It happened to me
We haven’t had sex for seven years
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’