From The Straits Times    |

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“When Anthony and I were in the early stages of our relationship, the sex was good. We weren’t exactly swinging from the chandeliers, but our lovemaking was always fulfilling. Things didn’t change much when we got married. Although we were both busy with our work and home renovations, we still managed to have sex twice or thrice a week. As far as I was concerned, we both loved sex and nothing was wrong with either of us, physically or emotionally, that affected our ability to have sex.”


The pain of sexual rejection

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“Our sex life changed overnight, literally. Little did I know that when we made love that one evening two years ago, it would be our last time being sexually intimate with each other. In fact, for the last two years, my husband hasn’t even touched me in a sexual manner.


“Anthony was always the one who initiated sex with me, but after a couple of weeks I noticed that he was no longer doing that, so one night, I reached over to him to let him know that I was in the mood to make love. Instead of reciprocating he gently pushed my hand away and said, ‘Not tonight, I don’t feel like it’. I was a little upset but didn’t say anything, assuming that he was just tired.


“A couple of weeks passed. Twice more I tried to initiate sex with him and got the same response. When I asked him what was wrong, he said he ‘wasn’t feeling sexual’. By now I was really hurt by his refusal to have sex with me.


“The sexual rejection continued over the next few months. Eventually I gave up initiating sex because I knew the reaction I’d get. Deep down, I was angry, hurt and confused. My husband didn’t even want to be naked with me – what was his problem?”


An argument and an apology

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“Before I knew it, I realised my husband and I hadn’t had sex for almost a year. Up to that point, all I’d gotten were responses like ‘Not tonight’ and ‘I don’t want to’, but every time I asked why, he would shrug and say ‘Just because’. I was sick of hearing that. I tried everything I could to ‘seduce’ him>, from wearing sexy lingerie around the house to sending him erotic text messages and sexually provocative photos of myself. They didn’t work – he either never responded or would laugh and tell me that I was being silly. And after a while, I did feel silly doing all those things because I wasn’t getting the reaction I wanted.


“One morning I blurted out, ‘I don’t know why we’re not having sex but I know it’s not normal. Do you want to talk about it?’ I didn’t expect my husband’s reaction – he lashed out, saying that he just wasn’t interested in sex right now and telling me that I had to accept it. When I told him that our marriage had turned into something platonic, he got angry and stormed out of the house, leaving me in tears.


“He returned a couple of hours later. He apologised for yelling at me and told me that I needed to be patient with him. He said that he was having some emotional problems but refused to tell me what they were, and reassured me that we would have sex again when the time was right. Then he hugged me and said that everything would be okay. He didn’t explain further and I left the conversation feeling more confused than ever.”



The emptiness of a sexless marriage

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“Since that talk, I’ve pretended to act like everything’s fine, even though I know that what I’m dealing with isn’t right. There’s clearly a huge elephant in the room – I don’t understand how my husband can continue to talk to me about other things like his job and family and not feel like something’s inherently wrong with our relationship.


“They say that sex is what keeps a couple close and I agree with that. Over the last two years I’ve become distant from my husband. I feel like I don’t know him as well as I should. What we have seems more like a friendship and sometimes it feels like we’re just roommates. But, don’t get me wrong, I still love him and am hoping that things will change soon.


“Despite my love for Anthony, I do feel empty and lonely. I long for that intimate sexual connection, I miss being touched and made love to, and I yearn for the closeness I felt towards him when we used to have sex. Sometimes when I’m alone, I break down whenever I think that I will never experience any of that with him again. It hurts more than I let on.”


Sticking by her man

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“I’ve opened up to a few friends about what I’m dealing with. They all think I’m crazy for putting up with a man who refuses to have sex with me and have encouraged me toseek counselling for myself. One friend told me that I should give Anthony an ultimatum. While I’ve received some good advice, I feel powerless to act on any of it because I feel like this is Anthony’s call.


“I drive myself bonkers wondering what emotional issues my husband has that are keeping him from having sex with me. I know he’s not under any work or financial stress; he hasn’t isolated himself from his friends; and I don’t think he has any baggage from his childhood or previous relationships. I think I’m most angry about the fact that he won’t tell me what’s wrong. I’m a good wife, and if he were suffering from serious emotional problems I would do my best to help him through them. But until he opens up about what’s bothering him to begin with, I can’t do much.


“I don’t have plans to leave Anthony. I love him too much, and, despite the lack of sex, he’s a great husband. He’s there for me when I need emotional support, and deep down I know he’s a good, loving man. Besides, I can’t imagine being married to anybody else. I just wish he understood how this problem has affected me. Maybe sometime in the future I’ll have to decide how to deal with this, but right now I’m sticking by him and crossing my fingers that our sexual drought will end soon.”


*Names have been changed