Posted in Separation / Divorce, Sex & Intimacy

Sexless Marriages are Agonising – Let’s Not Condemn People Who Have it Imposed On Them

I’m sure you have all heard by now of the man who compiled a spreadsheet of his wife’s excuses for persistently rejecting his sexual advances. While the world universally condemns yet another mere male for thinking only with his penis, I want to give an alternative view and share my own personal experience of sexless relationships. While what he did was very unhelpful, I’m not beyond believing that he did it driven to despair. I chose the opposite and ended up hurting myself emotionally.

I was with my ex-wife for over five years before we had sex. I was patient, too patient perhaps and was made to feel that my desire for her was wrong, that I should keep my thoughts to myself and when she was still a teenager, threats of mother were involved. Yes I wanted to have sex with her, but it was not all I wanted which probably partly explains why I didn’t leave her far sooner.

Why did I put up with it? Mostly because I didn’t know any better. Besides which, what were my other choices?

  • Force her – no, that’s what we call “rape” and it still counts as such in the confines of a relationship
  • Leave her – great, then I’m the pig for dumping her because she wouldn’t sleep with me

Even when we did have sex, it was rare and like the wife above – there was excuse after excuse after excuse. Either way, it would have reflected poorly on me – I’m the one with entitlement issues in that case. So I thought the only thing I thought was noble and gentlemanly to do… wait and forever if needs be without any thought for how that might affect my own happiness. I accept that we should never have stayed together in this situation, let alone get married in a hope that it might correct itself. I did try to talk to her about it but she was always dismissive. Many of the excuses listed in the spreadsheet are very familiar to me too.

Regular readers will know that I simply gave up even trying. What was the point? She clearly did not want me and when she later cheated on me, she threw it in my face that I never try to seduce her. Then I reminded her of the above and she threw it back at me again: “you should have tried harder”. No wonder I felt screwed up, no wonder my view of relationships and my own sexuality became so distorted until I learnt what a happy and fulfilling sex life look like. Mirror Image and I, because we live so far apart, have sex every night we are together… with a few exceptions. A couple of times one or both of us has not been in the mood and the other has been fine with that.

Instead of making yet another political point about “men feeling entitled to women’s bodies”, perhaps we ought to ask ourselves what purpose it serves to enforce celibacy on an unwilling partner who has such needs, whether it is a fair thing to do and whether refusing to talk about it is conducive to a happy relationship. To those who are condemning him, ask yourself whether your reaction would be condemnation towards her if she had been the one compiling the spreadsheet… or whether you would be cheering her on before accusing him of cheating on her.

EDIT: I suspected correctly (click): “So a girlfriend of mine had this awful husband. He was a nice enough guy but he didn’t pay attention to her and NEVER wanted to have sex. We knew things were bad but she was quiet about it. She’s a great girl who deserved better. Anyway, she finally got tired of his shit and filed for divorce.”

Yes, being such an awful husband and a nice guy at the same time. I guess women are entitled to mens’ bodies but not the other way around.



I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

10 thoughts on “Sexless Marriages are Agonising – Let’s Not Condemn People Who Have it Imposed On Them

    1. I asked that question in the final sentence 😉 I imagine it would be quite different because while he should respect her needs in the bedroom, for those that are condemning him now (I would guess) will see no reason why that should be reciprocated.

      1. Heh, well I guess I got distracted by the link. But I imagine it that far and wide, women would it find it hilarious. Except when the shoe’s on the other foot – then it’s outrageous.

  1. Chin, I think our exes should go bowling together sometime.

    I too was in a mostly-sexless marriage. It was there early on in the relationship, then the sex got more and more scarce. When it did happen, I had trouble performing. While I was going through all the possible medical/psychological possibilities: anxiety, low testosterone, erectile dysfunction; she began to question my sexuality. Obviously,this alone wasn’t the downfall of my marriage but it sure didn’t help save it either.

    1. I remember us discussing this before on my post on performance anxiety. I’m glad we have both managed to find rewarding sex lives.

      My ex never questioned my sexuality, but she did question my sex drive (which I think on reflection is normal) and desire for her, conveniently forgetting her actions over those years.

  2. If you looked at the reactions on reddit, you would see the reactions were all over the place, most of which were saying this couple was immature and needed better communication. He sent that to her to break up with her, which probably pissed her off and that’s why she posted it online. They both look stupid in this situation. The main people that were chastising him were female bloggers, using his passive aggressive spreadsheet to make a point.
    I do think sex should be part of an intimate relationship. Otherwise, why bother? Just be friends. But some women get into relationships for other reasons (other than being physically attracted to the guy). That sucks that you’re wife tried to put the blame on you instead of being honest with herself and you about what was going on. Again, if you can’t be honest and intimate (not just physically) with your partner, than why bother?

    1. I agree that neither of them come off very well here.

      As I’ve said before, my ex and I should never have got married – we were already showing signs of being closer to brother and sister. That’s how we act now when we meet up (every few months or so). But if the passion was there for this couple and then dried up, they really should have communicated it. Perhaps he did try to talk to her (as I did with my ex) and perhaps he was at the end of his tether. Fact is, we do not have the whole story so it is both pointless and arrogant to condemn either of them.

      1. No we don’t know the whole story BUT, we do know he made this spreadsheet and then she posted it online. Just those two actions alone shows these two aren’t mature enough to handle a real relationship and the real problems that come up.
        But then again, who is?

        1. Absolutely (on all points).

          At 26, they haven’t really found themselves yet and if either thought that their actions were the right way to handle things then they both have a lot of growing up to do.

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