Doing Without

Being Chaste and Married is No Fun

Dear Neil: My husband and I haven’t had sex for six years now. We have been married for twenty two years, and he began to lose interest in sex two or three years after we got married.

I am an attractive women and being rejected sexually has been very difficult for me. He is not on any medication, but has been under a lot of stress and emotional turmoil for a long period of time.

I feel cheated out of a loving and warm relationship. I would have preferred sex two or three times a week. Any comments you may have would be greatly appreciated.

New York City

Dear New York: If this has been going on for six years, it is not related to any emotional turmoil or stress that your husband is going through. Most people have their ups and downs over time—they may have endured the death of a loved one, a divorce, the loss of a job, the change of careers, financial reversals and so on—but are still able to sexually function. In fact, sex is often used by both men and women as THE way to get through painful, stressful or wounding times.

Something else is going on with your husband. The most likely scenarios are:


  • The two of you are going through an enormous power struggle, and your husband is angry and withholding sex as a weapon in his fight against you.
  • Sex over a lengthy period of time, and especially with someone you are married or committed to, is just too threatening or intimidating for some people. It is too
  • intimate, if you will, because it requires closeness, vulnerability, openness and heartfulness. If this were the case with your husband, and if he is functioning normally, he is likely masturbating occasionally on his own.
  • He has found someone else who is fulfilling his sexual needs, and has decided not to tell you.
  • He is impotent. Impotence is where a man cannot get it up or keep it up long enough to successfully perform. A variety of medical treatments are now available for treating impotence. Somebody who willfully doesn’t get erect, but who is able to, is not impotent. He is actively rejecting his partner.

Whatever the reason, you are being cheated out of warmth and passion by your husband. Address this with him directly and openly. Let him know you are getting hurt, and that you’d like your sex life with him to dramatically improve.

Ask him if he would like your sex life to be different. What would he need from you in order to make it different? Is he angry with you, and if so, about what? What else would he like different in the marriage in order to be loving and passionate with you again?  For that matter, what else would you like different about the marriage in order to feel warm, loving and even lucky to have him again?

Tell him that you require things to change in the marriage, and let him know the consequences if such change is not forthcoming. An open and blunt dialogue has to occur if anything is going to be different. Quit waiting for it. Take the lead to make things different, and force the issue.

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