Scottish Daily Mail

We’ve been married 40 years but my husband never wants to make love


DEAR BEL WE ARE both 60 and will be ‘celebratin­g’ our ruby wedding in July this year. We have two children and t wo beautiful granddaugh­ters. But the lack of sex in our marriage has been a problem since the beginning.

Even on honeymoon, we only made love once, as that’s all my husband desired. Over the years the pattern continued. We never made love on holiday — and I think the fact that he was away so much saved our marriage.

We did usually have a kiss and a cuddle, but that has now ended, and this feeling of being unloved and rejected seems to be something I have to put up with for the rest of our life. I moved into another room this week and told him why. He now comes in to say goodnight!

I am so troubled and don’t know what to do. Our son is getting married soon so I don’t want to cause trouble before then, but I admit I am picking fault with my husband all the time.

He refuses to go to Relate, denying there is any problem. It’s two years since we made love and six months since we last kissed. I must sound like a romantic teenager, but is it wrong to want more at our age? Throughout my life I’ve listened to friends complainin­g about their husbands wanting sex and I cried inside.

Do I upset my family and leave — in the hope that I find somebody to love me? Or do I make do with life as it is and come to terms with the separate rooms and the fact that we are like good friends?

On the whole, we get on well but I am angry because we are quite well-matched and could have a good marriage.


Recently I had an email from a lady who tells me that she sometimes thinks of killing herself because of the lack of sex within her marriage.

then there is another woman who blames her current affair on the lack of sexual attention from her husband.

And here in my hand is a pretty card from ‘another wife lamenting the loss of her sex life within an otherwise very happy and long marriage.’ She continues, ‘ My husband won’t discuss it or visit his GP. His face closes over if I try to talk to him about it . . . Somet i mes I t hink I shall go mad. How do you persuade a man to see his GP?’

the subject is perennial and I would be lying if I said I have real solutions.

As I’ve written before, the falling-off of passion within a marriage might not matter if the couple have equal needs and can even smile ruefully about the way things have changed. A friend of mine told me t hat s he and her husband sometimes say, ‘Remember when we had such hot sex?’ then give each other a hug and it’s all fine.

But as counsellor­s who specialise in this area know, an imbalance in libido can c a use great unhappines­s.

What seems most significan­t in the letters from wives is that they all mention their husbands’ absolute refusal to talk about the issue.

It’s not hard to see why. Men find it acutely embarrassi­ng, not to mention humiliatin­g, to admit that they either don’t want sex or feel unable to perform. they choose instead to pretend there is no problem — when their wives are thoroughly miserable.

It’s not rocket science to see that this can only make things worse. So this is a plea to men not to turn away from talking. If your wife feels rejected and unloved that is

not nothing. In the past, I’ve given what might seem odd advice — which is to get a DVD of the Meryl Streep movie Hope Springs and watch it together with a glass or two of wine. It’s about this very problem and could break down embarrassm­ent with a rueful smile and start a gentle conversati­on. I think many of you will identify with the two characters.

Men who are afraid they have a functional problem might look at

menshealth­ to learn about erectile dysfunctio­n.

naturally the relationsh­ips charity

Relate has expertise in this field, and women (and men) who are worried could start by checking out the website’s section on sexual problems (

you can then talk on the phone or by email or make a personal appointmen­t at your local centre. those of you without a computer, start with a call to 0300 100 1234.

What people tend to forget is that sex within marriage is as much about tenderness as anything else. Or should I say that love itself is tenderness? It’s also about sharing and trying to please and giving — for as the old saying has it: ‘Kissing don’t last but cookery do.’

We all become tired and stressed, or feel (yawn) that it’s been so long and so samey, or that we’re tubby and wrinkly, or that it’s lovely to snuggle down with a good book . . . Oh and why doesn’t he do something about that snoring?

all such thoughts are normal — and honestly, long-married couples (and I count seven years as that) bonking like bunnies is unusual.

So don’ t have unrealisti­c expectatio­ns. Don’t always think that a loving hug must lead to sex. Don’t get out of the habit of touch — because j ust rubbing your spouse’s aching shoulders i s an act of love.

Don’t demand, nag or sulk — because none of that is a turn-on. Do share activities and jokes — because they can be.

maggy, you ask if ‘it’s wrong to want more at our age’.

the answer is, of course ‘ No’ — with the proviso that it is a mistake to want so much that you are doomed to disappoint­ment. Imagine what happens when a man or woman is disabled or very ill. Does the love stop because the sex has ceased? Not in a good marriage.

For me personally, the devoted friendship in a companiona­ble relationsh­ip is (in the end) what matters, and I do worry that our expectatio­ns can be skewed by a crass, hyper-sexualised society.

Remember, it is a big thing to end a marriage. Life can be colder and lonelier on the outside than within a chaste but cosy double bed.

 ?? Illustrati­on: NEIL WEBB ??
Illustrati­on: NEIL WEBB

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