I don’t really like sex – but I used to?
My husband and I have been married almost 4 years. I really enjoyed sex the first year of marriage. But I don’t enjoy it anymore… I seem to not have much sex drive either… I don’t know what to do. Has anyone went through this? Any advice? I know it is discouraging to my husband so I am trying to fix things…
Thanks for sharing. I agree with the answers above – especially, if you are using hormonal birth control. We started with it and stopped it soon because of the negative side effects.
But I want to encourage you. Your 1 year of enjoyable sex should give you hope. You had it and I believe you can have it again! By coming here you have come to a good place and also shown that you are eager to correct the problem, whatever it is! So, please become active in asking and learning more here on TMB and on the other sites recommended.
I’ve been through it several times. Twice it was strictly hormonal in postpartum. I’ve been through it as a result of medication as well. If you’re taking anything, check the side effects.
I can also name a few times that it was relational. I have to feel extremely emotionally attached to have any kind of desire. If our relationship has become distant for any reason, I start feeling like I can’t have sex because he’s a virtual stranger. When that happens, I spend some time examining our relationship, figuring out why I feel distant. If the fault is mine, I do what I can to rectify it. If it’s his fault or on both of us, I initiate a conversation about how we can work together to fix it.
Marriages ebb and flow. The first couple of times it ebbs, it can be scary. At 4 years, you’re heading into the years where you’re really settling down to do the real work of what it means to be married for life. You’re already ahead of the game because you’re seeking help from people who have been there. I hope you stay on this board… I wish I had had something like this in the early years of my marriage. There’s a reason the Bible instructs older women to counsel younger women. We can learn so much from each other to boost each other up.
I also recommend the book Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski. She does an amazing job of explaining the female body and its various issues with sexual desire. It’s what saved my marriage last summer when I realized I didn’t care if I never had sex again. It’s not Christian, but a pastor and licensed therapist recommended it to me. It gave me the courage and knowledge I needed to fix the issues I was having.
Zelda (my DW) has certainly been through a version of this. Honestly, we went through a roughly 6-yr period (half of our marriage) that would qualify, where there were only a few isolated incidents had her really enjoying it. From what I understand, there are many possible reasons that could be contributing, and multiple simultaneous reasons are likely the culprits. Here’s a bulleted list of some options, many of which have been listed by others:
- Do you have responsive desire? Do you even know what it is? If not, please read up on it and see if applies to you. TMB is currently discussing it in another thread. Once you know what it is, one article Zelda and I got a lot from was Trapped Gatekeepers. That said, if you’re not enjoying sex once you get started, responsive desire may not be the issue.
- Already mentioned, but hormonal birth control. This stuff causes all sorts of problems.
- Have you had pregnancies/given birth? That can throw your body for a crazy loop for an extended time, or even permanently modify your response.
- Does your DH show you appropriate non-sexual attention inside and outside the bedroom? If not, it can be really hard to feel loved and get into it, either consciously or subconsciously. For many women, they can begin to feel like semen receptacles or masturbation devices, even if that’s not how their DH’s view it at all.
- Do either you or your DH have a pornography problem? Either past or present? Similarly, a lust/masturbation problem could cause issues. Simply put, our spouses cannot compete with unrealistic fantasies (don’t get me wrong, our spouses are better than our wildest fantasies, but they are real and not “controlled” by our brain/expectations and so may be less arousing). And if it’s your DH, it can still affect your arousal/desire through all sorts of indirect pathways.
- Do either of you, but especially you, have past sexual sin or other hurtful experiences (such as a rape/molestation)? These can subconsciously creep back to affect people at a range of times in their marriage, not just right after the wedding.
- Do you or have you read erotica or the television adaptation or equivalent? This can seriously distort your view on not just what a DH should be like but also what your response should be. You are not broken, even if your response is very different from what the female leads in erotic books or TV possess.
- The initial “honeymoon phase” and its associated phenylethylamine (PEA, a neurotransmitter) “high” may feel quite a bit different than what you experience after a few years of “routine”. This is normal, but you need to adjust to it and change your expectations.
- Are you suffering from depression or taking medication (I only mention these together because depression medications are often the cause of changes in arousal patterns, though only one of the two can be problematic too)?
- Is your DH a generous lover and does he give you appropriate attention? Are you orgasming or at least given a legitimate attempt to orgasm every single sexual session? While it may not seem fair, for many couples, there really is no other option than to serve the DW first, then move onto the DH.
I know that’s a lot of material/options. However, we can only throw out things like this unless we have more info from you (though I understand if you choose not to share).
As for a firsthand account, Zelda and I have righted our ship. It’s not the same as it used to be–missing a few things, while adding in a few others. Honestly, we were at our sexual lowest point 8-9 months ago. I had a secret porn/masturbation addiction. She pretty much did not want me to touch her, especially in non-genital areas. She told me she’d be fine going 3+ months without any sex. Oral was out in both directions. I felt like a housemaid, sperm bank, bank account, and life-insurance policy. She had never had an awake orgasm in her whole life (including 12 years of marriage plus some non-intercourse stuff for 1.5 yr before that). For us, what changed it was a near-complete overhaul of what we had–porn confession, better attention from me outside sex, improved communication, an understanding of responsive desire from both of us, and (quite frankly) buying a vibe that allowed her to O almost every time. I would describe the last few months as the best sex we’ve ever had despite her still not getting enjoyment from non-genital touch, dealing with 4 young kids, almost completely lacking OS, and having a lower frequency than we did in our first couple years. Your mileage may vary!
Just remember that “fixing” the problem doesn’t necessarily mean getting back what you used to have.
(Edited: a few typos.)
There’s many possibilities. It could be hormonal (esp from hormonal birth control). Consider talking to your doctor to rule out issues there.
It could be relational—do you communicate well, go on regular dates, and enjoy each other in other ways? Lots of good resources online like these boards, podcasts like Sexy Marriage Radio, blogs like To Love Honor and Vacuum. Or consider a few sessions with a marriage counselor. Doesn’t have to be a long term thing, more like a tube up.
It could be one of any number of things. Some things to think about which might help identify the cause(s):
Did your enjoyment of sex gradually tail off, or was it sudden? Did anything else change at the same time (e.g. moving house, changes at work, death of a loved one)?
How adventurous were you? Is it possible that you’ve essentially got bored of the same routine and need to mix things up a bit? Or that you’ve run out of new things to try?
How is the (non-sexual) side of your relationship? Are you otherwise happy?
Ditto to what the others have said, and additionally, if you have not had any children yet, have you been attempting pregnancy? Or even thinking about it or worrying that he might be thinking about it? Once sex becomes as much about reproduction as it is about connection it can mess with your head and change your responses. The pressure of wondering, “Will this be the time we conceive?” can easily distract you from pleasure, as can wondering if or suspecting he is hoping for it when you know you are not quite ready (among many other scenarios.)
Whatever is going on, this is an excellent place to be to figure things out!