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My husband and I have been married for a little over 3 years now, and overall we both agree that we have a great marriage. He is 41 and I am 49. Other than work, we pretty much do everything together. He works full time, I stay at home and run the farm and have some online businesses and farmers market. He is great about helping me (I have some back problems) and is very affectionate; always rubbing my feet or back when we watch TV, giving me hugs when he gets home from work, snuggling before we fall asleep. So, it would seem that everything is perfect.....

Except for 1 thing: we haven't had sex in over a year. We had a pretty good sex life when we first married, somewhat hindered by teens in the house, him working overtime, etc; but not bad considering; at least 3 or 4 times a month. It became less and less frequent and when I would try to initiate he would say he was tired, or start talking about something, or get up to check on the dog or in some way distract me. Then we discovered he had sleep apnea and really was over tired, so I sort of dropped it. Now he's been using a CPAP for about 8 months and obviously has a lot more energy, so I started trying to talk to him about sex again. This time I was more direct, rather than just trying to get something started when we were in bed.

I asked him how he would feel if I had been rejecting him for over a year, and explained how frustrated, depressed, and ugly it made me feel. He said he understood, but had been avoiding sex because I was such a selfish lover. Well, that surprised me, but I didn't want to argue so I suggested that we needed to spend more time being intimate so he could tell me how I could improve and make sex more enjoyable for him. He said ok. Then he sighed and said "I have a lot of baggage, maybe I need therapy." He didn't want to talk anymore, just snuggle, so that's where we left it. That was over a week ago and I don't see things changing.

The only other possibly pertinent piece of information is that he is really into hardcore bdsm porn. I learned from his best friend when we got married that my h had had quite a large collection of magazines and movies before we met, but he must have gotten rid of them as I never saw them and I know they aren't here. He also deleted everything on his computer as I asked him to since I had children in the house. Recently I discovered that he's been looking at some websites because his computer died and he's been using mine. I talked to him about that and asked if sex with me was too "boring" compared to what he was looking at, as I'm not into bdsm at all. He looked horrified and said no, he didn't want that kind of thing with me at all. I think it upset him a lot that I knew about it too, as he hasn't looked at it since.

Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to give a good picture of our relationship. I don't understand why a mostly healthy 41 year old man isn't interested in sex; but obviously loves me and is very affectionate. I'm not sure where to go from here.....while I don't want a sexless marriage, I love him very much and divorce isn't even a consideration. I'd appreciate advice and suggestions.


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Anna, I don't get the sense that you are getting the truth from him. He gives several reasons "you have baggage" and "you are a selfish lover" but when you offer to make changes to suit him, he doesn't take you up on it. Is it possible that he is still looking at porn and is self gratifying? That would wreck your sex life right there, and eventually your marriage because as soon as one need is met outside of marriage, the others are soo to follow.

For some reason he is not being honest with you. Is he physically attracted to you? Have you put on alot of weight?

I would first find out what he is really doing. Does he have access to any computers other than your home computer?

Also, I would go download a keylogger on your computer and see what he is doing. A good one is spectorpro at spectorsoft.com


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MelodyLane, he said he was the one with baggage, which is why I mentioned the porn as I wonder if it's related. He was married once before, when he was 19, for 2 years and from what I've heard from him and his family it was pretty awful and ended very badly, with a lot of fighting. They had no children and there's been no contact since they divorced.

I agree he's not being honest about something. Until I told him I knew about it last week he was looking at porn, but hasn't since. We only have one working computer at the moment. He says he's attracted to me, and I've actually lost about 15lbs since we got married, so I don't think that's it. He also complements me a lot on how I look and when we went to the work Christmas party he said I was "the hottest babe in the room". He's very affectionate, always touching me, but never in a sexual way.

As to self gratification, it would have to be in private or when no one else is home, as the computer is in a public location. That's how I noticed he was looking at porn again; I walked over and sat down by him; he had a news page open but I could see the other tabs he had open and just checked the history later to see if I was right.


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My H had the habit of masturbation for many years, several times a week, and I never detected it, never even suspected it at all. He seemed to have a very low sex drive for years, but I didn't know the two were connected. It only takes a couple of minutes and can be done most anywhere he has a bit of privacy.

This can kill the sex in a marriage not to mention train his reflexes so that he has an orgasm too quickly. Once H stopped self-gratification completely, he "came back to life" again. So just because you aren't seeing something happen in this department doesn't mean it is not happening.

Porn also has a devastating effect on sex in marriage due to the contrast effect. Of course, he's unlikely to admit any of this.

My H used to compliment me frequently, too. I was in great shape, but it didn't interest him until the habit ended completely.


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I agree with Longwayfromhome, I think he is using porn and masturbation, which is ruinous to a marriage. That is where I would start. GEt a keylogger on your computer and see what he is doing.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Well, I already know he's been looking at porn, and pretty hardcore stuff at that. And I told him I know, so I don't really see the point of a keylogger to prove what I already know just from seeing it and looking at the history. My question is, what's the next step? He's looking at porn, it's affecting our sex life..... now what do I do? When I talk to him he will SAY whatever he thinks I want to hear, but I want him to CHANGE his behavior.


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I told my H when I caught him, by accident, heavily involved in porn, that if he wanted to keep me, he had stop the porn immediately. I was quite horrified about the masturbation but H only last year told me the true extent of his habit. He originally told me it was once a week. Wow, several times a week for probably a solid decade. No wonder we had such an unsatisfying love life.

I told our pastor about the discovery, and he recommended a sex addiction class in a nearby church. So my H agreed to attend, and that was the beginning of his understanding regarding how porn and masturbation wreck relationships.

The other thing I did was to remove access to the porn. In our case, it was at our home computer, while I was at school. I didn't know much about technology, and the only thing I could think of was to remove the modem line and hide it whenever I wasn't home. He was annoyed at his lack of access for a while, but it was the only way to remove the source at home. His work place had firewalls preventing access to porn websites.

Can you block his access with security software? Or can you use the admin mode to block all porn websites? If nothing else comes to mind, you can put on a good password to your computer and allow him access only while you are looking. Some people find that the only way to end the problem is to get rid of the Internet completely.

At first, my H was annoyed at his lack of access, but it is the same as with infidelity. No contact must be established with the OP. And porn is the OP. He will probably go through a period of withdrawal.


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I would suspect a slightly different interpretation of his problem, but with pretty much the same prescription. I think he may be honest when he says he does not want to do BDSM with you. Some men place their wives on a pedastal and do not want to sully them with sex. These men see their sexual desires as base and evil, and they see their wives as pure and good. These men cannot permit their images of sex and their images of their wives to mix. He needs to find a way to channel his sexual urges in a manner that he finds acceptable for his wife to accommodate. That may mean not only changing his view of desirable sexual activity, but also changing his view of the extent to which a woman is entitled to enjoy sexual pleasure for her own sake.


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The REASON he has sexually withdrawn from her is not because of a "view" but because of a lifestyle where he gets his sexual needs met outside of marriage. A "view" alone will not cause this. It did not cause it in the beginning of their marriage and it is not causing it now. She said their sex life was fine in the beginning of their marriage. What is causing it is active use of porn and masturbation. If he is not engaging in that lifestyle in some form he would be satisfied with her alone. He is withdrawn due to the CONTRAST EFFECT that Dr Harley refers to often. Remove the porn and the masturbation and he will learn to be satisified with his wife alone.


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Hi Anna
It is very unusual for a man to be with an attractive spouse and not want to have sex with her for over a year, especially with the relationship being relatively new and sex being ok in the beginning.
For your sex life to drop off so quickly, would suggest to me that your husband has an anxiety issue.
Have you given anymore thought to what your husband might have meant by selfish lover?
Sometimes such comments are obscure clues to an issue that they may not want to talk about directly. Many people do not want to talk about their needs but hope that their partners will understand intuitively what they need.
This is often the case with a mans ego. They may want/desire, admiration but many would not want to ask for admiration, because then it would be contrived. Not given naturally.
Generally for a man to go without sex with an attractive spouse, for a year, is fear of inadequacy. The difficulty then becomes how to help them overcome that fear without crushing them further.
It would appear that although your husband is affectionate, he has completely shutdown when it comes to having sex with you. It could be worth while reflecting closely on what you do when having sex with your husband and especially any sexual conversation youve had with him. Generally the clues will be there.

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Originally Posted By: Jackblack

It is very unusual for a man to be with an attractive spouse and not want to have sex with her for over a year, especially with the relationship being relatively new and sex being ok in the beginning.


It is not unusual AT ALL with someone is viewing porn and masturbating. She has posted that he looks at porn. His reaction is garden variety reaction that Dr Harley addresses every day.


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Originally Posted By: annasnewlife
Well, I already know he's been looking at porn, and pretty hardcore stuff at that.


Case closed. This is a real easy one that Harley addresses every day.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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LOL at MelodyLane for calling it "easy". But I understand what you mean, that he could definitely be short circuiting our sexual relationship by viewing porn. Now that I'm thinking about it, we have always had great sex when we've been on camping vacations... we are into "primitive" camping and have no access to electricity, and therefore no access to porn. We didn't take any vacations this past year because it's been really rough financially and we couldn't afford to take time off or go anywhere.


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Anna, Harley gets these calls all the time on his radio show. And once they eliminate the porn, their sex lives thrive. It is because once the contrast effect is removed, there is interest. If he is looking at porn you are competing with 17 year old girls doing everything under the sun! sick And of course, masturbation is ruinous to a sexual drive.

Quote:
He said he understood, but had been avoiding sex because I was such a selfish lover.


What exactly does he mean by this?

Quote:
we are into "primitive" camping and have no access to electricity,


TEEF No Marriotts?? faint


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Kinda wish I had gotten in here earlier.

Some thoughts--

How is your marriage? I mean in terms of Marriage Builders. Is it possible that she is committing love busters against him and he has developed an aversion to being sexual with her? However, hes just too embarrassed or afraid it will cause a fight?

Perhaps hes bored of the sex life. Have you two sit down and talked about if hes happy with the sex life? Perhaps hes too embarrassed to say something? Do you create an open environment that he is free to express how he feels?

I know that Dr. Harley has said that masturbation can kill the sex drive. Albeit I dont call up my buddies and discuss their sex life, I do know that it is not uncommon for guys to masturbate and yet it does not slow down their desire to have sex with their wives. Masturbation is not even close to the awesomeness of sex with ones spouse. Unless this masturbation is a couple times a day every day, I just dont see it. This would be like saying that if a guy makes love to his wife once during the day, hes done for the rest of the day and if he makes love to his wife a few times through the week, hes good.

Now I do know of a guy that was watching certain kinds of porn (BDSM) and masturbating numerous times through the day so that he was visually stimulated less by vanilla sex and he had decreased sensitivity towards finishing so the actual act was less appealing because it became very frustrating for his girlfriends. I only mention what I did because I frequent another forum where there are A LOT of guys (thousands) and a lot of women too. And one of the topics on the forum is sex. And its not atypical for the guys to take care of themselves a couple times a week but it doesnt impact their sex life with their spouses at all. Id say its more likely a lowering sex drive that is more of a culprit.

He could be suffering from low testosterone. Low testosterone isnt usually detected unless a guy specifically requests a complete blood workup with test count. And he might as well have his thyroid checked. Though its not all that common among males (much more common in womenlike 1 in 8) suffer from thyroid disorders.

I apologize if any of this comes across as anti-Dr. Harley. Its not meant to come out that way at all. But Ive seen known several guys that didnt know why their sex drive was lowering and lowering to the point that erections were becoming problems and they were too embarrassed to say something to their spouse. So they avoided sex completely or as much as they could.

Two things were the problemlow testosterone and they had ED due to blood flow problems. Some test and Viagra fixed em right up and that took care of the problems completely. After 25, test levels start to plummet. If hes in his 40s, its worth getting checked. Then ask the doctor what his levels are. If the doctor says he s normal he could still be pretty low and considered low. For instance, normal for my age group is 400-890, if I was at 400thats still normal but a huge difference than being closer to the 800 which is still normal.


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And, then, of course, it could be porn and masturbation.


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Originally Posted By: kilted_thrower
And, then, of course, it could be porn and masturbation.


That is a good point about getting his testosterone checked, but the most obvious issues are porn and masturbation. Both are harmful to the sex life in a marriage. Porn creates a contrast effect and any sex outside of the marriage [which includes masturbation] affects their sex life negatively. He should NEVER masturbate, because it detracts from the marriage and distorts one's natural sex drive.

Here is what Harley says about it:

Originally Posted By: Dr Harley in an Addiction to Pornography
"If your husband were to avoid masturbation for a week, he would find his normal sex drive returning and he would be more sexually attracted to you. The longer he would avoid the pornographic videos and any other sexual material, and limit all of his sexual options to having sex with you, the more your sexual relationship would return to the way it was when you were first married."
here

Originally Posted By: Dr Harley
"Then, you should try to understand why he does not want to make love as often as he once did. He could have a low sex drive, but his adventure on the internet after marriage suggests we look for other answers. What's more likely is that he has developed tried and proven ways to masturbate that he prefers over making love to you. Masturbation is simple and predictable -- no muss no fuss. If his masturbation satisfies his sexual need, it could account for his reluctance to make love to you.

Over the years I have come to the conclusion that married couples should try to avoid sexual experiences outside each other's company. My reasoning is that sex is so enjoyable that the pleasure people receive from it should not be squandered. To review my "Love Bank" concept, whenever you have pleasure in each other's company, you deposit love units in each other's Love Banks, thereby increasing your feeling of romantic love for each other. If you limit your sexual experiences to times you are together (especially if they are often), the feeling of love will be enhanced.

On the other hand, if you have sexual experiences with others, even over the internet where it is essentially a fantasy, you build feelings of love toward those people instead of your spouse. Even masturbation, with no one present and no object of fantasy, takes the place of times that love units could have been deposited in marriage."
here


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Anna, here is a pretty good thread about the subject along with some excellent radio clips from the Marriage Builders radio show. I swear there must be a call a week about this subject because it is so prevalent and so damaging to marriage. http://forum.marriagebuilders.com/ubbt/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2573313#Post2573313

Dr Harley: "the best sexual relationships come from exclusivity." [exclusivity meaning the ONLY sexual gratification comes from your marriage partner] RADIO CLIP


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Thanks for the links, they are really helpful. Unfortunately I can't listen to the radio clip because my computer doesn't have a sound card; I used my husband's when I wanted to listen to things and now his isn't working.


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One thing I am seeing from reading what Dr. Harley says is that I haven't been taking my H's porn use seriously enough. I know it's unusual, but it really doesn't offend me and I didn't really care if he wanted to look at it....I find it more boring than titillating because I prefer to be doing, not watching, but felt that "whatever floats his boat" was fine with me. I'm comfortable with how I look and quite adventurous in the bedroom, so I really don't feel intimidated. However, I am seriously upset that we don't have sex together, so if the porn is inhibiting him from our together time, it's obviously got to go.


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