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Body dysmorphia and a sexless relationship

Community Member

My partner and I are both in our early 20’s and have been together for over a year. We didn’t have sex for the first 5 months of our relationship, as my partner was a virgin at the time. After that first time, our sex life was fairly infrequent, but for the most part, kept me satisfied. For me, I find sex to be very important for a relationship, as it helps me feel connected, understood, and loved.

My partner and I both have depression. We both had a few bad months with our depression and our sex life became even more infrequent.

At the moment, it’s been almost 4 months without sex. My partner says it’s not me, and that she has a lot of shame and guilt around sex. She says it makes her uncomfortable, and that she feels dirty and disgusting. She also has low self-esteem, and I honestly think she might have body dysmorphia (which we’re trying to get her into a therapist to deal with).

The problem is this: for some reason I get extremely sad when I crave sex or my attempts to be intimate are rejected. I try to hide it, but it hurts so much and I just cry and cry in despair. I know she needs time to work through her issues and I’m okay with that. But I still can’t stop the sadness. We’re at the point where we are on the verge of breaking up because she is struggling with seeing how hurt I am. In turn, she feels hurt and hates herself even more.

We’re discussing whether or not we break up. We both love each other so so much but she can’t meet all my needs, and I can’t give her the space to heal without feeling guilty. I don’t want to lose her and I honestly wish I just didn’t get upset at not having sex... I don’t know what to do. Please, give me advice.

1 Reply 1

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Tia99 and welcome to the forums,

Perhaps it sounds silly but reading your post made me smile today. The way you write about your partner makes it clear there is a great deal of affection and respect between you.

It sounds like a good plan seeking out a therapist. Perhaps you could also look into Relationships Australia for couples counselling too or resources in your area which might help?

Your partner might also find the forums helpful too perhaps to speak anonymously about why sex makes her feel 'dirty'. That is a choice of word that to me sounds like it has a lot of emotion attached to it. This is a safe place to speak openly and there are a lot of threads here which discuss body image and feeling uncomfortable within. Noone here is going to judge.

It is totally understandable that you're struggling with a lack of intimacy. It is a very common topic here also.

I suppose my first thought was to wonder whether you've been able to talk about what you need as a minimum short term to feel able to keep trying in your relationship and whether she is willing or able to try any of the options.

I've written to a member here before and asked them to consider what you both consider intimacy to mean. Sometimes it helps to think creatively about different ways to meet needs that perhaps you haven't considered before. Is this something you think might be worth looking into?

Whatever happens you have support here. If you find it helpful to join in on other threads your input is always welcome too.