Sex when you don’t want to

    I am aware of some here who have learned to give themselves to their spouse for sex even when they have zero desire for it themselves. As a selfish person myself, I am very impressed with those who do this and I’m very curious how you are able to consistently do it?  How do you avoid feeling “used?”  Do you ever battle resentment? Do you usually find that it is pleasurable even though you didn’t desire it at the beginning?  Do you ever feel you’re “acting” to make it pleasurable for your spouse?  Were there unexpected benefits from learning to do so?

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      How do you avoid feeling “used?”  

      Remembering it is my choice. Fixing my eyes on Christ and keeping things in His perspective.  Keeping the mindset to love my husband.  When I feel used, I realize my focus has turned back onto myself.

      I can say, that my husband’s actions outside of the bedroom, make a big difference on how easy or difficult this battle for the right focus and attitude is.  If he is loving me and trying to meet my needs, it’s so much easier to freely give. When he is negligent of me and then only shows up at sex-time, it feels more like he is taking, which leads to the “used” feeling.


      Do you ever battle resentment?

      I have felt it creeping in, but I nip it in the bud.  Resentment says more about me (or the harborer) than the other person.  Resentment is a sign of unforgiveness, which will lead to bitterness if we let it take root.  We have to live a lifestyle of forgiveness.


      Do you usually find that it is pleasurable even though you didn’t desire it at the beginning?  

      Yes, that is the majority of the time for me.  “Responsive desire” defines me.  It’s been hard for me to remember that, and I have kicked myself more than once, because in my feelings of a “lack of desire” at the start, I make sure he knows it’s about him and don’t worry about me, and then things start and I realized I spoke too soon and should have kept my mouth shut.


      Do you ever feel you’re “acting” to make it pleasurable for your spouse?  

      The only time I have felt like I am acting, is when I do things against my nature.  For example, I am a major internal processor. I do my thinking and processing all inside.  I even got mad at my internet provider because when I call to pay my bill, I now have to vocalize answers rather than push a number key 🙂  I am quiet. I am not overtly expressive, except for I can laugh loudly. I rarely cry. I figuratively bite my tongue when I am in pain, not scream or moan. Therefore, when I read how all these husbands like to hear their wives, and I tried it,  that felt like acting. And it lasted no longer than a week, because it backfired, my husband did enjoy the sounds, but he sure didn’t feel like a good lover when he realized night after night he was “failing” to provide me an orgasm… because to be who I am not naturally, meant all my focus was there, rather than on pleasurable sensations.  But, I know where and how to touch him that speaks love, desire, and wanting of him, and that is my hearts desire, even if it isn’t the current physical desire, so it doesn’t feel like acting to me.


      Were there unexpected benefits from learning to do so?

      Absolutely! Because I recorded my process, I am able to go back and look. 🙂  Here are a few of the unexpected benefits I never would have guessed would happen.

      1. I learned about my body more that I ever had. I know that there are different times in the month were I have different sensations and responsiveness.
      2. I was able to give and receive non-sexual affection. We became much more physical during the day with holding hands, hugs, kisses, back rubs, etc. I no longer had to worry about how my “actions” would lead him to think about and ask for sex, it is already a given.
      3. There was a lot less tension, arguing or snapping at each other.
      4. We have laughed together a lot more. Which was a rarity in our marriage.

      I am not saying this will be the case for all, but I want no delusions to be made. There has also been a dark valley in this for me, that we are still working at getting out of. When one opens themselves up in such a vulnerable and trusting way, and then to have that person do a 180 on you, feelings of betrayal and all that came with that, are hard to overcome.

      Under the stars Answered on June 14, 2019.
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        In 2014, after finding various blogs associated with this Christian pro-sex movement, I spent the better part of a year trying to fix my marriage by stepping it up sexually.  I initiated a minimum of 2x a week, bought and wore lingerie, prepared a strip tease, etc. etc. . I was able to consistently do it, simply because I chose to do so.  I never felt used, or felt resentment, because it was a choice.  No, I did not ever find it to be pleasurable once we got started, not even once.  Yes, I was purposefully acting to make it more pleasurable for my husband, but only with his knowledge:  I told him that I was trying to do this for him and to improve our marriage.  It would have been a violation of my personal code of integrity to pretend and lead him to believe that I was hot and heavy when I wasn’t.

        Were there unexpected benefits?  None.  AND there were unexpected negative consequences.  The more I had sex simply for the purpose of serving another’s needs out of “love is an action, not a feeling,” the more it became to me just an action.  The more I had sex without desire, the more I became emotionally detached from the act of sex.   Were it not immoral, I would now easily be capable of prostitution without being emotionally affected.

        The more I had sex with my husband in the absence of emotional relationship, the less attached to him I became.  The experiment ended when one night when he gushed about how connected to me he felt, and asked for reciprocation.  When I was unable to, he became very upset and asked me to stop initiating.

        Every marriage has different circumstances.  Sex without desire I think would be more consistently helpful in marriages where the affection is still intact, but one spouse simply has a lower libido.  When the issue causing low desire is a relationship issue, it can get more complicated.  It might go either way, depending on the individual marriage and its unique dynamics, and people should be aware of the risks.

        On the floor Answered on June 16, 2019.

        Wow.  You expressed yourself well…. and  I am sad for you that your MB is so emotionally dry and unsatisfying after making such an honest effort.   Someone mentioned the book “Passionate Marriage” on this board last week which prompted me to dig it out and try to finish it… like that poster, I had started it about 6 yrs ago and found it too dry and academic and gave up about 2/3 through it.   So I went about half-way and started reading it again.  I mention this because the writer talks about the lack of emotional “connectedness”  while engaging physically in sex – almost exactly as you described in his chapter entitled “Eyes Wide Open Sex”.   I’m only half-way through that chapter (I read it while working out on my elliptical machine) but will get back on it tomorrow and let you know if I think the writer’s therapy might help you.  In the meantime,   I also said a prayer for you and your DH.  God Bless.

        on June 16, 2019.

        Thank you Loyd, I always appreciate help.  Passionate Marriage is the first book that was recommended to me.  I have read it 4 times, as well as Intimacy and Desire, and Resurrecting Sex.

        Schnarch’s ideas are based on the premise that you are emotionally connected to your partner.  Therefore, it is not applicable in my circumstance.

        In addition, there are some positive things about Schnarch’s writing, but he also has some dangerous teachings that have been disproven scientifically by studies on both attachment and the neurological/chemical basis of love.  This makes me hesitant to recommend anything written by Dr. Schnarch.  There is a reason that EFT trains and certifies therapists around the world.   There is a reason that Dr. Gottman trains and certifies therapists around the world.  There is a reason that Dr. Schnarch and his office partner are the only ones to see for “crucible therapy.”

        on June 17, 2019.

        ShadowSpirit, you obviously know much more about the subject than I do, sadly because of your own heartbreaking experience.  I read the rest of Schnarch’s “Eyes Wide Open” chapter yesterday and; other than looking for something in it that might have helped you, I lost interest (again) in finishing the book, probably for the same reasons I didn’t finish it  6 yrs ago.  I remember that although he occasionally dropped a Biblical reference in the part I had read, his overall philosophy was very secular and accepting of non-Biblical practices, particularly homosexuality.

        I can’t offer any wisdom in your struggle… but you DO have my prayers sister.

        on June 18, 2019.

        I apologize if this is too irreverent for this particular thread, but I find it ironic that regarding a book called PASSIONATE Marriage (which I have never seen), everyone says it is too boring to read. That should tell you something right there.

        on June 18, 2019.
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          After many years of receiving duty sex from my wife, she never refused, but she also goes out of her way to avoid getting me in the mood in the first place, it has gotten to the point where having sex for my own reasons is worse than not having it at all. The desire to be wanted is greater than my desire for duty sex. That’s why we’ve only done it twice in the last 4 and a half years. Last time was two and a half years ago, two consecutive nights. The first night I thought “why don’t we do this more often”, and the second night was “oh, now I remember”. I was absolutely miserable the next six weeks, and I can’t imagine the pain of doing it again will be any less. So here I am, just trying to deal with the reality of the situation. I’m not sure if this is helpful to you, other than to make you aware of possible unintended consequences to excessive duty sex without trying to fix things earlier. Like cancer, if left untreated it can get significantly worse and even terminal. My mistake was to accept it for such a long time, and that we didn’t try to fix it right away, rather than not dealing with it, that now I don’t know if it can be fixed, or even if I want it fixed. Just saying.

          Twin bed Answered on June 18, 2019.
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            As a husband, there have been many times where I didn’t want sex.  I know this may be shocking especially since the stereotype is that we as men ALWAYS want sex.  The times where I don’t feel like it, I ask God to help me and give thanks to God that I have the privilege to have sex with my wife.

            Have I ever resented having sex with my wife?  No…I know that even if the sex is not toe-curling, I still have the privilege and there are many men are in completely sexless marriages. On the flip side, when I have been willing even if I don’t feel like it, I end up enjoying.

            There has been times that after we are done and the sex is lackluster, I have to pray to not get upset that there wasn’t any fireworks or streamers going off.  God then shows me that I need to let go of any expectations and just enjoy being with her.  This is very hard to do yet I’m willing to learn.

            The resentful part that is more foreplay related than sex is massaging…While she craves my massages, this is not something that I am thrilled to do all the time yet I do this out of will and love for her.

            On the floor Answered on June 14, 2019.
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              I don’t feel used or resentful –  because I am doing this volitionally and voluntarily. I’m not forced to. I’ve just made the right decision to do it.

              Yes. Most things we do as a couple are pleasurable and beneficial too. Isn’t that one of the blessings of couplehood?

              Do I feel like I’m acting? No more than when I’m acting selfishly.

              Sure there were a few unexpected results. But even more than unexpected results, there were the expected ones! And I have found that they are worth it too! Marriage works better when you serve the other. Happy wife makes a happy life. God is honored when we do things His way. When we intentionally bless someone else, we are blessed too. Etc.


              Under the stars Answered on June 14, 2019.
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                (Husband’s perspective here) I’ve never had “zero desire”, but I have a super early job start time, so sometimes I have to choose between sex and three hours sleep or no sex and a little more sleep. If I choose the former, it tends to make for quite a rough day at work the next morning. I dont resent my wife at all about it, but maybe God a little for keeping me in my lousy, super inconvenient job. Eventually I realize I’m fortunate to be having any sex at all no matter how inconvenient, because I know people who are married and have ZERO.

                Double bed Answered on June 15, 2019.
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                  There was a time after the birth of my second child that it hurt a lot to have sex for almost a year. I did not enjoy it at all and I actually dreaded it. I didn’t get anything physically from it except for pain. Was I acting at that time? Yes. I knew that it was important for my marriage. My husband wouldn’t ask as he knew it hurt me so once a week I would suck it up and ask him and pretend to be excited about it. In the middle of it he would ask if it hurt too much and I knew if I said yes he would stop and wouldn’t want to have sex so I would tell him it hurt a little but I was fine and wanted to have sex. It did eventually get better and finally got to the point after our third child was born where it was the best it had ever been. I never resented my husband and I made the choice to pursue sex with him in order to enhance other areas of our marriage. I’ve never been sorry that I did this and even at the time I knew I was making the right decision. I’m not saying everyone who has pain should just push through it but I knew that it was caused by childbirth and would get better with time. Now it’s my husband who has a demanding job and is exhausted all the time. He is physically not capable of having sex most of the time during the week so I have to be satisfied with only having sex on the weekend which I do really enjoy now.

                  Double bed Answered on June 16, 2019.
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                    I have learnt to offer my DW sex anytime she wants and needs it. My body belongs to her.

                    Queen bed Answered on June 18, 2019.
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                      As we’ve aged, our respective libidos have declined. Both of us are very willing, able, and ready to engage in sex for the benefit of the other including masturbation – mutual, solo ( watching and/or assisting ), and solo if and when a fleeting horny moment comes along.

                      On the floor Answered on June 19, 2019.
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                        I can relate some to ShadowSpirit in that there is very little emotional attachment from me to my husband.  It has a lot to do with our initial years of marriage and subsequent communication problems.  I spent a lot of time on TMB s 2012 or so primarily lurking and reading and absorbing.  It was incredibly educational and I learned a lot about why I don’t enjoy sex, but many of the appropriate fixes were/are not possible.  I was convicted to change the way I approached sex and attempt to meet his needs  regardless of the way I felt.  It has been successful in some aspects.  Since he is happy with our frequency, variety, etc.  I do not face resentment from him.  For myself I have learned I can accomplish almost all  of what he desires sexually,  and do so enthusiastically, as long as I have a couple shots first.   I don’t really avoid feeling used, but it doesn’t bother me as I suppose the things he does for our family may make him feel used as well, although he does not complain of that.   I do not battle resentment, as others have stated, it is my choice to give myself sexually to him so it doesn’t make sense to resent him for that.  I do battle incredible sadness after each sexual encounter and sometimes sadness throughout the day as I contemplate how I ended up in this type of a relationship.  However, there are many positives outside of sex that make this particular pain worth it.  The idea of divorce over something like this is an impossibility in my mind, but I do wonder when kids are grown and I have less motivation to make it work, how that will impact our sex life.  I look forward to the day when sex will no longer be something I feel required to perform.    I never find it pleasurable, not ever.  I must always act, obviously if I hate sex and I showed that, it would be worthless to engage in it after a while.  The benefits I get of keeping the peace, having a happy, less stressed spouse would all be gone if I did not act as though I enjoyed sex.  I don’t see unexpected benefits, for me there are benefits, but they are all what I expect.  Namely, my husband is relieved of stress, put in a good mood, less angry with kids and myself over minor offenses, and desires to continue to be married to me. Since I am completely financially dependent on him as a SAHM it is obviously important that he desires to remain married to me.

                        Double bed Answered on July 9, 2019.
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