Today’s Untold Stories post was sent as a response to some questions I posed for this post asking ‘how important is sex in a long term relationship‘, but there are some key things within it that made me want to share it as a standalone. Questions it raised for me personally were things like ‘how much is sex tied up in my self-worth and why?’ and ‘to what extent do I want to feel desired to make me feel powerful or in control?’ When I thought about it, I haven’t ever been in a relationship where I’ve not felt sexually desired 99% of the time and I think if I’m honest with myself I would really struggle with feeling secure and loved without that.
It’s very much tied in to what I have been reading and thinking a lot about lately – the concept of the male gaze and, as a woman, your role being to be SEEN rather than to just BE. I would say that I have used sex a lot, especially when I was younger, as a way to get attention and to feel noticed or important, and although I am understanding more and more where this comes from, it’s a very difficult habit to break – to separate your worth as a woman from your sexual desirability. Anyway, that’s what this post made me think about. I’d love to know what questions it raised for you, so please do leave a comment.
This is actually my longest relationship. I met my husband online and when we got together one of the things that I really liked was how affectionate he was. It wasn’t just sex, it was intimacy. Probably for the first time in my life I felt really loved and accepted.
I was rampant through my pregnancy, I literally couldn’t get enough sex, (thank you hormones), and after baby things picked up after the initial ‘I’ve never known tiredness like this’ phase.
Things started to dwindle on a really steep drop after that. Lots of cuddling and touching but not so much sex. I felt rejected, he felt knackered. I did that love languages quiz to try and understand a bit better.
Unsurprisingly my love language is touch and words of affirmation, his are acts of service and quality time. We had the conversation – ‘this is when I feel loved, I love it when you do this’ – but there was no change.
We seem to be on a three month roundabout with our row about sex. We are tired, we have three kids, we are in the middle of a global pandemic, so time for intimacy is in short supply but still… we’re now down to once a month. When it happens it’s awesome. In the three weeks it doesn’t we are both knackered and just trying to survive lockdown with our mental health intact.
I often think it’s a case of mismatched sex drives, pandemic, my upbringing and previous relationships and the insecurities and baggage they have left me with. Plus the fact that we’ve been together six years now. Is sex ever as thrilling as that first year?
My husband will say there is nothing wrong with our relationship and that we are solid as a rock. He says he’s happy. I wonder if I’m unreasonable.
I worry about lots of things – is he going off me? Has he got someone else? Have we drifted apart? Then we have a big row, I feel somewhat reassured and we start all over again. I read a post recently online – a woman thinks her husband is cheating because his farts smell different. She thinks he’s been out with another woman eating Thai food. My first thought was ‘that’s hilarious’, but then I felt sad because she must feel really insecure to be scrutinising things at that level of detail.
The funny thing is if my husband actually wanted sex everyday I don’t think I would. I would feel desired and wanted but I don’t think I’d be up for it. So maybe the problem isn’t sex, it’s about feeling wanted and desired. I know he loves me, he dotes on me, but after three babies I feel like my body is a bit redundant.
A lot of my self worth is tied up with sex. I was abused as a teenager so I was trained to believe that my intrinsic value was in the pleasure I could give others. After years and years of counselling I am so much better but that belief feels as part of me as my fingerprints.
If you’d like to write something for Untold Stories, about anything at all, please get in touch.
Firstly thank you so much for writing this, i didn’t respond on Twitter because i have family and friend on here and revealing my sex life is not at the top of my list at the moment. BUT it is almost exactly where myself and my partner are at the moment. I am absolutely wanting to have more sex than my husband. We’ve talked about it and dissected it an other than me convincing myself that he just doesn’t want me and him saying its just because he is tired now we have a 2 year old, work is awful, the mood the pandemic has him in is bad and also his weight gain during lockdown, we are actually no closer to actually having sex. Again our overall relationship is great, we still share intimacies, but i feel so guilty for wanting to have sex more often. i almost wrote a full counselling session here but i deleted it to say that i feel almost the same as you do about how that rejection or lack of sex feels and the connection i fee between sex and relationships. Anyone who says this doesn’t happen is simply wrong
Thanks so much for your comment and so interesting that you came from Twitter as I was kind of shocked by the responses on Twitter – the oh so casual ‘haha does this happen??’ type of response. I think that has really negative impacts then on both men AND women, both being made to feel like they aren’t ‘normal’ in their level of desire. I guess the fact is that different people just have different sex drives and that as well as varying from person to person, they can vary dramatically throughout a lifetime too. It’s great that you are talking about it though – I’m sure that is really key, otherwise it’s just going to be building insecurity and resentment. It’s so tough though when there is a mismatch NOT to feel like it’s something wrong with you. I hope you keep talking and are able to find a solution that works for you both. x
Hi I’ve only just noticed that you’d replied so apologies. I saw the twitter responses and wanted to reply perhaps more publicity to boost understanding but again I have too many family on there lol. We do still talk about it and actually have made some positive progress which is great! Take care and I love the blog x
Agreed! Like anything else in life, there is no one rule for everybody.
I love your “untold stories.” The real experiences give other women the chance to not feel alone. Thank you for your hard work and for sharing!
Even if we are in a relationship and love a partner, this does not mean that our eyes are closed. There are many interesting people around, and it is normal that we look at them – this is a mode of openness to the world. Our psyche is arranged in such a way that we notice around those things that correspond to our needs. If I’m full, I don’t pay attention to the windows of grocery stores or restaurants, but as soon as I start feeling hungry, I notice buns everywhere. In relationships, something similar happens: when a person from our environment stands out from the general background and becomes special for us, this means that in a certain way he falls into an important need for us.