I believe they define a “sexless marriage” as one where the couple engages in sex fewer than 10 times per year.

I guess that places me in the category of a “really sexless marriage,” given my wife and I average having sex maybe three or four times annually, and at one point were together only once within a single year.

Like most couples that have been together as long as my wife and I have, your intimate relationship is always going to ebb and flow a bit, but this is without a doubt the longest we have been in this particular ebb.

To say I have spent a lot of time thinking about the reasons for this over the last 4-5 years would be an understatement, to put it mildly.

While I haven’t been able to find the proverbial “smoking gun,” I have drawn a few conclusions:

This Is Not All Her Fault

I don’t blame my wife for the current state of intimacy in our marriage. If she has lost interest in me then it most likely is because I am not giving her something she needs in our relationship and it’s slowly eroded any romantic feelings she may have had for me in the past.

I think somewhere deep down she still wants to have those feelings.

RELATED: I Wish My Wife Knew How Much I Love Having Sex With Her

The last time we were together was about five months ago. I was trying to be creative and playful and emailed her some “instructions” to follow, which included texting me when she was in bed and “ready” for me. I was very happily surprised when I got that text message later that evening.

She could have easily ignored the message or just said, “Not tonight,” but to her credit, she played along and while not everything went according to plan, we still had an opportunity for some intimacy.

Sometimes I Just Stop Trying

We have only been together three times in the last 14 months.

That certainly sounds depressing, but what’s even more depressing is I have probably only tried initiating intimacy 5-6 times over that time period, so I guess if you just looked at this like a batter’s average, it wouldn’t be too bad.

This is pretty much the same story year after year after year.

I am afraid to approach my wife for intimacy.

I guess ultimately, it’s due to fear of rejection but not simply a rejection for that night but the fear she’s going to tell me she’s simply no longer interested in being with me.

But again, this is my hang-up—not hers.

On all three occasions we have been together over the past 14 months, she was most certainly a willing partner and at least gave the impression she enjoyed it, so that doesn’t seem like someone who’s lost all interest in being together.

Sometimes I Try Too Hard

The other side of this coin, though, is that often I found myself trying too hard.

All three of the times we have been together over the last year have had some seductive notion to them.

One time I told her I had written an erotic story I wanted to read aloud to her.

The next time was an invitation for a sensual massage.

The most recent time was acting out this text message seduction scene from an erotic short story I had recently read.

Nothing wrong with any of these precursors to being together, but it’s gotten to the point where I feel it’s necessary, and the only way to try and coax her into my arms at the end of the day. I can’t recall the last time I simply followed her up to bed, cuddled up beside her, and told her I wanted her.

RELATED: Sorry Men, Sex is Not a Reward

I Never Asked Her What She Wants

Over these “sexless” years, I have sent my wife quite a few long letters/emails discussing how much I miss the intimacy in our lives, but the one thing I have come to realize recently is I haven’t really spent much time asking her what she wants out of the relationship.

Sure, I have made a few passive-aggressive comments to the effect of I don’t want to keep chasing after you if you’re not interested in me anymore, so just let me know and I’ll leave you alone, but I never came right out and asked her (outside of being in the throes of passion) if she enjoys it when I touch her.

I never asked her what intimate things she really enjoys and how to best pleasure her.

I never asked her if she enjoys pleasuring me and what she likes to do to me, or with me.

I never asked her if some nights she may just want to cuddle but avoids it because she thinks I’ll automatically assume or expect it will lead to sex.

So Now What?

When I look at these three insights, they all seem to speak to the same thing:

Communication is key, and if we can’t be open and honest in discussing this then maybe there is a lot more missing from our relationship than just intimacy.

Maybe at the end of the day, that’s my biggest fear. The fear that I am slowly losing the love of my life and I may have nobody to blame but myself.

RELATED: I Love My Wife Even When I Don’t Feel Like It

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Robert

I'm a 50 year old married father of 3 sharing my experiences navigating through the maze of mid-life. Tacking issues about marriage, parenting, career, politics and social injustices in the world. My only guarantee with my writing is honesty. These thoughts and feelings are my own and often very personal but I share so that we can all learn from one another and pay it forward with our experiences and insights.

Once Upon a Time You Got All of Me

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Husband and wife on wedding day, color photo

First there was us, and now it’s them. We have four little hands that need us, and it’s so hard to get lost in parenthood and forget that at once upon a time it was me and you. I promise you, it won’t always be like this. It won’t always be this hard. I remember when we would go for leisurely walks and long Sunday brunches. Now it takes us an hour to leave the house for a 15-minute walk. I want so badly to spend hours lying in bed, talking like we used to, but now I’m so tired...

Keep Reading

I Hold the Hand of a Hardworking Man

In: Marriage
Wife and husband holding hands, color photo

I’m blessed to be married to a blue-collar man—he carries our burdens and worries on strong shoulders and our hopes and dreams in his hard-working hands. Those hands keep the bills paid and a roof over our heads, but it doesn’t come without sacrifice—long days gone, mud on my floors, sawdust in pockets, and grit and grime in my sink, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s living his dream, and I’m cheering him on, doing my best to hold down the fort we call home. Beaten and battered, scarred and weathered, these hands are still gentle enough...

Keep Reading

What Happens When She Wants Another Baby and He Does Not?

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Husband and wife, pregnancy photo, color photo

I am on my knees, folded over, with my head resting on the carpet. I am in my closet, which doesn’t see much of the vacuum, and it is the only place I can find to sob out of sight. I feel hollowed out and defeated as if I have run a marathon and was cut short at the finish line. I cry out in prayer, pleading with God to soften the heart of my husband. I desperately want another child, and he desperately does not. I take a deep breath and dry my eyes because my 4-year-old outside the...

Keep Reading

Is Your Marriage on Cruise Control?

In: Faith, Marriage
Couple holding hands in car, above view

Cruising down the road, the highway curled before us like a ribbon into the horizon. Cozy road trips are a staple for my husband and me, and we look forward to the time together. Having been married for 37 years the adventure continues! We have loved each other through the ups and downs, and we have learned a lot about relationships. We also made a point of carefully watching successful relationships and surrounding ourselves with those whose marriages flourished. Nowadays, we have many young couples ask us what it takes to keep a marriage vibrant. One of the key ingredients...

Keep Reading

It’s Never Really about the Purse

In: Marriage
Purse sitting on counter, color photo

Last night, I lost my mind when you asked if I could try to keep my purses put away. You weren’t unkind. You weren’t upset. You even put the offending purse away for me. But asking me to put it away wasn’t the problem. It was the timing. I was gone all weekend hosting some writing friends for a mini writing retreat. I was home one day trying to catch up on all the things one gets behind on: laundry, groceries, and cleaning. The next day the kids had off school, so I took them to the museum for the...

Keep Reading

You’ve Never Stopped Loving Me

In: Marriage
The Worst of Me

My favorite picture of our wedding makes me sad. It sits on the top shelf in our living room. Next to it, is a seashell my dad gave my mom when they used to be married. There’s a rolled-up newspaper and a mishmash of toys next to it. In it, your hair is thicker; my body is younger. In it, are people who stood next to us that day, loved us, introduced us—some we no longer talk to. In it, I’m laughing and holding my best friend’s hand. That sunny day in Mexico surrounded by 99 of our most important...

Keep Reading

Every Type A Needs a Type B Person in Their Life

In: Friendship, Living, Marriage
Friends smiling

I spend a lot of time making lists, whether they are in my head, written on a piece of paper, or on my phone and laptop. Lists about what needs to be done today, later this week, or even a few months down the road. Even when I check off all the items on my list, more things pop up. There are always things demanding my attention. Initially, I thought having a list—or multiple lists—was a good thing. I felt organized and in charge of things. But when the lists started creeping their way into other facets of my life,...

Keep Reading

The L Is on the Mantel

In: Living, Marriage
Mantel showing Christmas decorations

This holiday season has been a little more exciting, stressful, chaotic, sleepless, and wonderful than any I can remember aside from the one when John and I were engaged and the four that welcomed our new babies to their first Christmases. In early November, we took a ride to look at a house I had seen online. It seemed promising from the description:  smaller yard, main floor laundry, an open floor plan, a direct route to our youngest child, her husband, and our youngest grandboys: an 8-year-old and his twin 3-year-old brothers. For the first time in recent home searches,...

Keep Reading

We Cope with the Stress

In: Living, Marriage
Woman on horse, black-and-white photo

We handle it differently. The stress. It’s the sight that initiates it. That dry brown ground. I start at a simmer, anger quickly rising up. Soon, I am at a rolling boil, and then I explode. Tears streaming down my face, I scream out my frustrations and end up dredging up every hurtful thing that has ever happened. I am rip-roaring mad at the entire world. I have been told I am too emotional like it is a badge of dishonor “Knock it off.” “Get your act together.” “Hold it together.” But it is just who I am.  He knows...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, Thanks for Keeping Me Calm at Christmas

In: Marriage
Selfie of man and woman

Dear Husband, Thank you for being my constant in this seasonal chaos. I’m riding the roller coaster of emotions this time of year. One minute I’m calm, and the next, mom rage roars like a caged lion. Keeping our home in order, my health, work demands, kids’ practices and activities, gift exchanges, doctor appointments, organizing Christmas lists, and ensuring the holidays are magical and sweet have kept my plate overflowing. RELATED: Moms Do It All in December and It’s Exhausting Yet you’ve been a constant even when we’ve been exhausted and pressed each other’s buttons. Even when we’ve felt the...

Keep Reading