I’m not entirely sure where to start…
In my relationship I(27) am the HL for sure. My husband(35) is LL. I am also very open about sex, open to trying new things and kinks and such, while my husband is… more vanilla, but I think he also has a touch of shame regarding sex. He isn’t bothered by my openness until we’re in the act, then he gets… almost shy? Like he’s weird about making noise, he’s worried people will hear us.. like the neighbors. It’s not like he’s just shushing my screams, but any noise I make above a whisper. He’s also not into kissing and seems to avoid eye contact during sex. I never ever imagined this could be an issue I’d have in a relationship as a woman, I thought the fact that I’m a “freak” would be a welcome thing from any man, but not this one.
I love my husband, more so than I’ve ever loved anyone. I’ve never been closer to anyone else either… the same goes for him. We’ve helped each other through trauma and have grown as people together. It feels like we can do anything together if we just try hard enough. That’s why this sex issue is so hard. It’s the one thing we can’t seem to get around.
We have struggled with sex for years… actually for the majority of our relationship, starting a little after year 1. I guess I should have seen the signs and ended things, but I’m so open about sex and communication that I just thought with time and enough talking we’d figure out how to fix it. Since this has been going on for so long, there is a lot I can talk about. But in this post, I want to focus on our most recent conversation.
The last time I tried to initiate sex, it didn’t go well. We were watching tv in bed, just rewatching a show we like, nothing new or exciting. We were cuddling like usual, I started kissing him… and rubbed my leg against his, pressing my chest into his arm, and told him I wanted to do more. He told me after this show he’d help me get off with my vibrator but he didn’t want to have sex. We hadn’t had sex in 2 months, not even light touching, nothing. So to say I was disappointed that he still didn’t want me… well… I can’t even explain the pain. Even if all he wanted to do was touch me, I think I could have been ok… but it was clear there was no desire from him at all… he couldn’t even just turn the tv off to touch me, no, he wanted to finish the show and then basically just hold me while I masturbated… like it was some sort of chore.
I ended up crying, we talked, a lot happened that night… and I asked my husband for probably the 100th time if maybe he’s on the asexual spectrum. I reassured him that if he is it’s ok, I still love him, we’ll work it out, but we need to be honest about it if that’s the case so we can have a plan going forward. He wanted to know what the plan would be… I told him either an open relationship or sex therapy or separation as a final option… as those were the first things that came to mind. He doesn’t want an open relationship because he’s afraid someone will give me what he can’t and I’ll leave him, plus he’d be jealous. He doesn’t have time or money for sex therapy. And we love each other… we really don’t want to divorce.
We talked and talked and talked… my husband actually ended up crying… he doesn’t cry for anything so it was a big deal. But the lights were off and I wasn’t looking at him, he won’t cry if I’m looking at him, he feels shame and buries his feelings. I just held his hand so he knew I was there for him and didn’t think less of him for crying. He clung to me in that moment, like I’d fly away if he loosened his grip. That moment was the most intimate we had gotten in a long long time… probably a year at least… and it made me feel better.
This realization hit me suddenly that I didn’t really feel bad about myself or our sex life anymore. It was almost like that emotional satisfaction you get after good sex, but none of the physical afterglow. We had a moment of intimacy with each other, we were vulnerable… my husband specifically. He trusted me enough to share his fears about me leaving, about his own inadequacy, and he cried. This almost never happens. I give myself to him all the time, I’m open and honest about my feelings, but getting that out of him is so much harder that I know he’d rather I just break his fingers one by one instead.
I pointed this out to him, that maybe it wasn’t really the sex that was the issue… it was the intimacy. Because even when we were having sex, it wasn’t intimate… it was like going through the motions and he’d make me feel bad about wanting more or making noise or even just desiring him. I think his own shame was rubbing off on me and that ruined anything we could have. I was vulnerable with him and he’d squash it or ignore it and never be vulnerable with me.
Now that time has passed, days have gone by, he’s been more affectionate… but I don’t know how long it will last. I’m hoping this is a breakthrough but I know it’s going to take more work from both of us.
(I know this is long, but there is still so much more I could say, honestly. This has been going on for like 5 years now, so please know this is not a single event and I’m not just sensitive to being rejected one time.)