Recently a reader contacted me regarding my Married Sex series to tell me her story in the hopes of getting some answers.
We’ll call my reader Maggie.
Maggie has been harboring a secret for the last five years of her twenty-year marriage.
She isn’t having an affair, hasn’t decided she’s a lesbian, isn’t realizing she’s transgender and is not a spy for North Korea.
Her secret is more simple than that, but she fears it could spell the end of her marriage.
Maggie’s secret? She no longer finds her husband Eddie sexually attractive.
She’s suffering from a chronic case of sexual dissatisfaction and feeling like she’s a shallow jerk.
Maggie and Eddie met when they were both freshmen at USC and lived in the College Uni dorms.
They were part of a group of dorm dwellers who rented out an ice rink to play broom hockey, running around on the ice in their tennis shoes.
Maggie recalls falling instantly in lust when Eddie body-checked her in front of the goal net.
Eddie played on the ‘SC tennis team. He was long-limbed at six-feet tall and lithe. He had a full head of blonde, Byronic curls and a killer smile.
Better yet, he was a one-woman man who fell deeply in love with Maggie.
Two years after college, they married and quickly had three little boys. Eddie carved his way into a prestigious law firm while Maggie stayed home to raise their boys.
As Maggie explains it, she often worried that Eddie might lose interest in her.
She’d put on a substantial amount of weight with the birth of each baby. She sometimes felt she was a little boring “just being a mom.”And often didn’t take the time when the kids were really little to put on makeup and do something – anything – with her hair.
But Eddie’s love never wavered.
Finally, when their boys hit high school, Maggie had a lot more time for herself.
She decided to drop those extra pounds and started taking tennis lessons at the local rec center.
Ironically, Eddie had entirely given tennis up while Maggie began to really love it, getting so good she competed in local competitions, frequently winning trophies.
She lost thirty pounds the first year playing tennis and twenty more the year after that, getting in the best shape of her life.
In the meantime, Eddie seemed to gain the very weight she’d shed.
He also lost most of his gorgeous head of hair and took up cigar smoking. All of this resulted in Maggie, quite simply, falling out of lust with her man.
She vows there’s no tennis pro hiding in her boudoir. That she hasn’t strayed, but worries she’s doomed to a life of sexual dissatisfaction.
I asked Maggie if she’d spoken to Eddie about this and she said no, because she felt like she was a selfish person who should appreciate him for who he is as a father and a husband.
That those things alone should be enough to make Eddie attractive to her, especially since he’d loved her through her own bout of self-described unattractiveness.
She also worries that if she tells Eddie how she feels, their sex life will end entirely because he may no longer initiate.
My advice to Maggie was to be honest with her husband, and let him know this is a problem for her, therefore a weak spot in the marriage.
While I believe Maggie when she says she isn’t having an affair, I can’t help but worry that’s a possibility if the subject isn’t addressed.
My own 12-year marriage has certainly had its share of sexual ruts and times we don’t find each other attractive.
Just the other night I got into bed next to Henry ready to snuggle up to sleep when he began to kiss me. Oh. This isn’t a peck. Perhaps this is a sexual overture? There’s only one way to find out.
“Should I take out my bite guard?”
“Yes, take out your bite guard.”
FLOOSHWACKAAAA. That’s what it sounds like when I take out my night guard. It’s especially sexy if there’s a lot of spit slinky-ing between my mouth and the bite guard when I remove it.
Henry asked if I wouldn’t mind brushing my teeth before we resumed. Could it be he didn’t find the bite guard sexy?
I also only wash my hair twice a week or it gets frizzy, so sometimes Henry asks me to please wash my hair before I get into bed because I smell like “an eight-year old boy after he’s lost an egg tossing competition and has a dozen yolks in his hair.”
What I’m learning as we go along, is that sometimes sex just isn’t that great, or important.
But there are other times when it flourishes again and can even be exciting. And communication about dissatisfaction, while it may seem unfriendly or mean, is often what it takes to get out of a rut.
I’d love to hear any suggestions you may have for Maggie and to hear how you’ve battled sexual boredom, lulls, lack of desire in your own relationships.
And if you enjoyed this article you’re going to love Shanon’s book, “Married Sex: Fact & Fiction.” You can order it RIGHT HERE!
26 thoughts on “Sexual Dissatisfaction: When Your Spouse Is No Longer Attractive To You”
“SWEET & DULCET” being a slight Shanxaggeration.
dripping with honey, honey?
I think you’re right about being honest with him about it. Well, maybe not totally honest. I wouldn’t say I’m not attracted to him anymore. I would say something about how I’m just not into it anymore and I don’t feel that urge and maybe we’re not connected emotionally like we used to be.
I find the closer I am to my spouse on an emotional level, the more attracted I am to him physically.
Either that, or he could roofie her. Either way….
Fabulous use of a rape joke there. Just hilarious.
The cigar smoking’s got to go. I’ve found men sexy (and incredible lovers) despite pasty white bellies, not enough hair on the head and a bit too much sprouting from other parts, bizarre facial hair stylings, but I canNOT kiss a man whose mouth smells like a dog’s ass. No matter how much good history and loyalty we’ve built up between us.
I’m with you on no mouth that smells like a dog’s butt. Or a cat’s butt for that matter. I’m always waking up to discover one of my two cat’s buttholes and inch from my face.
I think sometimes it harder as we age. We’ve seen a lot more bodily functions from each other than we’d care to admit. The aging process makes it sometimes harder to get excited and all lusty like we used to. But it will come back – I have to believe that. Honesty IS always the best policy. Good luck to Maggie and Eddie. Sounds like a Springsteen song!
Just the idea of Maggie and Eddie being the title of a Springsteen song breathes life into their sex life. Will pass this on to them.
Perhaps a more subtle approach would be to ask him to take up tennis again with her. One match may be all it takes for him to realize that between the weight gain and the cigars, he’s not in the kind of shape he’d like to be in. He used to love it, now she plays, so it makes sense for them to do it as a couple, and then she may not have to bring up any of the other issues with him at all. Wheezing and gasping for air can be a pretty good indicator that you need to quit smoking and/or start exercising again.
Bethany that’s a genius idea. One thing that’s true is that when Henry gains weight – or I do – we remind ourselves our main job as a couple is to stay healthy. When we focus more on being healthy than on appearance it’s easier to kick in and take care of ourselves. Henry’s five years older than me, but I still expect him to wait on dying until I’m ready too. Man I’m morbid.
Well, I’m with someone who gets their feelings hurt really easily and I would never say that I’m not attracted to him. Just like it would me, that would absolutely crush him. I think the idea that he take up tennis with her is a brilliant idea too.
It does seem a kinder, gentler approach.
It isn’t “nice” to tell your husband that his belly is a turn-off, but if you hadn’t he might have done nothing and your desire would have plummeted even more. It’s really hard being honest, and there are some things worth fibbing about, but when sexy time is affected then it should sound like the bridge of the Star Trek Enterprise that time the Klingon’s ship pulled in real close, or that other time when the weird big-headed aliens attempted to take over Capt. Kirk’s mind.
Chloe you kill me! I love the way your mind works.
Okay going to be hated for this comment. I am ready for the backlash. But my advise …… Have an affair, better said , have a fling, pure sex. That will bring back your self esteem, and the best sex you will have with your husband is when you feel naughty, beautiful and hot. But remember , its only a fling, one to be done only once, maybe twice, no strings attached and no emotional ties. Shoot, you even use a different name. Cant guarantee it will forever fix your marriage sexual boredom , but oh those memories will get you through the boring sex. Okay let me have it. LOL……
Marlen you crack me up. Your comment is reminding me of Meryl Streep in The Bridges of Madison County. So romantic. But she did end up falling in love with that old bastard Clint. Is it possible to keep hot sex from destroying your marriage? I just don’t know. I suspect the answer is different for everyone. In my pre-wedded days if I had hot sex with a man he could be a serial killer and I’d think I was in love with him. I spent five years with a man because of the hot sex when out of bed we had little to nothing in common (oh, and I wasn’t the only woman he was having hot sex with — sigh). So why your prescription might be sensible, it could also backfire. Why is life so complicated!
I think I feel same , sometimes It seemed like where was all that love we once had, there is really no connection anymore and I fear that one day I would get so tired of the marriage .
We see ourselves as barley housemates after our 2nd baby, but basically I feel in our life we take daily demands of everyday life too seriously and therefore ignore our precious moment which tend to make us both unhappy. I really do need help on this issue
Hi Shevon — if there is any way possible you guys could do a date night once a month (once a week would be ideal, but I know how hard that is with little kids). It’s impossible to stay close with the kids around all the time. If you could manage a date night — or even a date day one weekend a month – I have a feeling you’d see your spouse in a new light. Best of luck, Marriage can be so challenging. xo
I sort of stumbled on this site when googling the subject matter. My story is so similar – gained and lost weight, devoted husband, no longer attracted. Except I DID have an affair (yep, let me have it) and it’s true that the sex was AMAZING. It also didn’t help – in fact, it made matters worse. For me, I’m accepting that this is a symptom of long-simmering resentments. There had been dry spells, too much familiarity, as others have mentioned, but this is different. Boy am I Debbie Downer…
Don’t worry Maggie, we all have Debbie Downer days and it’s not for me or anyone to judge the path you’re on. One day at a time.
Ok. So found this while gooing the subject. Glad I’m not alone! Same story here just different people. We have been together 15 years and I’m young! Only 27 with three kids. I have considered an affair. I did tell him how I felt. Basically that our sex sucked and I was lonely. He travels a lot and now its to the point where I don’t even want to have sex with him. Hell I can’t even get excited. Hes not fat or bald, I’m not too fat.. or bald. Lol idk what to say ladies.. if the chance was given I’d have some hot sex just for kicks.
27! Boy was I behind the curve then. I don’t know what the right response is as the two of you have three little ones. As a child of divorce I’m always concerned about the kids first. Maybe you two are good co-parents, but not good romantic partners? Once kids are in the equation it’s tricky. Then again “the truth will out.” I wish you and your husband all the best, whether together or apart raising kids. xo S
We’ll, I googled this topic for some insight into how I am feeling. A male who has never really been drawn to my wife’s appearance, and at this time everything is ready to pop after many years of slow simmering. I now am having a hard time getting in the mood, it’s not her weight, just that she is not “my type”. We made a terrific couple for raising our children (older now) but simply awful romantic partners! She says the sex is great, but I am always feeling that we just never sync..like we are dancing to different music.
I don’t know what the answer is, no one in my family ever gets divorced, but I would trade just about anything for the chance to be with a woman who draws me in with her physical attributes, a look that revs my motor.
My advice? Figure out a way to make that happen, that is what I m doing.
I’ll be interested to follow this story. I hope you find what you need while managing not to hurt anyone? I don’t know if that’s possible, however.
Hmmm..the article and the comments don’t really help. About 2-3 years into our relationship my wife started to put on loads of weight , never made an effort to keep fit or healthy. Sex life had never been great but I did love her. I always suspected sex was really never that important to her and within the same time-frame sex became non-existant. I raised this over the years a couple of times but now after 15 years of marriage I am completely miserable. I find my wife completely unattractive. I have made an effort to keep slim and healthy and the passage time has only confirmed the truth : my wife never found love making interesting or important. Once she had a man she let her self go and never made an effort. I often think if I really loved her it wouldn’t make a difference so perhaps I’m just really shallow. I guess theres no way to tell your wife you find her unattractive in the end. Ultimately it will just make things worse and by worse the next step for us is separation. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to separate though as over a 15 year period we’ve had sex no more than 100 times…
Hey eggplant. I’m not a licensed professional, but I can certainly understand your frustration. While sex isn’t everything in a marriage it is certainly very important. I guess the bottom line is what you need the most. Whether you need the comfort and security of the marriage more than sexual fulfillment? Or whether the lack of sex is ultimately a deal breaker. Only you can answer this question and it’s certainly a complex one.
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