Sexless marriage/underlying issues


#1

I didn’t want to derail some of the other threads out there so I started my own.
**
Background**

My wife and I were married in our mid 20’s. We are both converts and conservative Catholics. We started out using NFP (not very thoroughly though). We had relations on average 1 or 2 times per month. We had our first child after 2 years of marriage and the second 18 months later. Since the second child we had relations maybe 5 times over then next 2-3 years (for a grand total of maybe 20-30 times during the marriage). The relations did “work” btw. We are now approaching 40 and it has been almost 10 years since our last relations.

I was a little clueless about this being an odd situation. At the time it just seemed to work out this way. She would fall asleep or have a headache etc. There were no impurity problems or anything like that involved. After the second child she developed PPD, she got diagnosed and started meds, but didn’t really talk to me about it. She eventually stopped the meds and is actually doing quite fine without them. After about 3 years from the 2nd childs birth I started trying to talk to her about this and was always evaded. Eventually it became that the meds are too dangerous for pregnancy. Once the meds stopped, it was an endless stream of headaches etc for a couple of years.

Eventually I did developed an impurity issue ( which I knew was evil and was battling) that she discovered. She was extremely hurt by this, as hurt as anybody I have ever read about. I recovered from this issue, although it is always a danger to fall back into. I am not blaming my issue on her, although it may never have happened if we didn’t have the relations issue or at least could have discussed it (that we will never know, I could have very well developed it anyway). Anyway, she then claimed everything was the result of this (retroactively???) and future discussion became completely impossible. I eventually figured out that she had been abused in someway before I ever met her and that is likely a primary factor and she acknowledged that my issue was not the cause but made things more difficult (i agree). She absolutely refuses to talk to a priest, doctor counselor etc about any of this. I think she likes to believe that this is all normal most of the time.

That was the history.

Current Situation

Now our relationship is actually pretty good. She no longer has any depression or anger issues, my impurity issues are under control and I am much less tempted and less frustrated. We got control of our finances. We are not having any relations of course. I am resolved to that and that makes things much easier. My question is it okay to leave well enough alone? Unlike some of the other similar threads there is no mental abusive issues, we are loving and helpful to each other etc. Still it is not normal, there is something wrong that could be fixed, but it would cause much pain to get there.

To complicate things, the last discussion (if you could call it that, more like a few hesitant whispers) we had 6 to 12 months she said something referring to post menopause. Since my issues that is the only indication I have had the she would ever consider it again. I have a problem with this. First of all it I feel it would be kind of wrong as it is not open to life (to only have relations post menopause). Second, from a practical matter, it will have been 20 years at that point. Third, a consequence of this situation is although I love her and (try my best) to treat her like a bride, I don’t and can’t think of her that way, I need to keep my sex drive subdued.

I guess my big worry at this point is this, if I leave well enough alone with an unresolved issue and poor communication, am I setting us up for a future problem. What happens when the kids are out of the house? What example have we set for our kids (will they think we used ABC, wonder why we have never shut our bedroom door)? Am I neglecting her by not forcing the issue? Is there a moral problem for living in sexless marriage without just cause (assuming the issues can be resolved)?

Sorry quite rambling post I know.:confused::confused::confused: I have try to post about this several times in the past, heck I might delete this post before long.:o


#2

[quote="Sman, post:1, topic:238825"]
Eventually I did developed an impurity issue ( which I knew was evil and was battling) that she discovered.

[/quote]

Pornography?

[quote="Sman, post:1, topic:238825"]
She was extremely hurt by this, as hurt as anybody I have ever read about. I recovered from this issue, although it is always a danger to fall back into. I am not blaming my issue on her, although it may never have happened if we didn't have the relations issue or at least could have discussed it (that we will never know, I could have very well developed it anyway).

[/quote]

The graces that enable you to battle impurity come directly from God through the Sacrament of Marriage, not the marriage act. Although a married couple must be open to children, the marriage act is not essential to a marriage. Look at St. Joseph and St. Mary; they had the most perfect marriage, and they are a model for us all.

[quote="Sman, post:1, topic:238825"]
Anyway, she then claimed everything was the result of this (retroactively???) and future discussion became completely impossible.

[/quote]

Well, it probably was. If it was pornography, that is a serious, addictive sin. Do you and your wife go to the Sacrament of Confession regularly, say, weeky?

[quote="Sman, post:1, topic:238825"]
I eventually figured out that she had been abused in someway before I ever met her and that is likely a primary factor and she acknowledged that my issue was not the cause but made things more difficult (i agree). She absolutely refuses to talk to a priest, doctor counselor etc about any of this. I think she likes to believe that this is all normal most of the time.

[/quote]

You cannot force her, but you can be an example yourself. Go to confession more frequently. The more you go, the more comfortable she may feel going, too.

[quote="Sman, post:60, topic:28074"]
My question is it okay to leave well enough alone?

[/quote]

If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

[quote="Sman, post:1, topic:238825"]
we are loving and helpful to each other etc. Still it is not normal

[/quote]

You mean never having marital relations again is not normal? No, it's perfectly fine if you both mutually agree to it. (Read about the marriage debt here and Whether carnal intercourse is an integral part of this sacrament, which it isn't.)

[quote="Sman, post:1, topic:238825"]
To complicate things, the last discussion (if you could call it that, more like a few hesitant whispers) we had 6 to 12 months she said something referring to post menopause. Since my issues that is the only indication I have had the she would ever consider it again. I have a problem with this. First of all it I feel it would be kind of wrong as it is not open to life (to only have relations post menopause).

[/quote]

If a marriage debt has to be paid, it has to be paid, though. There is a small possibility life could result. Look at Abraham and Sarah!

[quote="Sman, post:1, topic:238825"]
Second, from a practical matter, it will have been 20 years at that point. Third, a consequence of this situation is although I love her and (try my best) to treat her like a bride, I don't and can't think of her that way, I need to keep my sex drive subdued.

[/quote]

It sounds like she should be paying the marriage debt, but since you can't force her, pray instead. Develop a devotion for the most beautiful woman ever, Mary the Mother of God, by praying the Holy Rosary. She will help you with chastity. The purer you become, the more you will consider and treat your wife as a very beautiful, honorable woman. Although I don't know her personally, I already know that she wants to be treated like a queen. All women want that. What better way to do this than to pray for the intercession of the Queen of Heaven?

[quote="Sman, post:1, topic:238825"]
I guess my big worry at this point is this, if I leave well enough alone with an unresolved issue and poor communication, am I setting us up for a future problem. What happens when the kids are out of the house? What example have we set for our kids (will they think we used ABC, wonder why we have never shut our bedroom door)?

[/quote]

They probably don't even notice whether your door is open or closed. In marriage, how the husband treats his wife is the #1 most important example he can set for his kids.

[quote="Sman, post:1, topic:238825"]
Am I neglecting her by not forcing the issue?

[/quote]

You could have sex every night and still be neglecting her.

[quote="Sman, post:1, topic:238825"]
Is there a moral problem for living in sexless marriage without just cause (assuming the issues can be resolved)?

[/quote]

You only have a problem if you don't pay the marriage debt, viz., if she is the one who initiates and you refuse.


#3

[quote="Geremia, post:2, topic:238825"]
Pornography?

[/quote]

Yes a few years into the situation.

[quote="Geremia, post:2, topic:238825"]
The graces that enable you to battle impurity come directly from God through the Sacrament of Marriage, not the marriage act. Although a married couple must be open to children, the marriage act is not essential to a marriage. Look at St. Joseph and St. Mary; they had the most perfect marriage, and they are a model for us all.Well, it probably was. If it was pornography, that is a serious, addictive sin.

[/quote]

The pornography definitely played a roll later on, but it wasn't there from the beginning.

[quote="Geremia, post:2, topic:238825"]
Do you and your wife go to the Sacrament of Confession regularly, say, weeky?

[/quote]

I go fairly often, once a month or every other month I would say. More often if i feel like i am slipping. She goes about 3 times a year.

[quote="Geremia, post:2, topic:238825"]
You only have a problem if you don't pay the marriage debt, viz., if she is the one who initiates and you refuse.

[/quote]

That was my concern what if the debt is requested of me, but I think you answered it. It would not be wrong for me to honor it in that circumstance.

Thanks for the rest of the advice and information as well, it is quite helpful.


#4

I’m not a psychologist, but it surely does sound to me as if your wife doesn’t enjoy and is evading marital intimacy, perhaps truly because she was traumatized by some negative experience (sexual abuse) pre-dating your marriage. It sounds as if she is making excuses to avoid doing something she doesn’t enjoy to do. It’s a pity she is not open to any discussions and any help from a specialist. You would probably be best off talking to a specialist who knows how to help people who have been sexually abused in the past. It might be worth it to make an appointment and discuss your marriage with such a therapist, even if your wife refuses to join and you have to go alone.


closed #5

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