Married to a man with a low libido

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. Dear … I live in one small European country and my english is not as good as I would like to be, so please try to understand what I wanted to say, even if it is written in bad english. I found myself in a dificult situation with my marriage, and my sexual needs. I am married for 4 years, we have adorable 18 month old son. When we first met, my husband and I had passionate relationship, things were fine emotionaly and in every other way. When, after 6 month of relationship we started to live together, my husband started to neglect me sexualy, emotionaly and in any other way. We had sex exclusivly on my iniciative. It frustrated me, but passion and my unfortunate need for sex kept me doing it. In his previous relationship they had sex extreemly rare, and he thought it was her fault, but the longer we lived together, the more obvious it became to me that he had his part in it, if I can judge by our relationship. He used to tell I was the most beautiful women, that he never, even on movies, saw such a body, he told he could’t help himself saying to his best friend how great lover I am, how happy he is, etc. But at the same time he almost never iniciated sex, and as the time was passing by, he even rejected my iniciative. After he came back from work, he would sleep, than sit in front a tv, and eat, and watch tv, or surf on the net until it was time to go to sleep. At that time he was in a stresfull business period, or better put ?€? in a depressing situation he himself choose ?€? he worked with his controlling, unreasonable father. So he kept apologizing himself by the stresses of work. When I used to tell that he is sexualy rejecting me ?€? he wasn’t even aware of it. After a series fights, he admitted what he thought of sex: women has all the power over sex, they can have sex anytime, which puts pressure on men; so he never goes with iniciative, he hates being rejected, so for him is sexy when women wants him, and the part of his game is putting off sex, which made him feel wanted, sexy, in control. Sometimes he would start kissing with me (after my iniciative), and than go to kitchen eat something, or watch tv, and only after a while he would go back to me. I tried to explain him that it is okey as a part of the game, but that it makes me feel rejected, unwanted, humiliated and that I need to be in a position of a wanted partner. He told he would keep that in mind, but his fear of rejection was stronger and his iniciative was either so indirect that I wouldn’t even notice he wants me, or so direct that I felt forced to have sex. I think I explained him million times what I want, what kinds of touch I prefer, but he would forget it in few days. But again, I married him, I thought it is just a mild missunderstanding, and that we can handle it… after wedding things got worse, not only sexualy, but in other way because he was still deeply connected with his parents, whose money was object of blackmails of different kinds, but he wasn’t able to see that, not to mention fight it and reject that money. He wasn’t helping me when baby come; I had cesarian section and I had do it all by myself, and he refused to get payed help ?€? because his parents wanted to help and they would be angry if we hire someone else. At the same time my in laws didn’t want to help in my house; they insisted that we move in their house ?€? that is better and easier for them. I somehow handle first month, but I was hurt. Not to make this letter too long, I will just tell I am disapointed in him as husband, lover and partly as a father (he loves his son, they have loving relationship, but he is not taking care of things, he just plays with him in the house, not having iniciative if I don’t ask him to go to the park or so), his financial dependence on his parents hurt me in many ways already; he is not caring about anything ?€? I take care of our house, baby, finances, I plan going out, having dinner or watch a movie, I do evertything about our new house ?€? I choose, pay, make deals, control the workers ?€? he is just oposing, criticising my opinions. His financial iresponsability made me secretly from him invest, buy real estate (I had great opportunity), etc. Because in his family they hate solutions and plans realized, he is used to drama, oposing; that is what makes him alive ?€? if he is in a position to oppose to some decision, to make compromises that maybe aren’t important to him, but that position of making difference definetly is. I decided to stay married for at least some time because I am not in a position, financialy and acording to other realities of my life (my child wakes up several times at night sometimes, he is very smart and gifted child that needs lots of care ?€? pediatritians told us we have to watch him and enable him schooling and care to direct his gifts, I work in science in a very demanding field, in this town I don’t have my relatives of parents to help me out with such a small child) and last but not least ?€? I want my child to have a home and both parents at least in his eary childhood, since my husband is not violent, he is basicaly polite and loves him. Even my psychologist told me (after we tried couple therapy and after a while he decided that our marriage is solved and no need to go on with it) that divorce would make him react probably worst than now and divorce wouldn’t make my life better. I don’t want to leave this town because here I have satisfying career, and here are his parents with money and violent primitive idea of women’s need to sacrifice in order to save family. Her advice is to stay married, but in my heart and mind behave as if I was free. He basicaly lives next to me, he never has iniciative to do something together (only fight about investments, houses, decisions of selling and buying houses ?€? so I hide it from him, and no fighting, no problems, only profit for my family ?€? it’s my son’s colledge money and my retirement fond) so it’s realy easy to live as if I wasn’t married. I try to find other things in life that make me happy. But, there’s always one but round the corner, I have realy strong libido, and one of the reasons I got involved with him was his strong libido (that dissapeared when we started to live together, and got married) because I have hard time dealing with apstinency. During the day it’s okay, but in the morning I have such a bad feeling of half depression, half of physical frustration, I feel low energy and strange, unpleasant feeling in my genital area. This feeling I know from my previous apstinency periods. I have strong libido, but I never was promiscous; I don’t care just for sex, but for all other aspects of emotional and sensual life. My husband would make love with me if I ask him to, but since it is always on my iniciative, and without his caring and loving support through the rest of the day, I started to feel ugly, smelly, unatractive, humiliated, and if I was getting pitty sex. Fortunately, I know that I am very good looking women, I know I am sexy, nice etc. I don’t fall into depressions or self-resentment or so, but I just got sick from the sex that my husband provides me. BTW no talk with him can solve problem, trust me. No way, no more, even our therapist says so… she tried to save marriage focusing on things that we both care of, which is child, and sadly ?€? big house… My question is how to deal with my sexual frustration? Is there any medications, food, meditation? I have to be honest and tell that I would have an affair, but not with anyone, anywhere, anyhow ?€? and it is not something you go out one day and find around the corner ?€? it happends or not. I want normal sex life, with person who apprecisiates me and takes care of my emotions and needs, not just NSA sex. But what to do until I find lover, or if I never find one? How to deal with my so strong libido and consequences of frustration?

A. You need good marriage counseling. If you hired a plumber who did not fix the leak in the bathroom, would you simply think no plumber could fix the leak and that you need a new bathroom?

Not all therapists are equally talented. Some are very, very good, most are average and some are not good at all. You have many issues and as long as you and your spouse are willingly to try counseling you have a very real hope of solving your problems. You are very confused about your choices and their correctness. Believe me a sexual affair with another man will only worsen the quality of relationship you have with your husband.

I know you are upset and feeling as if you have few options but please recognize that every counselor is different and their ability to help you will vary greatly. I am very optimistic that good counseling can produce for you a very acceptable relationship by your own standards. Good luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Nov 2006

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2006). Married to a man with a low libido. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/11/27/married-to-a-man-with-a-low-libido/