couples (27296)

The question posed on the internet was: Do you think that you could marry a person who can't physically have sex? Why or why wouldn't you be able to do that?

I answered that I actually had married a man who was unwilling to have sex with me, and I stayed married to him (until he left me) because there were enough other redeeming qualities about him. The questioner asked me further, " Did you work around that so that he at least provided you with some sexual attention?"

The answer is "no". I invited him to explore sexuality in ways that included both of us, pointing out that he could kiss me or cuddle or stroke my back or thighs while I was doing something, but he replied he was too "embarrassed" to do that. I suspect, in retrospect that Howard was either asexual or a latent homosexual because in seven years of marriage he felt aroused only twice.

I lean toward thinking it was latent homosexuality because if he were asexual I imagine he would have accepted it about himself and been honest. Instead he gave every indication before our marriage that he was not just able, but willing to be intimate. He knew I had a very difficult first marriage to a bona fide diagnosed narcissist. I didn't want to ever get divorced again because it is a traumatically painful experience. Howard and I attended pre-marital counseling though our church in the hope of divorce-proofing our marriage.

In session with our pastor Howard said he would be open to anything. He was past the age of 50 and had sired two sons before we met. I had no reason to think sex would not be part of our marriage. During our courtship he was fondly affectionate, and often even erotic in his making out with me. On our wedding night all that changed. I came to bed eagerly, to find him uninterested. He put it off to being tired. Not wanting to nag my brand new, well adored husband, I accepted his disinterest.

A month later the marriage was still not consummated. I began to think I made a terrible mistake. I would have annulled it right then, but he begged me to give it a chance. He said it was difficult to get excited when we lived in such a small house with my teenage son in the bedroom nearby. Hoping that Howard was being honest, I arranged for my son to spend the night at a friend's house. Acting as if it would be very romantic to enjoy dinner and a movie Howard made a big show of ordering pizza and driving to the video store.

He stalled for some time picking out what he wanted to watch. Shortly after we got back the pizza arrived, of course it only made sense to eat it while it was hot. Since we were eating he popped in the movie and proceeded to get entranced in the plot. Two hours later he begged off as too tired and full to snuggle. I was disappointed.

My son began attending a weekly bible study which afforded us one night a week alone. Every Thursday, like clockwork, Howard would use up our time alone with dinner and a movie. I would try to get him interested and he would get angry with my lack of gratitude for the entertainment he was providing.

Finally I pointed out the obvious, my son living with us had nothing to do with our lack of a sex life. Howard then said he would be more interested if I wore something more sexy to bed. A hundred dollars worth of outfits from Victoria's Secret got me nowhere. Howard confessed he was "just too stressed" from his work. By this time we were on year two of our marriage. He was entitled to vacation time, so we went away to the beach, to the mountains, to Disneyland. No matter where we went, he had no interest.

By year three I was gaining weight and looking unattractive. My friends advised me to "take matters into my own hands." They didn't seem to understand he would physically push my hand away. He slept fully clothed on top of the bed to avoid contact with me. I spoke with his doctor who confirmed there was nothing wrong with Howard physically. He didn't desire sex. With his strong fundamentalist proclivities I began to suspect that Howard was a latent homosexual. I think he would rather die than accept that about himself. The truth is, the times in life he was happy was always when he was in the company of men: when he was in the military, when he was in a gang, when he was on the board at our very chauvinistic church.

He didn't seem to like women very much. He had nothing nice to say about his ex-wife, a fact that would haunt me after he left me. At the time I took everything he said at face value. I was Christian too at the time, although never fundamentalist. I wanted my marriage to work. I strove to be loving, consistent, respectful, submissive. Yet I was sad to not have that dimension of intimacy in my life. By year four I was curious what he expected me to do. Even in the bible it says that husbands and wives should not withhold from one another unless they have decided together to abstain for a time. Our abstinence was never consensual.

Howard said if I would quit bothering him about it he would become sexual again. So as an experiment I decided I would not mention it any more. Eight months passed. I realized then that Howard would probably be happy to never have sex, ever. He even thought self gratification was a sin, and of course an affair was out of the question. So it was kind of a shock to learn three years after he left me he was looking for another "beautiful wife." He posted his request on his MySpace page.