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Thread: Need advice regarding lack of sex

  1. #1

    Need advice regarding lack of sex

    This will be a fairly long, multi-faceted post. A lot of it will just be venting, but if anyone has any bright ideas about any particular point, I'd be happy to hear about it.

    Background: My fiance and I have been together for almost 2 years, and have had the most amazing and healthy relationship I've ever had (sex issues aside). She's smart, caring, sweet, actually talks about issues and communicates, is fun, isn't jealous and doesn't stifle my independence, and is just all around amazing. She'd done some sexual things with previous partners, but never had actual sex (for a number of reasons). Our first time was almost a year ago, and I knew that it would be a process for her to get into the swing of things, but I feel like in that year almost no progress has been made, and we still only have sex maybe 1-2 times a month, which is brutal for me (I need at least once a week, but do best with more than that).

    Problems:
    1: She was abused by her brother as a young pre-teen. There are still some scars from that, some demons she needs to face, but I don't know how to help with that.
    2: Her mom is SUPER conservative. Pretty sure she has some latent sex shame issues. Not sure how bad or deep they are, or how much this plays into the overall picture, but I feel it must contribute at least a little bit.
    3: Her sister got pregnant relatively young and out of wed-lock, and her parents were incredibly devastated and disappointed. To the point where my fiance is even more afraid of getting pregnant than she would be otherwise (which is normally a fairly healthy fear, to a point). We take ALL of the precautions (birth control, condom, AND pulling out, though she's considering swapping out condom use for getting an IUD), but it still makes her anxious sometimes.
    4: Her job is insanely stressful. Like, some weeks it straight crushes her soul. This is probably the biggest issue, as it not only would crush her libido even if there weren't other things going on, but it makes it pretty much impossible for her to face any of her other issues. She's experiencing serious burnout, needs to change areas, if possible, but she's kind of trapped (which leads to more stress, and occasionally depression). I feel like this is priority #1, but I'm not sure what we can actually do about it.
    5: I cannot please her. It's never been an issue for me before, but she's just... very different, and I haven't been able to figure anything out, and she doesn't know enough about herself to help me. So we're kind of exploring this together, but not getting anywhere. She finds her clit being rubbed ticklish and doesn't like it, she doesn't hate being eaten out but it doesn't do anything for her either. I feel like she enjoys penetration most, but it gets uncomfortable before she gets off (or I get off too soon... Maybe once she gets the IUD there are some things we can try to help in this arena, but that's a bridge we'll have to cross later).
    6: Probably tied into #5 is that I can't turn her on. She likes making out, and being touched, but at the same time it doesn't do anything for her on a sexual level. She doesn't like her neck being kissed (also ticklish, apparently), but I can't make her go from "meh" to "dammit I want you" which is another thing I've never experienced in a relationship before, and is frustrating for me.
    7: When I get super frustrated, I start to find normally sweet things annoying, and things that turn me on even just a little bit become an exercise in extreme frustration. She picks up on this, and it's another thing I have no idea what to do about.

    What I do (and don't do, to the best of my ability)
    1: Be supportive and patient. I try my absolute best not to make her feel obligated to do anything, tell her that we should only have sex when we both want to, and not just because I'm sexually frustrated or whatever. Problem is no matter how hard I try to suppress it, disassociate from it, and take care of it with masturbation (which helps little for me since emotions are a big part of it for me, not just physical), she can still pick up on the subtle changes in my mood when it's really driving me nuts, and that makes her feel bad, which makes her feel obligated to take care of my needs, which of course makes her not really want to. It's a nasty cycle that I don't know what to do about.
    2: Be accepting of her feelings, all of them. She of course cried the first couple times, and apologized for it, and I'd just hold her and tell her it's ok and that she has nothing to apologize for. She's not weird for feeling the way she does, and it's not weird to feel a wide gamot of feelings during and after. I feel like we've actually made incredible progress in this arena, but having sex still makes her feel vulnerable and lets all kinds of emotions loose (good and bad both), and I think that it's simultaneously cathartic and scary. She says she feels, and seems to genuinely feel safe with me, emotionally and physically both, so I'm not sure how much this might play into her lack of libido, but there it is.
    3: Love her always, and try to show it in non-physical ways. We bought a home together last February, and I do my best to pull my weight and be a handy man. I ask her about her day, give her hugs, tell her she means the world to me, take her out on dates, hold hands, and snuggle with her (although the snuggles get admittedly difficult for me when the sexual frustration starts to run super high).
    4: Not expect anything. I don't do any of #3 because I want sex, I do them because I care about her. I think no matter what I do or say though, she feels like I do those things so she'll have sex with me, and that perception doesn't help matters any.

    She's very much a physical touch and words of affirmation love language kind of person. I've never met someone so into physical touch as their love language who has such a low libido. A little alcohol will always crank her libido into overdrive (though we've literally never had drunk sex), which I feel might be very telling in a number of ways. I feel like she'd be right there with me once she can get her work-life balance a little more under control and then start to deal with some of her demons, but I'm struggling with how to maintain my sanity and patience while waiting for those things to be a reality. My needs aren't being met, and she knows that, and we've talked about it, but I feel that I can't really talk with her about it because it makes her feel bad and does more harm than good. I can't talk with anyone I know about it because it's none of their business and even those closest in my life that I'd tell pretty much anything this just feels like an awkward topic to me. So here I am, venting to the internet and hoping for some good advice. I'm figuring we'll probably need to see a specialized therapist at some point, just not sure yet how I'm going to decide on when. She has just recently started seeing a therapist about her work situation and burnout, so yeah... One step at a time, and the other demons will have to wait for now.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    It's possible that it's all because of childhood trauma and upbringing. It's possible that it's because of work stress. It's also possible that these are just highly plausible excuses and that she is simply asexual. Either way, it's not about you in terms of being able to do whatever for her. If she has demons in her mind, then that's what it's about and you can't fix that. She HAS to seek help for that herself and she has to want to fix that for herself. Which takes me back to being asexual - she might not be motivated to fix that because she doesn't have any drive to begin with.

    Even if you eliminate problems 1 & 2, there is not guarantee that you won't run straight into problem 3.

    Basically, what you see is what you get. Now, can you live with that assuming NOTHING will ever change or get better and can potentially get worse?

  3. #3
    A question I ask myself frequently. I so far think yes, but... I dunno, it's a tough call. She checks literally every box I could have ever wanted in a woman, to a ridiculous degree, except for the (loves sex) one. Which is a big one, but... Man, I can't imagine having a better relationship with anyone else. I really don't think #3 is the case though. Before the first time we had sex, she actually would get turned on, almost to an impressive degree. She'd get incredibly wet, and would have to stop things before she wanted to have me too badly while still not yet ready. It wasn't until after the first time that that all changed. I kind of expected it too, as well. Now, I suppose it's possible she's asexual, but I think it more likely that sex has unburied a bunch of stuff. I think she does want to fix those things, she just doesn't have the time or energy currently.

    But, maybe too that's just wishful thinking and I'll have to come to terms with things being as they are.

  4. #4
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    When you say her brother abused her - was this sexual abuse?

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  6. #5
    Originally Posted by MissCanuck
    When you say her brother abused her - was this sexual abuse?
    Yes. I don't really know the details though.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    It sounds like you are doing all you can and being patient with it all. What about a lot of nonsexual touch? Like arm around her watching a movie? What about getting her used to things like a massage but not leading to sex at first. This may help her equate your touch with pleasure more. It does sound like some damage baggage from home is holding her back.

  8. #7
    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    It sounds like you are doing all you can and being patient with it all. What about a lot of nonsexual touch? Like arm around her watching a movie? What about getting her used to things like a massage but not leading to sex at first. This may help her equate your touch with pleasure more. It does sound like some damage baggage from home is holding her back.
    Nonsexual touch has never been a problem. Even before she was "ready" for sex she was totally fine showering together, snuggling, hand on leg in the car or at a movie, snuggling on the couch, she doesn't even seem to mind me feeling her up or grabbing her butt at all. Also given her plenty of massages (that never lead to sex... They don't turn her on, I don't think they ever would lead to sex). Hell, before we started having sex, stripping off shirts during make-outs was fairly regular, and seemed totally fine, and we'd always get super riled up before showers. But now that we've started having sex, it's almost like she doesn't like any of that other stuff for fear of it leading to sex? Or not wanting to frustrate me or seem like a tease by doing those things then saying no? I've told her it's fine, but there's something there that she needs to deal with. Dunno, it's all very alien to me, which makes it difficult to know what to do except be patient and loving =/ The lack of ability to talk about it kills me though, and makes me feel a little trapped as well.

  9. #8
    Originally Posted by Dartanian
    Nonsexual touch has never been a problem. Even before she was "ready" for sex she was totally fine showering together, snuggling, hand on leg in the car or at a movie, snuggling on the couch, she doesn't even seem to mind me feeling her up or grabbing her butt at all. Also given her plenty of massages (that never lead to sex... They don't turn her on, I don't think they ever would lead to sex). Hell, before we started having sex, stripping off shirts during make-outs was fairly regular, and seemed totally fine, and we'd always get super riled up before showers. But now that we've started having sex, it's almost like she doesn't like any of that other stuff for fear of it leading to sex? Or not wanting to frustrate me or seem like a tease by doing those things then saying no? I've told her it's fine, but there's something there that she needs to deal with. Dunno, it's all very alien to me, which makes it difficult to know what to do except be patient and loving =/ The lack of ability to talk about it kills me though, and makes me feel a little trapped as well.
    She sounds a lot like my ex-wife. I thought that I had found my lifetime partner. We shared a lot of the same interests and views on life. She was intelligent, well-read, well-spoken. Quite an attractive woman. When we started having sex it was great. She would often initiate.
    We married about a year after we met. First warning sign: in the shower she suddenly said, “You’re just like my first husband. He thought he could touch me whenever he wanted “. Sex began to drop off drastically within a few months. We were together fourteen years. Towards the end of the marriage it was down to once a year, maybe. Any physical contact was met with barrier signals.
    She had not been abused when she was younger, that I know of. But she had had a lot of sex in high school because “that’s what was expected of you”. Don’t think she derived any pleasure from it. Apparently her previous relationships had followed the same course as our marriage. I came to the conclusion that she was mostly asexual. She had expressed interest in a lesbian relationship before we met so that might be part the equation also.
    She stayed in our relationship because of the financial security.
    I realize I’ve not given you much of an answer just maybe something to think about.


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