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Really confused

Married 28 years, very healthy sex life for 13. She thinks she may be asexual. I need help

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Really confused

I need some insight. I love my wife, we have 3 almost grown children 26, 18, 15. We have always enjoyed sex and it was fun. For the past 15 years, our sex life and intimacy has dwindled down to nothing. She tells me she could be asexual. I'm really struggling with this as we did have a thriving life in the bedroom. Over the years it just became less and less to now, nothing. It is a sore subject for both of us. She tells me I need to respect she doesn't, I've told her she needs to respect I do. The tension is thick and very real. I've had so much disappointment over the years thinking will it be tonight? Maybe if I did this, she may want to.....still no. 

Communication isn't either one of our strong suits.

We have finally opened up communication on this subject and I cant get my head around it. I feel that sex is an important part of a relationship. It has nothing to do with the social implications. I viewed it as our time to be close, intimate, giving of ourselves. She had been addicted to opioids, medically given, she never used recreationally. She also suffers from almost debilitating anxiety and depression, for the last 7 years. She would tell me that when it does happen she enjoys it, but it takes a lot to get her to that point. I've never forced myself on her, ever. I love her too much for her to feel that pressure. By all clinical accounts we have been in a sexless marriage for a very long time. It made me feel like less of a man, thoughts of why doesn't she want me? Her guilt for not wanting me. Both of us upset that we can't meet each other's needs. 

 

My question is: Can someone who had an active vibrant involved sex life, all of a sudden become  asexual? Can that happen? I'm doing my best to understand this. I can't imagine a relationship without the physical aspect of it. I also don't want to throw away 28 years of marriage and make my best friend feel less than normal. 

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argar

I am not qualified to answer any of your questions.

 

All I can tell you is that all relationships change as time passes.

 

I would suggest a possible source to start doing your own research on the subject. 

 

I read this book at the library, and it gave me a few interesting perspective on the current subject you mentioned.

 

I hope it is a good first step towards some answers. 

 

https://youtu.be/FEe7etwGu8E

 

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Grimalkin

Though I don't want to diagnose someone, as I am not a professional of any kind, it sounds rather like she has a complete lack of libido rather than a orientation based around a lack of desire. That is to say, it sounds like there's a potential medical issue here, and not a sexuality like heterosexuality or homosexuality. 

 

If she's on anti-depressants they may be killing her sex drive... or if she's NOT, depression may be killing her sex drive. There could be a dip in hormones. Women's libido may change a little as they get older, and this may also be furthered by medical conditions. 

 

Let me tell you, as an asexual person, you would have found out a lot sooner than 13 years. I start to wear out having sex once a week. I never technically reach that point that she does where she enjoys it after a considerable amount of effort. I can put in loads of effort, and I'm still not into it, because I have no sexual desire. It sounds like she has something, but it's having a hard time coming through, for whatever reason. 

 

If you can bring this up to some professionals, doctors, therapists, etc., maybe they can help you sort this out. 

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SAR505

This may not be on point and not to be indescreet, but has or is your wife going through menopause?

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Really confused

She had a full hysterectomy year and a half ago. This has been happening for over 15 years. She's 46 now. Menopause, I can understand. The years prior? Not at all.

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Zagadka

I believe that Grimalkin's  post has some really good advice. A change in medications or psychological states over time can have a significant impact on things like libido. Many medications have specific known side effects that can change it. There are a lot of factors that can lead to a change in libido over that time and age, so I wouldn't immediately write anything off and consult a professional.

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TurnedTurtle
Posted (edited)

The key turning point I see in your story @Really confused is the birth of your third child, which seems to correspond to the time your wife's interest in sex declined, both about 15 years ago.  Did you guys have a discussion at some point (before or shortly after) where you decided #3 would be the last?

 

I bring this up because in reflecting on my own relationship with my demi-sexual/ace wife, I think the only period where she was actually into sex was when we were actively trying to get pregnant. We had decided that just one child was good for us, and after he was born, sex became an increasingly rare event, just as you described (not that it was all that common or great before we tried to get pregnant).

 

In your case, if your wife had sexual desire for you throughout the first 13 years of your relationship, I think it is unlikely that she is "ace" in the sense that most people here tend to define it.

 

Ultimately, the basic biologic reason for sex is reproduction, and from an evolutionary biology standpoint, the reason we (sexual people) are attracted to other people, desire sex, and enjoy sex, is so that we will (1) have sex and hopefully reproduce, and (2) bond as a family unit to raise the resulting offspring and ensure their survival (and ensure our own continued survival, as well).

 

Once the reproductive period has waned, I don't think it is unnatural or uncommon to experience a decline in libido -- especially for women, because they are the ones who get pregnant, give birth, and suckle the young (men, of course, don't experience this as much because they can continue to plant seeds for quite a while....). In these cases, I think "becoming asexual" could indeed be "a thing," although I don't think it is exactly the same thing as someone who has always been "ace" (but probably effectively the same thing as far as the sexual partner is concerned....). ETA: I think this is all consistent with @Grimalkin's comments and suggestions.

 

For me, finally realizing that my wife is demi/ace has led me into the deepest darkest pit of hopelessness and despair, but has also provided explanations and understanding that has maybe given me a new and different sense of hope -- not that I will ever have a great sex life with her, but that now understanding the nature of the compromise that is necessary, I can still have a life with her (at all)...

 

Good Luck, hopefully you can find something in the above ramblings that is helpful to you...

Edited by TurnedTurtle
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Sam Sunshine

Hi there, 

I am in a similar situation to your wife.  I have no libido at all.  I thought I was asexual, possibly have sexual aversion disorder but not sure on either counts.  I have chronic mental illness and am on medication for this and am currently unable to work.  My husband is sexual.  We had a pretty healthy sex life until about 5 years ago when my energy levels just got less and less and I became more unable to cope with my life.

 

After being on this site and reading other people's stories I am unsure if I am asexual or if it is my mental health, energy levels and emotional well-being that is actually the issue.  I am beginning to lean towards the latter at the moment.

 

Communication is really important, to keep an open dialogue with your spouse is the only way to keep moving forwards.

I hope sharing my story may help you.

Best wishes

Sam

Spoiler

 

 

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