Can a long-term union be happy without sex? One 34-year-old mom says yes. She anonymously shares all the not-so-dirty details of why not getting busy led to her wedded bliss.
My husband and I met at 24, got married at 26, and had our daughter at 29. Now we’re both 34, and we’ve probably only had sex six or so times in the past year.
And honestly? We’re perfectly happy. It’s something I wouldn’t ever tell my friends, but it works for our marriage. My husband is my best friend, my soul mate… and our marriage is fine the way it is—without any acrobatic Kama Sutra-type moves.
I’m not a prude. I lost my virginity when I was 16. I’ve used a vibrator. I’ve read Fifty Shades of Grey. I appreciate the idea of sex, but I feel about it like I feel about working out: I know there are a ton of people who love it and can’t get enough of it, I know it’s good, I know I’ll enjoy it when I’m actually doing it, but it takes a lot to drag me off the couch (or into bed).
My husband’s the same way. Even when he and I first began dating, it seemed like we felt a lot closer talking under the covers than we did having sex. We enjoyed sex when it happened, but it never felt like the main point of our relationship. Now, 10 years later, he and I definitely make time for intimacy—we have date nights, we cuddle on the couch, we’ll even sleep naked together sometimes in the summer—but we also don’t have sex unless both of us are really raring to go.
It’s not that I’m not attracted to my husband. He’s hot! And I know he’s attracted to me too. Despite my earlier comment about the gym, we both do stay in shape, and our lack of sex doesn’t have anything to do with how we feel about each other physically. It’d be one thing if we suddenly stopped having sex, but since we’ve always been like this, it just feels right.
I know what you’re thinking: That he probably watches porn behind my back, or that he secretly wishes that we’d both get more action, but that’s not the case. It’s something we’ve talked about. While we like having sex with each other when we have it, we’re just not super-sexual people. In fact, he’s confessed that before he met me, he always wondered if something was wrong with him because he didn’t think about sex as much as stereotypical guys seem to. And to be honest, we did have sex pretty regularly when we first started dating. But the more comfortable we got with each other, the less essential it was for either of us. We probably did it once or twice a month for the first few years of our marriage. Then, I had a really tough pregnancy, and we maybe had sex twice. And honestly, once our daughter was born, we didn’t miss it. I asked my husband how he felt, and he’s pretty happy about the groove we’re in. Now that we’re parents, it’s really comforting to be able to end the day cuddling and know that it’s not “supposed” to lead to anything more.
In fact, I think in a lot of ways, not relying on sex makes our marriage more honest. We don’t have “make-up sex” and we don’t have sex as a way to mask all the things that aren’t going right in our lives. Instead, we have to talk and face up to what’s not working. I think that sex can solve a lot of everyday issues, but it doesn’t cover up the larger ones that lurk below the surface. Not having sex be a regular part of our routine means we’ve had to work harder to fulfill each other’s emotional needs. For example, after I’ve had a hard day, my husband will take on dinner prep and put our daughter to bed. It’s not because he expects anything; it’s just that he sees what I need and responds to it.
What would I do if my husband wanted more sex? Well, then, he wouldn’t be my husband. I don’t mean I wouldn’t have married him, but I do think one of the reasons why we get along so well is because we’re both on the same wavelength in terms of how much importance we place on our sex lives. Everyone is born with different sex drives—and I believe that problems arise when couples have wildly different sexual needs. But I don’t think that my husband and I are weird or abnormal in that neither of us is especially interested in sex. We’re human, and if I did surprise him one night by showing up in the bedroom clad only in lingerie, then I’m sure he would react appropriately. But at the end of the day, that wouldn’t be me, or us.
A few years ago, I was at a brunch with some close girlfriends when the subject turned to sex. One woman shared that she didn’t think a marriage without frequent sex was “real,” going on to say that it was more like a roommate relationship. Let me make one thing clear: My husband is far more than my roommate. Not only is he the father of my daughter, he’s also the person I love and trust more than anyone in the world. And I don’t need to do the deed a certain number of times a week to know that’s true.