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Never Consumated?!?

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  • Never Consumated?!?

    My friend just informed me that her marriage of more than a decade was never consumated. I'm agog. She wants my advice, and I don't even know where to begin. Frankly, I don't think I'm the person she should be talking to, but I want to give her some meaningful advice.

    I did say that if she isn't happy, and hasn't been happy, the amount of sex she (isn't) having won't suddenly make everything better. But even as I said that, I admit that getting out of a sex slump with a partner can feel like the planets have aligned.

    I'm curious to know what others think good advice would be for someone in this situation.

  • If she hasn't been too unhappy about it over that time there has to be a lot more to the story. Maybe the easiest thing is to start with their ages. I could see people in their 60s or even in their 50s not consummating a marriage. ED on his part or dryness and pain on her part are some of the conditions that could happen (he could be afraid of causing her pain). Past posts in WHI have indicated that there are some men who just don't seem interested in sex. Another thing, were they sexually active before marriage? Maybe he is under the impression that he has done what he needed to do. There are even such things as men being taught that sex is for reproduction and if she isn't going to be able to reproduce, they won't even try. Another scenario, was their marriage one of convenience, not love? Going back to ED, is he taking meds or does he have a condition that would make having sex difficult?
    I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
    Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

    From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia


    • ? ? ?

      Ummm...well, Wow...there could be a lot to unpack there. As jns said, there could be hormonal or similar issues with testosterone levels, estrogen levels, and biochemical stuff...

      Then there are the mental, emotional and other similar issues of religion, etc.

      Finally, what about sexual orientation? What if he is not attracted to women?

      I think without really knowing more, it's tough to say, aside from it being a real outlier. If they are both happy and it's something they are cool with (maybe not anymore...?) then so be it.

      As the saying goes: What happens between two consenting adults is nobody else's business.

      If she is wanting to crack that door open now after all this time then my advice would be to approach it with kindness, empathy and care because there are obviously some real deep-seated reasons why they never consummated, and they're both complicit in it for not talking about it much sooner.

      Keep us posted, and I sincerely hope they are able to resolve it, ahem, amicably! ;-)


      • There has to be a reason why, after that much time, it was never consummated — not once. I’m left wondering if this was a marriage that served more as a partnership agreement filling a specific purpose at the time (companionship only, shared medical insurance, tax breaks). Because a decade is a LONG time to be in a marriage without sex — let alone a marriage that never had ANY sex to begin with.

        I wonder if her partner simply never wanted sex, and she didn’t feel able to confront them about it? Whether it’s out of fear of pushing them or being open about her own desires… man, this is a tough one. I suppose she might have thought that eventually, things would change, and they haven’t?

        It’s impossible to know.

        You’re right about sex not suddenly making everything better and slumps are not easy to pull out of without work. This kind of slump… that’s on an entirely different level.

        I would advise her to approach her partner about it – but cautiously. Depending on the root cause for this lack of consummation, I’d say to tread lightly. That said, her needs and wants are valid — she owes it to herself and her marriage to talk about this with her partner. I hope it’s something that can eventually be remedied but I think she also has to consider what comes next if can’t be resolved.

        Is this a way of life she’s willing to continue with until death do they part, or…


        • This leaves so many questions, and until we know more about the 2 of them, I don't think we can give any meaningful advice.
          jns JonnyR and Alison H. all bring up good points already, so I can only build and expand on their ideas.

          What was their relationship like prior to marriage? Not just sexually, but generally?
          What is their relationship like now, generally? Do they like each other and generally get along?
          Are they intimate in other ways? Were they intimate with others prior to meeting each other? Are they both virgins? Has she been actively *trying* to have a sexual relationship with him? and he refuses, or is she passive, and just waits and wants more out of the relationship, expecting him to take the initiative?

          Was this an arranged marriage? What are their cultural and religious backgrounds?

          I think there's a ton more involved in this story, than your friend may even realize. I can think of so much more...but I'll stop my game of 20 questions right there. Ultimately, she's the only one that knows the real deal, and she's going to have to do what is necessary to right the ship-whatever that may mean for her. The fact that she's reaching out to anyone now, after all this time, could be an indicator that she's ready to make some changes.

          This reminds me of some good advice I received when I took on some new work responsibilities many years ago. I was struggling with tough decisions and concerned about making the correct decision when it had to be made within seconds/minutes. "Just make a move. Do something. The worst decision you can make is not as bad as doing nothing."
          In other words, trust instincts on this. Follow that inclination that's leading her toward change.

          Can't wait to get an update on this one.


          • Hmm...let’s see. Both straight, ostensibly anyway, and around 35 years old. As an outsider, they seem like an affectionate couple. She says he’s just never been interested. I did mention that asexuality is a valid orientation, which many people aren’t aware of.

            She seems unwilling to stay in a sexless marriage, and going poly is off the table for both of them. It seems like she needs to parse whether her dissatisfaction comes from a lack of connection or a dearth of orgasms. Either should be addressable IMO.


            • I wonder how their household operates. No sleeping in the same bedroom. No using of the bathroom at the same time. To me it seems as if she may have not conveyed her desires strongly enough. The vast majority of guys will respond to a determined partner's physical attempts at getting them going, even if they are not into it. Probably many, if not most, could have sex in their sleep and think that they are dreaming. I wonder if she has ever decided to take the lead and say that this is what we are going to be doing for the next half hour or hour or so. Are they afraid to touch each other in a sexual manner? Do they even joke with each other about sex? The start of their marriage was in their mid twenties when both should have had raging hormones.
              I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
              Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

              From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia


              • I thought of asexuality, and how if he was young enough, he may not have realized that that IS his preference. I suppose mid-twenties could fit that.

                I really think there's a lot more to this story. And bottom line, they are the only ones that know the situation, and she has to make some tough decisions.


                • I agree that there's def something being left out in the telling, a missing piece that makes it impossible to give good advice in this situation. I really hope they can work it out because they seem like a great couple in every other respect.


                  • Wednesday L.F., I agree with what everyone else has said. I feel like sexuality, physical conditions, general interest in sex, etc., could all affect the situation. I also am wondering if they have had any sort of sexual relationship with each other, or if she has a stricter view of what qualifies as sex.

                    I'd suggest listening with empathy and maybe gently suggesting couple's therapy if it's something that bothers her. I think being dissatisfied sexually versus being dissatisfied due to the lack of intimate connection with a partner are two different things sometimes, though they can obviously be connected. It's hard for you to offer her clear advice when you don't know everything, though, and even though she trusts you, she may not be comfortable telling you everything.



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