Melinda’s* husband, Mark*, has slept with a couple of other women in the last two years, but the 39-year-old stay-at-home mum says she can’t blame him for straying, because she cannot have sex with him.
“I love my husband, Mark, dearly. We’ve been married for 10 years, have a young child and live a relatively comfortable life. From the outside, our marriage looks perfect. We take family holidays twice a year and enjoy spending quality time with our child.
But only Mark and I know the truth about our marriage – it is sexless. We haven’t made love in about two years because I’m battling clinical depression. To satisfy his sexual needs, he occasionally sleeps with other women.
A sexless union
Mark and I never really had an amazing sex life to begin with. Even in the early days of our marriage, we only had sex a couple of times a month. It wasn’t a huge priority for us, and when our kid was born, it became less important. Mark never really complained about it, so in my eyes it was a non-issue.
I have suffered from depression since my mid-20s. However, I wasn’t officially diagnosed until shortly after I got married, when my symptoms worsened. When my child was born, I experienced post-natal depression.
I recently started seeing a counsellor and am on medication to treat the condition, but I still have a long way to go until this demon is completely destroyed.
I can’t pinpoint the exact cause of my depression – my mother and grandmother suffered from it so maybe it runs in the family. But when I was in my early 20s, I was also emotionally and sexually abused by an ex-boyfriend. It’s hard for me to get over what I endured, and because of that, I don’t have any desire to have sex. My depression also affects other areas of my life, including my friendships and relationships with my family.
It’s hard to explain how I lost all desire to make love to my husband. One night, he tried to touch me and I recoiled. For some reason I felt afraid and disgusted that he wanted me sexually.
He didn’t understand why I reacted that way, and I couldn’t explain it to him, either, but he was pretty hurt. We didn’t talk to each other for several days after that, and when he tried to initiate sex with me again the following week, I told him I couldn’t do it.
This went on for the next two years, although it wasn’t until a few months ago that I was able to talk to my counsellor about it.
It really bothers me that I can’t satisfy my husband sexually. Even being physically intimate in other ways feels like a huge effort for me. We may hug and kiss but that’s about it, and once, when I did try to have sex with him, the sex was painful and we had to stop.