sex

"I spent three years in a sexless relationship in my twenties, and not by choice."

Like any great love story, it all happened very fast. We met, went on romantic dinner dates, met friends and family and fell in love within a month. The haze of the first few weeks of dating can be so blinding to any red flags. A little awkward and anxious? Cute. Still living at home? Adulting is hard! Not instigating sex? So respectful! Or, so I thought.

Despite all this, though, there was something else that I just couldn’t put my finger on, but something didn’t feel quite right.

We discussed our feelings towards sex early on. What we enjoyed, what we didn’t and what we were expecting from the other. I told him that while yes, I enjoyed it, for me it was more about being intimate with someone else.

He said he liked things adventurous. I admitted that for me, it was more about an expression of love, rather than trying to do it as many ways as possible.

Those first few times were awkward. As a person with a healthy sexual appetite, I thought that perhaps I’d been approaching it all wrong. It’s much better to be with someone who cares about you, than cares only about sex, right? I brushed it off. Perhaps contributing to the awkwardness of every encounter, were my feelings regarding my attraction to him. Of course, there was attraction, though it was romantic, more than it was sexual.

It was strange, because in the past, my desires had been overwhelming in relationships, yet this time, I felt almost subdued.

A few months in, we were very much in love and happy, yet, the frequency was diminishing. Like the frequency of my pay day, it was happening once a fortnight, at best. Every time, for the minutes after, it felt like a relief that our regularly scheduled session was over, and I would be reprieved from the action for at least two weeks, phew.

Well, for me, at least, though I’m sure he echoed the sentiment. I remember sitting on my bed at home one morning, and thinking ‘something isn’t right, this relationship isn’t right, get out.’ Did I listen to my gut? Of course not. But God, I wish I had.

Once a fortnight turned to once a month, and then, it just stopped. At first, I didn’t mind. I enjoyed being with him and seeing him and indulging in all those cute things you do in a relationship. I loved him. At three months sans sex, I started to be concerned. I voiced that, and he agreed that we needed to address it.

That night, we tried, however, his body just ‘wasn’t in the mood.’ As I went to sleep, deflated, as was he (quite literally) I reflected that every time, it was ME who had initiated intimacy, which was fine, but dammit, I just wanted to feel desired, to be desired. I wasn’t happy with this situation. The easiest thing I could have done was leave, but, I was not a quitter.

Once turned into many times. The more rejected I felt, the less desire I had to try. I had stopped trying, and he didn’t seem to mind. All of a sudden, it had been a year since we were intimate. ‘We have a big problem’ I said one day. He agreed, yet again, and expressed that perhaps we needed professional help.

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I thought that this was the only answer. I wanted to be with him, and I wanted this to work so badly. Yet, it was me who did the research, me who called around and me who ultimately booked our first session with the woman who would be our ‘sex therapist.’ I should have known that his lack of effort was telling.

She provided helpful, practical and logical advice. The problem though, was that he didn’t want to change. For a year we attended sessions that would ultimately draw us further apart.

After every appointment, he reiterated that he didn’t think that it was him that had the problem, it was because I was vanilla and that didn’t turn him on enough. He took no responsibility for the fact that his obsession with porn contributed to this misconception that I alone wasn’t enough. A real-life woman. Still, I persisted.

After a year of spending MY money on therapy, I had enough. If this was going to work, then it was in OUR hands. Yet, at that point, I lost all desire to even touch him. I forgot what he even looked like naked. It was a friendship, and I knew I had to get out.

Though, I was terrified, and his disposition to anxiety and depression kept me hanging on. As the ultimate people pleaser, I was putting his happiness above my own. I was desperate, yet still, I continued, despite the pleas from my friends, the only ones who knew how dire the situation had become.

My body started to react. I couldn’t sleep, I was waking up with my heart rate through the roof. I was losing weight, and people were complimenting me, all the while blind to the truth. I couldn’t take it anymore. One night in the shower at his place, I started to cry. Howling and uncontrollable.

I came out, soaking wet, and just said ‘I’m not happy, I can’t do this anymore’ and he hugged me, consoled me, breaking my heart even further. We went on a break, until I ultimately told him that this was it, I really couldn’t do this anymore. He was shattered, broken, and it broke me, too.

But, I felt so light again, and not just because of the stress-induced weight loss. I knew I was doing the right thing, for both of us, because ultimately, he would find someone who accepted and loved him the way he deserved, because I wished only the best for him.

It’s been over a year since I took the leap out of that relationship, and I am happily single. Open to love, but the right love, this time. And I have learned to follow my instincts, always.

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