It hap­pened to me

We haven’t had sex for seven years

Woman (UK) - - Inside This Issue -

When I first met ben, I thought I’d found my soul­mate. he was ev­ery­thing I wanted in a man. Fast for­ward 13 years and I re­alise it was all a sham. Yes, we have a nice life and three gor­geous chil­dren, os­car, 11, James, eight, and six-year-old Lucy, but we also have a se­cret: we haven’t had sex for al­most seven years. and I don’t think we ever will again.

Be­fore I got to­gether with Ben, I had amaz­ing sex with other men – sex that made my heart pound and body ache. When I met Ben, then 26, in a bar in June 2004, I fan­cied him straight away and imag­ined the hot nights we’d soon be hav­ing between the sheets.

In­stead, when­ever I stayed the night at his house, he pre­pared the guest room for me. I as­sumed he didn’t want to rush me.

We fi­nally slept to­gether two months af­ter we met. I should have spot­ted the warn­ing signs when it was all very quick and per­func­tory, and as soon as it was over, Ben jumped in the shower. But he was so lov­ing in other ways – hold­ing my hand and giv­ing me cud­dles – that I pushed any doubts away. Af­ter all, I’d had amaz­ing sex in the past, but those re­la­tion­ships hadn’t lasted.

Af­ter the first time, it was al­ways me who ini­ti­ated sex. Af­ter a few weeks, I asked Ben why he never took the lead. He dis­missed my con­cerns, telling me he was of­ten tired, as he had such a busy job in fi­nance and that he’d try harder, which he did. But sex was never mind-blow­ing.

Ten months into our re­la­tion­ship, we booked a hol­i­day to the Caribbean. I’d imag­ined lazy days in bed, but ev­ery evening when we came back to our room, he’d stay up watch­ing TV and I’d fall asleep feel­ing con­fused and hurt.

Mak­ing an ef­fort

I de­cided to end the re­la­tion­ship, but Ben went on the charm of­fen­sive. He be­gan ini­ti­at­ing sex and, ex­cited that he was fi­nally show­ing some in­ter­est, I was happy to give him an­other chance.

Af­ter that, our re­la­tion­ship seemed to set­tle down – so much so that when Ben sug­gested we move in to­gether and start try­ing for a baby, I was over the moon. By the end of 2005, I was preg­nant with Os­car and we were both so happy. But then, sud­denly, Ben didn’t want to touch me at all in the bed­room, ad­mit­ting he found it a bit ‘yuck’ hav­ing sex with a preg­nant wo­man.

I felt so un­wanted, es­pe­cially when chat­ting with preg­nant friends who told

me that their hus­bands couldn’t get enough of their huge boobs and chang­ing body. I’d laugh along with them, too ashamed to ad­mit that it was the op­po­site for my part­ner.

Af­ter I gave birth to Os­car in July 2006, things went from bad to worse. For 18 months, I was re­jected when­ever I even so much as sug­gested an early night.

I yearned for Ben to show me that he loved me, but when­ever I tried to speak to him about it, he’d shut down or snap at me. I never thought about leav­ing him, though, as I still loved him deeply.

Af­ter nearly two years of be­ing pushed away, I fi­nally took ac­tion and stocked up on sexy un­der­wear. That night, I told Ben I was go­ing to bed and to come up, as I had a treat for him. I ended up ly­ing there for two hours, burn­ing with hu­mil­i­a­tion and re­sent­ment as he stayed down­stairs. In the end, I went into the bath­room and sat on the toi­let sob­bing, be­fore putting on my py­ja­mas and go­ing to sleep.

The next day, I told Ben that, un­less he agreed to go to coun­selling with me, I’d leave. He re­luc­tantly came with me, but got de­fen­sive when asked about our sex life.

At the end of the ses­sion, we drove home in si­lence. But that night, Ben ar­ranged a lovely ho­tel for the fol­low­ing week­end. And we fi­nally had sex. It was amaz­ing to feel like a nor­mal cou­ple again and I hoped my threat had been the wake-up call that he needed.

Los­ing our con­nec­tion

And things were bet­ter for a while – un­til I be­came preg­nant in 2009. This time, I even ended up sleep­ing in the spare room. Once James was born, Ben sug­gested I stay in the baby’s room to make feed­ing eas­ier. I didn’t have the en­ergy to dis­agree.

Grad­u­ally, I be­gan to ad­just to be­ing a mum to two small chil­dren. I started see­ing friends more, as I craved com­pany. I never told them about my dire sex life, but it was nice to feel peo­ple were in­ter­ested in me, un­like Ben. How­ever, my new so­cial life made Ben twitchy, prob­a­bly be­cause he wor­ried I’d stray. It had crossed my mind, but I didn’t go ahead with the idea.

Af­ter a year of sleep­ing in James’ room, Ben sug­gested I move back into the mar­i­tal bed­room and we started to get in­ti­mate again. It was pretty bland, but I was just con­tent to be hav­ing sex once a month.

Sadly, things changed when I be­came preg­nant with Lucy in Oc­to­ber 2010. Once again, I was back to the spare room – and this time, I’ve stayed there.

In the years af­ter she was born, I did sug­gest sex, but Ben made lame ex­cuses and I couldn’t take the re­jec­tion any more. Then last year, we got mar­ried – it was his idea and I felt he pushed me into it by get­ting the chil­dren ex­cited about it.

On the rare oc­ca­sions we’re in the same bed, such as when we have house guests, there’s not a sin­gle bit of con­tact. We don’t kiss each other good­night, there’s not even the odd touch­ing of feet. I feel so sad, as well as fool­ish and lonely.

Th­ese days, we’re like house­mates. We get on fine, go out as a fam­ily and laugh at the chil­dren’s an­tics, but there isn’t a deep con­nec­tion. I love Ben like a brother, but do I fancy him? No, not any more. I’ve of­ten thought about why he’s never wanted sex, and while it’s crossed my mind he might be gay, all I can as­sume is he just has an ex­tremely low sex drive.

With­out Ben, I wouldn’t have my gor­geous chil­dren, so I can’t re­gret our re­la­tion­ship – but I’m cer­tainly not happy. I know I should leave, but I haven’t got the courage to be a sin­gle mother.

I like to think that when the chil­dren are older, I’ll find the strength to end it and maybe even meet some­body else to have a healthy sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with. I can only hope I don’t leave it too late.

‘Th­ese days, we’re like house­mates’

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