Mila has been married for 10 years. In general, she considers the marriage to be successful. They get along with her husband, they are good together. Only they haven’t had sex for a long time. And 15 years ago, when they first met, they made love whenever possible.
But two years later, sex life began to wither: several times a week, then once every few months, and now once a year – and then only at Mila’s initiative. The husband is not interested in sex. “I only hear excuses. Now he is not in a mood, now he is tired, now his stomach hurts, ”says Mila. For a 35-year-old woman, this is a serious cause for concern.
She suspects that his testosterone levels are low, but he refuses to go to the doctor. When Mila brings up this topic, he either withdraws into himself, or begins to aggressively defend himself. She complained to him that she felt unattractive, it seemed to her that they were roommates. In response – no sympathy, no substantive response.
Without desire, women experience guilt and shame
Women do not expect a man to always initiate sex, but it is difficult for them to face rejection. Especially when you consider that old stereotypes about gender roles are still alive. We’ve all heard stories about a “always ready” husband and a wife with a “headache”. If a man consciously refuses sex, many women begin to think: “What is wrong with me?”
Polina is now 43, and she met her husband 15 years ago, and they experienced “instant mutual attraction.” Three years after the wedding, it turned out that he no longer wanted sex. Even on the wedding anniversary, even on vacation, her husband refused her.
“Of course, I am not the first beauty, but I still considered myself attractive, I was confident in myself,” says Polina. “My husband’s refusals just knocked me down.” The husband did not want to discuss this topic or go to a family psychologist.
Polina turned to a psychotherapist herself. This helped her understand that the problem was not with her or her appearance. However, abstinence was given to her hard, and in the end she got a lover – with the approval of her husband. But this did not help family relationships, and in the end the marriage broke up.
It’s like asking for a compliment. Even if you beg, it will seem insincere
Some couples notice that their sex life is fading away only when children grow up and no longer require as much attention. This happened with 38-year-old Marina. From the very beginning, she was an active side in sexual relations with her husband, but caring for the kids took so much energy that Marina stopped taking the initiative. Now her husband is no longer interested in sex, and he has stopped paying attention to her altogether.
Marina tried to start conversations on this topic, gave him articles on the psychology of marriage and even offered to undergo plastic surgery if it would help her become more attractive to him. But in the end she was so demoralized that she stopped even raising this issue. “It’s like asking for a compliment,” she says. “Even if you beg, he will seem insincere.”
Of course, these stories are only part of a complex picture. Men also feel humiliated when they fail in sex. The reasons can be physiological: erectile dysfunction, medication, imbalance of neurotransmitters and hormones. In addition, the lack of desire can be caused by stress, anxiety or depressive disorders.
Whether men seek help depends largely on their partner, says Irwin Goldstein, a physician, director of the Sexopathology Program at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego. In his experience, many patients are apathetic about decreased sex drive and do not seek treatment.
Sometimes it’s not about sex, it’s about relationships.
Of course, the situation can be aggravated if the husband does not have empathy and is not ready to solve the problem with his wife. “If you really want something, and your partner does not consider it necessary to give you time, even just to discuss it, your problems are clearly not only in sex,” says Rachel Sussman, a psychotherapist and an expert on marital relations.
However, she adds, a lot depends on the wife. In her practice, there were cases when women insulted their husbands with phrases like “What’s wrong with you?” or “What kind of man are you?” Aggression, explicit or implicit, is a road to nowhere.
“When partners are angry with each other, when two wounded pride collides, this is definitely not the best foundation for developing a sex life,” says Sassman. She advises discussing this issue in a relaxed atmosphere – with a glass of wine, when the children go to bed. In a healthy relationship, the partner will respond sooner or later.
Should you get a divorce?
Not all women think about divorce due to the fact that they no longer have sex with their husband. But for someone, such a union loses its meaning. 49-year-old Angelina came to the conclusion that her husband’s unwillingness to solve problems with sex is a sign of his infantilism, which destroys their relationship as a whole. They have not made love for seven years, although once, in the early years of marriage, they were “like rabbits.”
“Our marriage is cracked, and I’m not sure my husband realizes it. We must go through life together, and sex is also a part of this common destiny, ”says Angelina.
Of course, there can be no universal recipes here. And yet, says Sussman, if after 4-6 months your partner is still ignoring your calls to him, it is worth considering: “Am I ready to divorce because of this?”
If you decide to save your marriage and try to change the situation, you need to start with an open and calm dialogue. “When there is a will to solve problems, there will be a way. The main thing is for this will to appear. “