Throughout my research, I came across many articles about long term married women saying they have no sexual desire anymore and now I wonder if this is all just a myth. Perhaps I have always had desire and never lost it, but I have just realised that I no longer have the desire for him.
I still love my husband very much, he is a great life partner, husband and Father, he takes care of me in many ways, we have many of the same beliefs and values but he travels often with work and when he is home he just wants to sleep or watch t.v and it’s never anything that we can both watch and enjoy together. I am always the instigator of meals out or quality time spent together, but it never feels like enough.
I feel emotionally starved, but when I have discussed this with him, he will take me out for a meal or spend money on me, all of which is lovely, but none of which rekindles my desire or passion for him. He has since apologised for making this comment and said he takes our marriage vows seriously, and doesn’t want anyone else, but now says he thinks our arrangement is unhealthy, which I completely agree with yet he was fine with it 4 years ago! He says that from now on I have to initiate it when I want it. He made an effort to rub my feet and I could see what he wanted so i initiated out if pressure, again, not out of want. He says he thinks no one else will fancy him now anyway which made me feel guilty that perhaps I have ruined his self esteem, but at the same time, question if this a manipulation tactic. He has also mentioned that he has been tempted on business trips before as a lot of his business associates have this kind of lifestyle where they cheat on their wives.
I am at a loss for what to do, and in desperate need of advice. I feel like a part of me is dead inside. Can this be saved? or am I better off finding someone else myself and allowing him to do the same?