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No Desire for Physical Contact of Any Kind

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From the U.S.: Why don’t I feel any desire at all for physical contact with my boyfriend of 3 years? We are both divorced, in our 40’s, have kids from previous marriages, and are both Christians. We decided early on not to have sex, but after a month or so, we gave in. This lasted a few months, then we backed off.

For a while (close to a year), things were fine–we acted like a normal couple. We’d hold hands, kiss, hug, etc.. but we’d never let it get too far. For the past year, I’ve become extremely distant with him in the area of any physical contact. I can’t figure out why. I still think he’s a great guy, he would give me the world if he could, all of our kids and families would LOVE to see us get married, and I know he’d take excellent care of me. I don’t have a doubt he’d treat me like a queen. Most women would die for this. I simply cannot figure out what my problem is. We enjoy doing things we’ve always done–dinner, ballgames, community events, etc., but when it comes to any idea of anything physical, I’m turned off completely.

This has been the case for about a year or so now and I can’t figure out why. Nothing happened really to bring this on–it just….”died” in me somehow. It’s to the point that I’m stressed over seeing him becuase I know he’ll want to hug me or kiss me or hold my hand….and I’m just not feeling it. It’s not fair to him, and I realize the problem lies with me.

I pray every day for me to love him like he deserves to be loved, and I just don’t understand. It’s obviously causing a strain.
He’s very patient and says he’ll wait for me to come around. I don’t deserve that. I WANT to come around and get back to being able to act like a girlfriend (and eventual wife), but I just don’t have it in me to even think like that right now.

No Desire for Physical Contact of Any Kind

Answered by on -

A.

I don’t have enough information to give you much of an answer. I can only make a very tentative guess.

You see, I have to wonder why two adults in their 40s who love each other would decide not to have sex. That decision is where I think the problem begins. Of course you “gave in” and had sex. Why shouldn’t you? Sex is a normal and natural and important part of connecting intimately with someone you love. But for some reason you can’t let yourself be intimate and you feel bad if you “slip.”

It makes sense that tension would develop between what your body and emotions want and what your mind has decided it won’t do. A resolution to the discomfort of that tension is to shut down entirely, which you apparently did. That brings me back to my original question: Why on earth would two adults in their 40s give up on sex when they love each other?

For an answer to that question and perhaps to resolve it, I think you need to see a therapist who can hear the whole story and who can perhaps help you make peace with being sexual human beings. I hope the two of you will do that. People who love each other deserve the pleasure and satisfaction that comes with being close and sexually intimate with each other.

I wish you well,
Dr. Marie

No Desire for Physical Contact of Any Kind

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). No Desire for Physical Contact of Any Kind. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/04/15/no-desire-for-physical-contact-of-any-kind/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.