real life

'We had sex just twice a year for 12 years: Why I finally left my sexless marriage.'

I left a marriage of over a decade with a person I love and who loves me. We met in our twenties then traveled, completed our degrees and purchased a home. Our values matched and we were a great team. On face value we were perfect. We were the couple that annoyed everyone on social media.

The secret nobody knew was my ex has no desire or need for sexual intimacy. In over a decade they initiated sex once, then changed their mind. We had sex maybe two to three times a year for over 12 years.

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Video by Mamamia

It is difficult to communicate how painful that is. The rejection cements in you a belief that you are revolting and not enough. You come to believe you are undesirable and an embarrassment.

Whenever I tried to discuss our sex life my ex responded with rage. I learned never to mention it. I shut down and convinced myself sex just wasn’t a part of my story. Their lack of attraction towards me was because I was unworthy.

As the years went on, I comforted myself with food, felt deeply lonely and withdrew. I manifested reasons to be unattractive. I caged myself in fat. In the end, I couldn’t even be hugged without recoiling, it was too painful.


I cried when I saw them naked. I’d look at them and think “you’re gorgeous.” I never stopped loving or wanting them.

I stayed so long because I adored them and because my childhood was difficult.

I am wired to put myself last and to expect little. I am accustomed to rejection. We also did life well together, we ticked off goals and loved each other’s families.

Eventually, I had an emotional affair at work.

It lead to infatuation, humiliation and more rejection. My colleague ultimately betrayed me but their playfulness and flattery undid me. They reminded me that maybe I was enough.

The affair also forced my spouse and I into marriage counselling. We worked through many things successfully, but in the end they couldn’t do sex or babies.

It took everything in me to leave my marriage. Loving someone and saying goodbye is devastating. It took years to allow myself to realise a “nearly perfect” spouse is still not enough. Physical intimacy is a human need.

My sex-starved marriage triggered my inner child’s devastation at being rejected by my parents.

It’s been over a year since I first left my spouse. I still haven’t had sex. I’ve accepted I might not find someone; that I left a great companion for the hope of a life I may never have. Daily I remind myself all will be well, regardless.

The feature image used is a stock image.

Feature Image: Getty