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Lack of intimacy in my relationship.

Community Member

Hi all,

Im new to this forum, first time poster.

This topic has probably been done to death but here goes.

I've been married for over 30 years and after the birth of our first child intimacy has been an issues as well as mis-matched libidos.

I feel my wife doesn't find me attractive on any level. It's convenient to have me around. I work away a bit and feel lonelier when I'm at home than when I'm away. She says she loves me and misses me a lot when I'm away but when I get back she manages to find fault with most things I say and do which makes intimacy difficult. She is a master at making up excuses to avoid any attempts by me to initiate things. I've heard most over the past 3 decades

She won't acknowledge there's a problem or go to counselling.

She doesnt have a paid job and there's no financial stress. I pull my weight around the house when I'm not working.

Anyway it bothers me less now than it used to but I would still like to keep trying.

22 Replies 22

Hi there and thanks for your kind words. Not sure if I'm comfortable with "Legend" but I'll take it for now. For info we dont do the his and hers money thing that some couples do. Its all combined.

I have always been supportive of my wife's pursuits. From women only gym memberships, treadmills, phsyic training courses, silversmithing and her spiritual courses etc. I have my outlays as well so its not one sided. I figured if she's happy I will be happy. There may be a flaw in that logic as I've linked my happiness to hers and if I don't get why she isn't happy it makes my life difficult.

I can't see her getting excited about the physical side of mindfullness. At the moment there's nothing there on her side and I'm becoming de-sensitised to the whole intimacy thing. This has been a long process for me. She has tried in the past but with little or no enthusiam. She says she still loves me which I don't doubt. She says that should be enough and if it wasn't for some of the other things she says maybe over time I would learn to live with that. I know having me around is easier than the alternative at the moment.

She says some hurtfull things without meaning to. My self esteem has taken a hit recently and maybe I over analyse what she says at times. One example recently she said to me that I'm looking more and more like my father everyday. Maybe true but my father is overweight and makes no effort with his appearance and she has made many references to that fact in the past. I interpret that as "you're looking less attractive by the day". Probably not what she meant but when you overlay the obvious lack of attraction she has for me now and the avoidance of any intimate physical contact (she let's me massage her back and neck anytime) it chips away at your self worth.

My wife does read a lot on her journey to spiritual enlightenment. She has been on this path for decades and has tried many things most very similiar. Some of the ideas or theories/ways of life do focus on the benefits of strong intimate relationships but she seems to partition that off as obviously she has no interest in that.

Again I'm running out of characters so I thank you for your input. I will try to take more interest in the "Mindfullness" technique as thats her latest one. She spends a couple of hours almost everyday in her special room training herself in this area. Maybe she will investigate the physical side of it and one day I'll get the call up to help out. I live in hope.😬

Hi Brownshorts

Gee, partners can be strange creatures at times. The sort of comments that feel like a slap to the self-esteem can really hurt. I get where you're coming from. I'll give you a couple that are absolute rippers. By the way, my husband's a generally pretty thoughtful guy but he's come out with some unintentional whoppers in the past, ones I am now able to laugh about:

  • Some years ago, we're sitting on the couch together on the night of our anniversary. He looks deeply into my face (my eyes, I thought at the time) and proclaims 'Gee, you're looking old these days'. He was apparently studying me. BAMM! That one did not score him any brownie points, I assure you. I told him the next day that he'd said this and he was so apologetic. I suggested he perhaps cut down on the beers a little next time.
  • There's a pic among many photos hanging on our hallway wall. It's one of when I was in my twenties. By the way, I turn 50 this year. On a few occasions my husband's pointed this photo out to our kids, whilst expressing 'You know, your mum used to be really hot back then!' My daughter looks at me, rolls her eyes, shakes her head and smiles. I jibe 'Well, those days are over aren't they dear?!' He realises what he's said and tells me I've got it all wrong.

To tell you the truth, I wouldn't trade who I am now for anything. The hair is silver, the lines that express the laughter, deep concentration, concern and surprise I've shared with people over the years are lines of honour and life and the abdomen area that's not as flat and tight as it was back in my 20s reminds me of where it was that the lives of my 2 most precious gifts once grew before they were born.

Brownshorts, as we grow into the amazing people we are becoming, rising to the many challenges life throws our way, people and situations will continue to puzzle and shock us occasionally. I believe we must remain wonderful (full of wonder) when it comes to why people and things tick the way they do. Occasionally, our natural curiosity leads us to moments of enlightenment. I still often wonder about certain aspects regarding my spouse. I also give him plenty to wonder about too, I'm sure.


Sex is off the table? Sounds like she is setting some hard boundaries, and with respect, I think you need to set some for yourself. You didn't sign up for a permanently sexless relationship. Decisions like that have consequences.

Community Member

Its been over 12 months since my initial post.

Not a lot has changed despite some frank exchanges of ideas. Im working from home which means more time together.

My wife finally went on the hormone cream which has helped her with her issue. No increase in desire levels or motivation to be more intimate.

I think I'm handling it better these days. I dont take it so personal anymore.. Well not as much. Every now and then it gets me down. Mainly when my sports injuries prevent me from playing.

I hope everyone out there is doing OK.

Hi BrownShorts,

I’m sorry to hear about the lack of intimacy in your relationship. Human beings have a basic human need for affection, touch, intimacy and if we don’t have it, it can take a huge toll on our self esteem etc. May I ask whether you and your wife share any intimacy outside of the bedroom? Do you hold hands, do you speak warmly with each other, joke and flirt, hold hands. As a woman I ask this because I know myself and a lot of women find that our partners will often simply ask us for sex, and we will usually say no because it’s asked in a completely non-sexual context where we do not actually desire it, and we are tired or doing something else etc. I think it relates a lot to the differences between men and women, for example if I asked my partner I would be certain to get a β€œyes” no matter what we are doing. Whereas I need to be made to feel desired or wanted etc to trigger that desire in me. Rather than focusing on the sex element, which is a symptom of other issues, could you perhaps work on reintroducing romance into your relationship, and establishing a friendship between you both where you like each other? I know it can be hard to put yourself out there for fear of being shut down but I think it’s worth a shot otherwise nothing will realistically change

Hi Brownshorts,

I'm so sorry to hear about your intimacy issues and I'm so sorry that my service wasn't available to you and your wife in those early postpartum days! If I'm also reading correctly it isn't necessarily the lack of sex (although that is clearly the main issue) but it is also that there seems to be a lack of general intimacy.

I would strongly recommend seeing a Sex Therapist to assist with your mismatched libidos. It is such a common concern in relationships but it is important that both people in the relationship feel satisfied with the frequency and type of intimacy. It is hard because the person with the lowest libido in the relationship will always control the frequency of intimacy in the relationship. It is something you need to discuss but to come to an agreement and I can see that you have tried several times to do so to no avail so I would recommend getting a moderator in who specialises in Sex and Relationships.

Thanks for your input.

I have tried many times over the years to be non-sexual and take the pressure off. Romance is a difficult one. I get told to be more romantic but no guidance on what she wants. She will know it when shes sees it is the overlying principle.Most things I arrange is just another oportunity to dissapoint. Not major dissapointment just minor comments about what could have been better. She hints that a place with a spa or hot tub would be good when we go away, at a premium price of course, but then rarely uses it. A couple of times Ive gone for a run so she can use it in peace.

I arranged 2 months away in Europe and UK for our 30th wedding anniversary. Our daughter invited gerself along for tge first week..turned in to 7 weeks. But that was ok but limited the oportunities for couple time. In a 2 month period, that included an anniversary and my birthday, there was no intimacy.

Anyway Ill keep working at it. Been on this journey for 30+ years so the frustration factor is lower than it used to be. Thanks again.

Thanks for your comment.

She doesn't see a need to seek help. She has told me I just need to lower my expectations. Ive done that progressively over the last 10 years which has helped me.

Im pushing 60 so I'll probably lose interest at some stage soon. I'll be better off in the long run.

I should probably talk to a professional on my own one day. It has been helpful being able to discuss it on this forum so maybe seeing a counsellor would help.

Hi Brownshorts

It really does blow my mind when it comes to how inspiring and accommodating you are in your relationship.

'She will know when she sees it' is something you mention. You'd know yourself it's more a matter of 'I know when I feel it'. It's one thing to see something inspiring, it's another to feel inspiration. It's one thing to see something exciting, it's another to feel excitement. The list goes on when it comes to feeling our way through life. With the spiritual side of her exploration of life, I can't help but wonder whether feelings were discussed in enough detail. While some spiritual coaches can tend to miss the mark, others are amazing when it comes to opening a person's mind to experiment with their feelings.

While there are plenty of drugs out there to lead us to feel what we want to feel, getting those feelings naturally can take a lot of trial and error before we feel success. The drugs: Ecstasy to feel passion. Dope for feeling totally relaxed. Speed for feeling high levels of energy. Even alcohol, when it comes to feeling free to be yourself in one way or another (letting your guard down). The list goes on. With that last one, the question could be 'Why so guarded in the first place?'.

Personally, I'd describe romance as a soulful feeling. Romance feeds the soul. While a weekend away at a spa is deeply romantic, maybe your wife can't fully feel the romance because, perhaps, her guard's up for some reason. She may be self conscious about her body or she doesn't want to feel disappointment (therefor won't appoint herself as someone who is willing to let go completely). Of course, this makes things challenging for you. While I don't advocate leading her to get totally drunk/smashed, do you feel a natural relaxant would make some difference, relaxing her enough to lead her to simply feel her way through such a weekend, not think her way through it? Natural relaxants: Massage, music, meditation, leading her to choose a perfume which invokes a feeling of relaxation, joy or self love. While many imagine aromatherapy as essential oils diffused into the air, aroma therapy comes in many forms, even through the smell of a food we absolutely love. Sound therapy might even hit the spot. Planning a weekend away to a place with a tin roof on a weekend where you know it's going to rain most of the time may be a soulful experience for her. Google 'ASMR meaning'.

Never become insensitive/numb to how you feel. Your feelings are important too.


Hi Brownshorts

Something just popped into my head and I feel driven to share. Google 'How do you raise someone's vibration'. I know, a little out there but interesting when you have a look. It's undeniable, whoever is raising you in amazing ways is going to become deeply attractive. Kind of like you become excited by the person who leads you to discover the best in yourself, parts of yourself you've never accessed before. Sometimes, you just can't get enough of this type of person. Could even say you become addicted to how they lead you to feel.

If you decide to do this, raise your wife in such a way, be prepared for the trial and error process. Eg: If you buy her flowers, ask her 'You feeling anything (through you having given her the flowers)?' If she says 'No' then cross flowers off your list as a 'go to' for raising her vibe. While suggesting she come outside with you on a warm day, you might lead her to sit down, close her eyes and have her hold her face up to the sun. After a little while, you could ask 'You feeling anything?' She might actually respond with 'That's a truly beautiful, energising and calming feeling I've never felt before'. Then you can add that to your 'go to' list of 'Things that are beautiful, energising and calming'. Personally, I love the feel of the sun on my face. You might like to try it yourself. Breath the experience in, it creates added sensation. A lot of the things that naturally work are things that tend to alter our internal chemistry in constructive ways. A healthy level of sun exposure (don't overdo it) is also good for vitamin D. By the way, another typically beautiful, energising and calming experience is...hair brushing. Rock and Ruddle is a top quality good brand (a little pricey) but makes a great gift for someone you love. Wrapping it as a gift (for you to use on her) is deeply thoughtful. Who doesn't love the feeling of having their hair brushed? Puts most folk into a trance.

Good luck πŸ™‚