My Husband and I Have a Comfortable Marriage Without Sex.

My Husband and I Have a Comfortable Marriage Without Sex

I am married to an honest, loyal and trustworthy man. However, we are not intimate in any way and there is no chemistry. At one point, we went over four years without any sex. It has always been like this and it is me who will eventually bring the subject up. When I didn’t talk about it, that’s when it ended up being such a long time. We are like best friends/brother and sister – living together. It makes for a great family life (we have two children aged 11 and 13) as there is little argumentative tension with regards to day-to-day stuff. My husband loves the family unit. It is me, however, who craves touch, intimacy and to feel desired. We have discussed this at length over the years and have tried to make things better (believe me). Unfortunately, my husband struggles to express himself sexually (so sex would happen only in the bedroom with the lights off). We have never held hands or been like lovers and, in my opinion, we were too young when we met – he was my first proper partner; I am a very different lady in my 40s with regards to confidence. As everyone sees us as the ‘perfect family’ and my husband as a wonderful man (which he is), I find myself more and more anxious feeling that this is not what I want for another 20 years. I am 43 years old and keep fit and young at heart. There are many reasons why we’ve stayed together – our children’s happiness, financial stability, our daughter is deaf and has needed support and it works day to day.

I feel terrible admitting it, but I want to feel loved in the true sense of the word and I don’t think my husband understands what I mean. Even if he did what I wanted now, I’m afraid I don’t feel anything sexual for him at all … is that just terrible? I am attracted to other men (and don’t have a low sex drive) but would sincerely like to change the future without being dishonest or causing too much heartache to everyone around me. I don’t want to talk to friends or family about this as I feel it is not fair by my husband to do so. If you can help me in any way, I would be SO grateful. I love your advice – it is truly brilliant.

Best wishes,

Dear Liv,

You are speaking the fears of every woman who has ever been in a passionless relationship.

Unfortunately, you are also speaking the fears of every woman who has ever heard me talk about compromising on chemistry. And before I answer your question, I want to address that perception. It bugs me that after all these years of writing, I can’t get people to understand the nuance of the chemistry/compatibility debate.

First of all, I have never said that you should have no chemistry. I have never said you should be with a man you’re not attracted to. I have never said that sex doesn’t matter. I have never said that if you have compatibility that attraction is entirely irrelevant. These are straw man arguments and it’s tiring for me to address things that I’ve never actually said.

What I have said, repeatedly, is that chemistry is a wonderful feeling. It consists of an increase in dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, estrogen, and oxytocin and makes you feel really high. This high — which we call chemistry or attraction — generally lasts from 18-36 months. And while it is a wonderful feeling, it is not the same as love, although most folks call it being “in love”. Additionally, this “in love” feeling is not necessarily a good predictor of your future, because, well, you’ve had it before in relationships that ultimately failed. So what I’ve observed as a dating coach is that people are slaves to chemistry, ignore compatibility (the ability to get along and build a future), and wonder why they’re so unhappy if they’re “in love”.

NO chemistry is just as harmful as no compatibility.

Are we on the same page so far?

So, given these facts (chemistry feels awesome, but 40 year relationships aren’t built on chemistry alone), I have always advocated for smart tradeoffs. Instead of having a 10 in chemistry and a 3 in compatibility, I recommend a 7 in chemistry and a 10 in compatibility.

10 chemistry X 3 compatibility = a relationship that’s a 30.

7 chemistry X 10 compatibility = a relationship that’s a 70.

The math is crude, but I hope you can see that one relationship is superior to the other.

Now one can argue that you’d prefer chemistry OVER compatibility. Say, a 10 chemistry and 7 compatibility. Fair enough. However…

      a) I haven’t seen much evidence of that. Generally 10 chemistry correlates with high passion, and two incompatible people being drawn together like magnets.

b) When you’re planning a 40 year relationship, compatibility — the ability to compromise, make thousands of tiny decisions as a couple, and build a life together — is ultimately more important than white-hot chemistry.

Which brings us back to Liv’s original question and the source of much consternation from the 10 Chemistry people. What if there’s NO chemistry?

Well, the reason that I laid out this case before answering the question was to illustrate that NO chemistry is just as harmful as no compatibility.

Liv said it has “always been like this,” which means she ignored the lack of passion from the get-go, instead of realizing that a sexual connection is a necessary part of any marriage.

That is no different than two people who get married out of passion, only to ignore the fact that they fight all the time — and are then surprised they have a rocky marriage.

All relationships involve tradeoffs, but one should never give up on something as important as sexual chemistry — certainly not from the beginning like Liv did.

As to what you do now? I think it has to be a hard conversation with your husband, in which you figure out your endgame before you talk, and lead him to your desired conclusion.

      1. Compliment him on being a great husband, father and teammate.

2. Tell him that you feel sexually deprived. Tell him that while you love him dearly and have no desire to break up your family, you are starving for affection and don’t want to live the rest of your life without it.

3. Ask him to collaborate with you in coming up with a solution. This is a team effort to preserve your marriage AND make you feel sexually satisfied, and if he values your happiness, he has to help solve it.

What will you come up with? That’s up to you as a couple.

Maybe it’s sanctioned that you go on Ashley Madison to openly find sexual relations with another married man who isn’t going to leave his wife.

Maybe it’s sanctioned that you take a few long weekends each year to go away by yourself. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Maybe you do some research on male escort services and agree on a set amount of time you are allowed to indulge yourself.

Your partner is not upholding his end of the deal, and he needs to take responsibility for that, and do everything in his power to find a solution.

Do all of these things weaken the sanctity of your marriage? Probably. However, your partner is not upholding his end of the deal, and he needs to take responsibility for that, and do everything in his power to find a solution.

If he doesn’t — if he refuses to have sex with you inside the marriage and forbids you from being sexual outside the marriage — you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to keep this status quo for the sake of stability and the children. No one else can answer that except you.

Either way, I wish you well and thank you for illustrating that no sexual chemistry should be a non-starter in relationships, and that good people (men and women alike) will consider cheating if their reasonable sexual needs are not being met.

Best of luck…

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  1. 21

    God it lookalike I   wrote the question, except for kids age and number of years we I lived in this intimacy less relationship. However its just too boring to listen to same stuff again and again   compliment him , tell him he is such a man and worse was to see “she is self centered”.

    A woman who is living in worthless   marriage for her kids so long can’t be a SELF CENTERED ,but anything.

  2. 22

    I’ve been married 47 years and sex for us really never happened. Oh we had sex a couple of times but he didn’t like it. To him it was vile disgusting, totally pointless and not worth the effort. Sleep work and his hobby was more   important than me. So I would say we’ve been sexless for 46 years, and we have treated each other as room mates. Property mates is probably a better word cause he lives in his garage and I have the house . We ignore each other and we haven’t talked for probably close to 40 years. He does all the chores and fix it type things but we communicate by sticky notes. he makes sure I’m not home when he fix’s things in the house. I do my own thing he does his, I did find out he isn’t gay or have a little sweetie on the side. I should have left but I’m ashamed that I didn’t and now it’s way to late to fix anything. I’m close to 70 and why bother.


    1. 22.1

      My heart goes out to you DeCaf.   Hopefully, you have found another source of joy in your life.   Prayers.

    2. 22.2
      Fading Dreamer

      After reading so many of these posts, yours hit me.   I am 67 years old and have been married to the same man for almost 48 years.   The first 20 plus years were great!

      We had 3 beautiful children and I was very active with community, with education and with my own development during that time I never noticed… He worked out of town and we had our weekends together, full of   intimacy, passion and love.   As time moved forward, lots changed, financial stress, caregiving of parents, children moving on, and then in our early 50’s we left the city and life we made and moved away.   He retired from his work, and I thought we would enjoy our old age happily.   But then it all changed.   He became more and more isolated, he did not want to do much, he raged often and I felt that my life was like walking on eggshells.   Our kids didn’t notice, they were all off to college, finding their paths, their mates and enjoying their own lives.   My husband lost interest in any intimacy and our marriage has been sexless and unaffectionate now for the past 12 to 15 years.

      I attributed it to PTSD from Vietnam.   I read about it and he exhibited so many of the symptoms.   He becomes obsessive in behaviors that seem to rotate; for instance, for several years he began and continued to ‘dip’ which I found repulsive.   I lost respect for him as a person as he continued with his isolation ( would not initiate making friends, or going with friends when asked, and blamed it on me)

      I tried to get him to go to the VA, or to talk to a doctor, but he just says that I am the blame.   I made him like this.   I have tried to reach him but he   now plops himself in front of the tv and watched black and white movies.   He seems to deprive himself of ANY pleasures!   I love to dance, to listen to music, to be with people, and he just sulks.   I often go places alone.   I have had other men show interest in me and their hugs were heavenly, but I would never consider cheating.    I have fantasies of going on exotic trips and meeting someone and having fun.

      Instead, I keep myself super busy, but as I am aging, and I am not heavy and I look pretty good, nevertheless, he sleeps as far away from me in our king size bed as can be.   He is a wonderful Grandpa, the kids all love him!   We have several   but I am so sad and feel so deprived of appreciation, of being loved and I’m lonely.   Its not the sex, its the lack of feeling loved that hurts the most.   And he has projected this perfect couple scenario to the public via Facebook, etc.   Financially we are bound after all these years and I am the one keeping the money flowing.   He resents that, but someone has to do since we lost so much over the past years. ( which added to his withdrawal)   Its just that reading these, I see there are others out there living the same story.   It helps, just a little.   I really would love to have someone appreciate and love me in a physical way.





  3. 23

    My wife and I haven’t had sex for 12 years.

    Since the birth of our little boy she has complained that intercourse is painful. I have tried so many times to make her go and get it checked out but she flatly refuses, well what she actually says is yes she’ll see a doctor but then never does.

    It’s not the lack of sex that upsets me it’s the thought that she no longer finds me attractive or wants me anymore. Although I am considered quite good looking and keep myself fit, I am also 17 years her senior and I now worry that this age difference is embarrassing her.

    Prior to the birth of our boy we had a very passionate and exciting sex life instigated mainly by her, which is also confusing me.

    Although I feel lonely and insecure I have never thought about being with anyone else. I love her too much. And in every other way she loves me too.

  4. 24

    My advice is simple, pls get a divorce, it can only get worse by cheating, though a lot of married women do it successfully but imagine someone finds out, you’d have a bad name all over, everyone would blame you and not know the choices you had and how difficult it was for you. Lack of intimacy for such long time is both your fault in a way but  make sure to sit him down and let him know why you are tired of the marriage and he either allows you to have an open relationship or he agrees to the divorce  cos honestly, you seem to have gotten a point where no matter what he does to make it right, it isn’t gonna work.

  5. 25

    We haven’t   had sex in 48 years and that’s how long we’ve been married or together is better word. My husband has always hated sex and could never understand why people had the urge to have sex. He always work the midnight shift and all weekends and holidays so he wouldn’t have to be home with me. For years he lived in our basment then he built a out building with a garage and apartment thing in the far corner of our property. Yes   I was lonely   and depressed but pills and my shrink helped alot. Now to old to really care about him, I care only about me . I made a horrible mistake by not leaving but I have survived.   He isn’t gay or have something   on the   side just hates me and sex, has no friends and wants to be alone.

    1. 25.1
      Fading dreamer

      Dear decaf,

      I thought I replied to your post.   Ours was different that in the first years things were such different and then they turned.    My husband, too, lives as a longer and does not have much interest in many things.   I, too, wish that I had the courage to leave some time ago, but stayed because of the   family and shame.   I still sometimes think about it.   For the most part, we are compatible.   We share our history, our family and our work, but its like living with a brother.   I tell him we are roommates, and he just says its all my fault from years ago when we did fight a lot about ambition.   I had much and he had little.   I never realized  that  he was just incapable of the things I kept thinking he could do but wouldn’t.   His reaction to my expectations was rage, huge rage!   He never hurt me, but he destroyed things.   He was explosive.   Whenever anyone asked things of him, he would get angry towards me.   In public he was a whole different being.   Everyone loves him and can’t understand why I get angry at him.   So, from the age of 50 to 58 I was angry and deprived of any affection.   I came to terms with the fact that he has mental issues that he won’t address and that I had to just accept him with his self imposed limitations.    I then stopped expecting anything much from him and stopped asking or nagging in any way.   He sleeps a lot and is still very negative.    This is the first time I have ever written anything on the internet in a forum.   I guess I want to see if anyone else has had similar experiences in this regard.

  6. 26

    Honestly, I’ve read articles written by women in marriages like this. They end up discovering the husband is gay and doing his own thing on the side. I think she needs to explore this potential scenario.

  7. 27
    MaryAnn Turner

    I have been married x20 years , and have been seeing a psychiatrist for the entire time. After 2 years , my husband began coming with me as well. My physician treats me for PTSD, so my husband does not he has any problems? He has not been intimate for over x20 years! I have talked about it and the reply I get, start by holding hands? I née cuddling and feeling loved. So alone! I never cheated, but time is passing

  8. 28


    Well I’ff learnt that my expectations of love and romance were much too high.   I am a Gemini and thus I have taken the romantic side of life much to ceriously, I’s not that I expected the preverbial “Prince on a White horse” but my prince was just a normal guy who had a tough life like mine.   There were never moments of great fireworks though I tried, but we expected nothing, were both stupid virgins till we got married, thus dumm and clumsy, it took us a month to break the Ice.

    We did not have a steemy love life and there were no time.   Then 6 years after we got married I suffered a severe breakdown and my husband stood by me for 4 years.   Then just as I got better he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, he went for Brachytherapy and later for radiation, somewhere something went wrong and now he does not have any feeling and is very shy.

    I’m not even 40 and sees no Sexual future for me and my husband.

    Thank goodness we don’t have children.   But we still enjoy each other.   We love one another, but how long will that last?

    1. 28.1

      How are you doing now? So so hard xx

  9. 29
    kathleen smith

    get a divorce-

  10. 30

    Nothing wrong . I’ve dated by gf for 9yrs not once had sex or made love , yes there is a difference   . Wonderfull life without it . We both agree us a waste of time and effort.   Doesn’t stop us from being   in love.   Were both catholic so we can’t cause of our religion . We talk about having kids by adoption .

    1. 30.1

      James, I wish your parents had thought that making love is waste of time. Lol! There is no religion that does not allow sex. I hope you will make love after marriage. Or no! :O

      1. 30.1.1

        I didn’t ask for my life but i fight to keep it .

        Marriage is not on my schedule.   Don’t need to be married to be in love

  11. 31

    Maybe someone mentioned this already, but it sounds like the husband may be the cheater. Few people can just go without sex… So my immediate thought is he’s been getting sex/intimacy elsewhere & feels bad, not wanting to give his wife a possible disease! Just a thought.

  12. 32

    Hi Sas and others,

    I have spoken too both a Psicologist and Social Worker, obi8sly too my Psiciatrist as my medication is obviously surpressed my need for sexual deeds, but as we obiously got to the correct mix and with time my libido has increased, unfortunatly his will never.   I find it very difficult to accept that this is now it and that I have to accept and forget.   I knew at some stage we would get to this point, but maybee in our 60’s.

    I bought myself a Vibrator, but it feels strange and I akso never mastrubated before, so that is also an unpleasant thought.   I downloaded E.L. Jameses trilogy of the Fifty’s and I like to read them.   Maybee it’s 15 to late, but at least I enjoy that.   My husband loves flying, he has a flight symulato and enjoy’s that so I think that is problaby our outlet at the moment.

    Thanks for asking


  13. 33

    This is simple. He is a latent homosexual.

    Good choice of a husband.

  14. 34

    Get divorced and start over. Your children will understand. If it has gone on for this long the marriage should be ended. You will literally waste the rest of your best years if you don’t end it.

  15. 35

    My advice is that she has sacrificed enough.   It’s time to get out of the marriage and find someone who excites you and makes you happy but are also compatible with.   The happier you are with your life, the happier your kids will be.   Don’t have an affair and stay in the marriage, as some have suggested.   Your kids, friends and family with eventually find out and you will not be respected or understood.   Kids can sense when things are not right.   They   are more intuitive than we give them credit for.   Live your life honestly even though it’s not what is easiest.

  16. 36

    It sounds as if her husband might be asexual and possibly aromantic, in which case it might not be his fault that she’s not getting what she needs as a sexual romantic woman because he couldn’t relate to those needs. I don’t think she should be shamed for hiring a professional that’s what they’re for, but sex with a married guy would be unfair to his wife in my opinion.

  17. 37

    There’s definitely more to the story.   My situation is similar, but I believe that we are both to blame for the sexual aversion that was created on my part. I feel the same as Liv does -I’m not sure I’d want sex with him now even if he did a complete 180.   I’ll briefly explain why..

    I’m 32, we’ve been together since I was 19.   I enjoy oral.   Receiving and giving. There was lots of this going on in the beginning as I was saving myself for a committed relationship and oral was always an option when sex was not. With that said, once we started having sex, my husband told me that he preferred to only give oral right after a shower. Yup.   I was mortified, to say the least.   I’ve never had a man who wasn’t more than willing to engage in oral at all times of the day (my ex would ravage me after an 8 hour shift!), so this was a blow to my self esteem. And being that I was 19, I wasn’t mature enough to handle it well. From that day forward I was never able to fully relax during oral (even after a shower because, hey, it still smells like a V). I asked him if maybe just didnt like the womanly scent in general, and he said very seriously, “i don’t like any smell or taste down there at all”.   So from that I concluded that my husband was a prude in that department and, therefore, just accepted that oral was not his thing and not in my future unless conditions were perfect.   So that was that.   I gave oral (not for his benefit but for mine- it arouses me to see I’m arousing my man. An ego thing perhaps), but after a while I started to resent the fact that I was more open in the bedroom, and I longed for the days of sexual excitement and compatibility.   I started turning down sex more and more.   It was just boring for me and too much work.   I could have a mind blowing “ending” by myself and struggled to have a decent one with him.   So, pathetically, i became my own amazing source of “happy endings”.   Sad, i know, ive shed many a tear over feeling so very alone and quite envious of gal pals who talk of their husbands oral abilities.   Anyway, over time, I lost my desire and passion for him because I started to desire an equal exchange in the bedroom.   It no longer turns me on to turn him on, but instead creates resentment towards him for never being selfless in bed.   I actually get mad when he looks blissed out during sex.    I married a man who is a selfish lover.   Period.   He could care less if I’m curling my toes in bliss as long as he’s curling his.   So, boom, sexual aversion created.

    It really creeps up on ya, huh?

    We talk about it all the time.   He acts like he cares for a day or two. I ask him for us to see a sexual therapist–he nods but then never makes the appointment. I ask him to join me in scouring the Internet for good books, advice or forums–he does it for a day or two and then cringes if I bring it up.   He simply doesn’t care. He’s turned to porn and agrees that it’s damaging how he views sex but won’t give it up.   He’s even asked why I can’t last as long as girls in porn.    After all, their legs never get tired.   I’m not kidding. Needless to say, that little tidbit turned into a nice little fight and made me not want him touching me even more. If I can’t compare to the ladies of porn, I don’t really feel all that sexy in the bedroom.

    So yes, I’m quite certain there is more to Liv’s story.   She suffering with a sexual aversion towards her husband.   One that was created by both of them, I’m sure.   This is why she has a sex drive but does not desire sex from her husband.   Very difficult for men to understand.   Certainly was for my husband.   I urge her to have that conversation with her husband.   It’s uncomfortable, but it’s a conversation that needs to be had.   It will light a fire under his butt to get to the core of the aversion, or, like my husband, will at least prevent him from playing the “my wife doesn’t want sex with me and it’s not my fault” card.

    As for the allowing to be flirted with by other men, eek, that’s a slippery slope, and one that I’ve been down.   Once you take off those blinders- the ones you put on when you find your mate- it’s hard to put them back on.   Unless you start receiving that intimacy and affection within your own relationship, it’s impossible not to crave it.   Basically, if you don’t start getting it from your partner, you WILL pursue other options.   So wake up, men and women!! If your partner has expressed the need for hugs, kisses, hand holding, or sex of any kind, and YOU aren’t doing anything different, step it up or you can’t cry the blues when he/she leaves you.

  18. 38

    Ladies & gentemen, let’s turn the table! I’m 52 & my dear wife 47. Married for 22years. 2 outstanding children. My wife very pretty, I’m very handsome, fit, lift & cook. We both work but not long hours. We didn’t make love for 20years, my wife switch her sex desire totally off. I tried & tried to help her to change but no success. I’m   diabetics type 2 because of that, stress, that’s what all doctors told me. So, I switch off too! I’m still great father, supportive and funny husband but trying hard to keep my pain inside and not let anyone notice!

  19. 39

    I have been in the situation where sex was rare and I missed it enormously.   Eventually our couple broke up and somehow, I think that had we been able to solve that issue, our couple would have been wonderful.

    It’s a big “if” though.   Maybe as we get older, our need for sex is less (I said, maybe) and companionship comes to the forefront.   I don’t know but it strikes me that the lady has a lot going for her, even if she misses the sex.

    It is of course her decision.   Personally, I feel that getting sex elsewhere does not solve the issue but that’s just me.



  20. 40

    I found this site in search of answers as to why my bf doesn’t seem interested in sex. I’ve talked to him about it & even suggested counseling but he won’t. Instead he proposed last Christmas. I accepted the ring with hesitation but thought we could work on it.We’ve been dating 2 1/2 years & have only had sex maybe 12 times & it”s very awkward. He doesnt look at me & to be honest I’ve never climaxed. He’s 52 & never been married. He’s handsome, kind, loving ( but not sexually). He holds my hand everywhere we go.   He hugs me often & loves to cuddle but we don’t kiss much & when we do its little pecs. I’m very sensual & need him to “want” me. My family adores him which means a lot. But my self esteem is shattered.  

    1. 40.1

      He sounds exactly like my husband except we were never able to consumate he couldn’t maintain an erection. I thought that it was due to the excitement of meeting me, then I thought that it was due to prolong porn usage…now I think that he has performance issues…maybe he was molested as a child by an older person. For a while I thought that he was gay.

      I never heard about this cuddling thing and pecking. I’m like you, I want to be loved, wanted, adored, ravished. My family and friends thinks the world of him.

      He proposed on New Year’s Eve 2012. He’s 51 now. I’m 57.

      What makes this extra crushing and PLEASE don’t anyone take this the wrong way but we are black and he is attracted to white and asian women. The stress and secrets has caused me to gain weight. My self esteem is completely shattered.

      I burst out in tears in public when I see an interracial couple in the street. I get anxiety when we are out together and there are attractive white and asian women. Today at the Air Show, there were 2 interracial couples next to us and he kept looking at them. I was dressed so nicely I was having a great day until then.

      I took the Air Show pics and some of the couples and sent them to him. He asked men the car why did you send those to me? I said because they were pretty. We have an open relationship, right? He said YES but what about you?

      I sat there trembling in silence so mad because there it was MY ANSWER.

      He has no intention on stopping. It is what it is an open relationship.

      I really don’t care anymore. I came home showered and threw up. I know that whatever that kinky lifestyle provides I/m not going to do because he won’t share it with me. He won’t tell me and he doesn’t want me in it.


      I can live this lie and be unfulfilled sexually. It’s not cancer. My heart has been broken before. I’m used to faking it. What’s another day or a thousand.

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