A man’s monumental, all consuming sex drive is something that gets talked about all the time. His pre-occupation and readiness to engage in sexual activity is generally taken as a “given”. He wants sex in any form constantly, whether it be a quickie or an extended session of love making, most men do not pass up a chance to have it, see it or think about it. This is why so many men have a hard time understanding a woman saying that her husband is not interested in sex with her; especially when the woman in question is very attractive and exceptionally sensual.
It’s simply not something a man with a normal sex drive can easily understand. His male brain is awash in testosterone and it rejects the comment as something that can NOT be true. The first thing he says to me is “But you’re HOT!” As if the fact that what I look like could have prevented a man’s interest from disappearing completely. The next thing a man will say when hearing that my husband refuses sex with me, is that he is either getting it elsewhere with another woman or he is secretly gay. If I proclaim I don’t believe it’s either of those, it’s obvious to them (and they tell me) that the ONLY other reason has to be that he has undiagnosed prostate cancer and/or has been medically castrated and is suffering from low to no testosterone. That or he is a chronic masturbator who watches too much porn and is therefore unable to perform in real life.
To a man, they say it is not possible for a healthy normal, heterosexual man to not want sex with an attractive, available woman who is actively trying to seduce him. I even have male homosexual friends who are horrified when I tell them I live in an enforced state of almost virtual celibacy in my marriage and they say that while they may be gay, I would be the exception to their normal preference. Then they make delightful comments about my lips and assertive personality.
The point is, among a few other issues, I truly believe that my husband is a sexual anorexic. We have no understanding between us that sex is not something we do not want to participate in as a couple. As a matter of fact, I made the silly assumption that when I got married, sex would be included as “part of the package”, but it wasn’t. The issue with someone who is sexually anorexic is that they can conform to the basic demands of your minimum sexual needs for enough time to convince you that your sex drives are similar. Once you are married, or the longer you are together, they are no longer able to fake that level of interest and that is when the excuses start for their diminished then non existent interest in the sexual aspect of a relationship.
Sex becomes a huge issue of constant disappointments and crushed expectations. Resentment builds and countless conversations are had with promises to resolve things in the “future” and to try harder or be more aware of physical needs. And to be honest, there is normally a surge of a day or two of renewed efforts which then dissipates with the predictability of a deflating balloon. The constant and repetitive arguments about sex and intimacy are not even so much about your partner’s almost complete lack of interest in it, but their demands of concurrent fidelity.
They want you to remain faithful to them, while removing your only source of consensual and mutual pleasure. They want to take away your ability to touch and be touched. They remove access to your only socially valid source of desire. They remove not just your sexual and mental outlet but your emotional one as well because you feel lied to and manipulated.
The angrier and more stressed you get from the lack of sexual interest, the happier they seem with it. You respect them less and less when it comes to being a sexual partner while still loving who they are as a person, as a parent as a partner. This creates a huge dichotomy which many people struggle with and why so many people finally reach the point of finding someone else to meet those needs that your partner is unable to fulfil. It’s not about excitement or boredom. It’s not about inability to stay committed or having a sexual bucket list you want to work your way through.
When you are living with a partner who is sexually anorexic, it is no different than living with a partner who has any other medical condition that prevents them from participating in a normal and healthy sexual relationship. If you were no longer able to have sex, would you expect your partner to give it up because you could no longer have it? If you could no longer eat normally and needed a feeding tube, would you expect your partner to give up food to be fed the same way as you were? If you developed a degenerative eye disease and lost your vision, would you expect your partner to give up theirs as well? Or perhaps expect them to never go to an art gallery again just because you could no longer enjoy it with them?
Most couples would communicate through this. One would acknowledge the others lack of ability/interest and respect the fact that their circumstances have changed compared to what things used to be like. The other partner would acknowledge and perhaps even apologize for the inability to perform in the function they once had, even if it’s through no fault of their own. They would be sympathetic to the difference. They would acknowledge that while their circumstances have changed, their partners did not and there is now a very large gap between them. This does not have to result in a marriage failing, if people were honest about their needs and understanding of their partners.
This should instigate a conversation on how to “fix” the disparity and provide some alternatives to what they once had and what one partner hoped to continue. In the case of sexual anorexia, rather than suggesting or offering a sexual surrogate, which would make the most sense, most partners demand sexual fidelity and this is what creates the largest source of frustration to the partner who has had their sex life removed from them without their consent.
Most normal people, with no addiction or mental health issues, do not want to replace the connection of a relationship that includes sexuality with pornography and masturbation. The need to touch and be touched is so powerful that it alters the morals we believed in and had faith that worked for us. It’s why people start an affair which begins with the intent of sex with limited emotional involvement. We need BOTH because we wanted and expected to have both when we chose our partners. We were not prepared to have the physical aspect removed with a large majority of the mental and emotional connection along with it.
This is also one of the biggest fears of one spouse if they DID give permission for their partners to have a sexual surrogate. They fear that the connection will grow beyond one of friendship and care to one where love occurs. Then they are at risk of losing their primary relationship if their spouse decides that they like having a sexually dynamic relationship with another person. The fear is that they invited them into the marriage and that action will result in destroying it. It is why many people pretend to “not know” their spouse is having an affair, when they clearly do, so they have plausible deniability if things go wrong. Then they can pretend to be the outraged and wronged spouse who was cheated on and save their public face.
This is why most people who have been pushed into an affair, after enduring this type of situation, have no guilt about it, whether they are caught or not. It’s because we are the ones who feel like the injured party. We feel tricked and betrayed; we feel pushed into making a choice to be with someone else when all we ever wanted was that kind of relationship WITH our partner. At the very least, we expected our partner to work with us when we voiced our needs and concerns and help us come to a mutual understanding on how to handle things. We did not expect to be met with an attitude of casual dismissal and having our problem with the lack of sex and intimacy ignored, as if they didn’t matter.
We feel like we are dying inside from the lack of physical touch and there comes a point where we accept we can no longer live in our marriage as it is. Do we divorce our partner who we love, who is a good person, who manages the life and job balance well, who is smart and an amazing friend? Do we place our private need for sex above the public stable and secure family that functions beautifully and who everyone else views as how a family should work? Living a celibate life when you are a sexually viable adult and do not want to, while being in the presence of someone whom you want sexually, gives a whole new meaning to the word “frustration”.
Or can we accept the fact our spouse has a medical condition and is suffering from sexual anorexia. For the most part, they do not want to change or get help as they see it as something that adds no value to their life and do not understand how it impacts yours. They expect you to live in that unhealthy state as well. You can try and force them to change; get counselling and therapy or try medication, but you are forcing them. They do not want to do it because THIS is their “normal” baseline. If you make it an issue and state they have to have sex or attend counselling in order for the marriage to function, in order for you to stay faithful, then you are seen as the parent figure; as the bad guy for creating an issue where none existed, in their mind.
They have to want to want the change in order for any investment of time and counselling to work. Otherwise, they revert back to their normal state of being; which is someone who has a low to non existent libido. Forcing someone to perform sexually, when they don’t want to, is VERY dangerous both ethically and mentally. Many couples have had partners who submit to letting their partners use them to get off and it is not enjoyable for either party, even if orgasm is achieved. Sex is not about penetration to orgasm in 7 minutes but the bond the sexual experience creates and maintains. No man wants a woman to just lay there and spread their legs, while looking at the clock and saying “fine, hurry up, you have 10 minutes”.
So after months of fights about sex and then months of reflection on if they can continue to live this way or not, many people make a conscious choice to have an affair to replace the pieces of their marriage their spouse took away without discussion or permission. They decide on an affair as opposed to divorce as they do not want to impact their children’s lives because of their missing sex life, when everything else about the marriage and relationship is good. It is seen as the lesser of two evils and one they are resentful at having to choose in the first place because by nature, these are faithful people who did not ever expect to be placed in this position.
When someone has lied about their level of sex drive in order to secure a partnership, then that relationship was secured by fraudulent means and as such the contract of a monogamous marriage is null and void. At this point in time, a new contract has to be openly negotiated between the married couple or a de-facto one is created by the injured partner actively seeking recourse to have their needs met by an alternate partner. This could potentially lead to divorce if those bonds strengthen beyond what was originally negotiated and they make the decision to leave the original spouse in favour of the surrogate.
This is the chance you take. Love is not predictable. It does not follow a plan or a schedule or a timeline. The biggest issue is lack of communication and the necessity to lie in order to have a basic need met. If you did not have to lie to your partner and could be honest, then there would be less chance of the surrogate being idealized as a potential replacement to what they have. But fear keeps us from accepting what seems like a reasonable solution to a problem we have no control over. Jealousy lives inside of fear and when you feel threatened, then you become combative.
It is not your spouse’s fault that they are sexually anorexic; it is not their fault they have no sex drive. You have to accept it, just like they have to accept the fact that you have a normal sex drive that needs to be expressed. If you have to accept the fact that they do not want their bodies used for sexual purposes, then they have to accept the fact you are going to use yours in the pursuit of natural carnal pleasure that involves another person. They do not get to unilaterally impose celibacy onto you just like you do not get to force an unwilling person to have sex with you.
If you did force someone to have sex, that it is considered rape. Yet there is no term coined for the purposeful withholding of sexual intercourse and intimacy through deceptive acquisition of a relationship, by lying about your sexual interest level. How about a Sexual Anorexic Antagonist? Sexual Anorexic Antagonist Female (SAAF) and Sexual Anorexic Antagonist Male (SAAM). There can be a whole new Psychological classification based on a marriage where one person removes their intimacy and sexual self from their partner.
Then it would be possible for the Doctor to prescribe a sexual surrogate to the partner with the normal sex drive while working in conjunction with the other one on their low libido and sexual dysfunction. This way BOTH people get their needs met and the marriage gets to stay intact while the issues are being worked on. I am tired of people blaming a cheating partner for straying when the issue was the inability of their partner to be sexually viable. Remember, I am not talking about people who have addictions or other mental health issues.
I am tired of men making women fall in love with them, when they have no intention of loving them back. I am tired of married people falling in love with people who they have no right to, promising a future together, yet who have no real intention of leaving a spouse; who then internalize a message of self hate and blame. I am tired of spouses who have been cheated on, after refusing a normal and healthy sexual relationship with their spouses, act like a surprised injured party after the fact of discovery. I am tired of people understanding that rape is unacceptable and not understanding that withholding sex and intimacy from your partner, is just as psychologically damaging.
It’s time that our partner’s demand for fidelity, after extended refusal of sexual intimacy, be met with acknowledgement that it is an unreasonable request and you are no longer willing to comply with it. It’s time that we stop feeling guilty for the psychological condition of our partner. They are the ones suffering with a chronic condition called Sexual Anorexia Antagonism and much like any other type of Psychological disorder; the people intimately involved with them experience the condition in every single way except in perception. The person with no libido or sex drive see’s their partner as the Antagonist while the person who wants intimacy with another person see’s their spouse as being dysfunctional. What is considered “normal” will vary between couples. Some will be well matched at once a month while others will be well matched at once a day.
But if you weren’t honest or if you aren’t honest when asked about your real sexual needs then why do you expect honesty from the partner you are lying to?