I really need to have sex with my husband. Not just want, although that's definitely a factor, but need. The problem is… we're not exactly having sex these days, at least not on a regular basis.

It came up in a talk we had as we drove back from the pain doctor last week. I am regularly flirting with him, throwing out double entendres and dirty jokes, making sure to touch him and get Physical Touch in there, and I get chuckles out of him and sometimes a bit of reciprocating physical affection, but more often than not it's just a verbal acknowledgment of the joke and an implied rejection in the silence that follows. Sometimes I get an overt rejection, and rarely rarely rarely does he actually take me up on the offer.

I mean, I get why this is. His reasons are perfectly valid and acceptable, but that doesn't lessen the sting of rejection or the cumulative hunger and longing. It's stress, you see. Our life is super mega stressful right now because of the finances and my physical ailments, and it's been building and building and no matter what we do it just seems to keep piling up around us like a big, invisible grave and I just want to scream because it's just so hard. I feel like I can do anything, take on any challenge, with Drogo by my side, but the stress is eating away at him and burying him deep in soft, suffocating layers and I just don't know how much by my side he is anymore.

I'm a very sexual creature. I am, and I own that. (It's remarkable to be able to say that without shame; something I would never have been able to do a year or more ago!) It keeps me feeling emotionally connected, it relieves stress, it fights pain, and it regulates my mood and keeps me some above the incessant swirling blackness of depression. Being celibate on my terms is one thing, but this enforced dry spell? I'm not handling it well. He said that stress has killed his libido, and okay, that's valid. That's legitimate. But it hasn't killed mine, at least not entirely. Granted, I don't want to have sex as much as I did anymore. I just don't have the energy, I'm usually feeling crappy, and I just… don't. But I have never, ever turned him away when he makes advances. I know that if I give it a minute or two I'll get into it and want to proceed, and sure enough, that's what happens. It's just… you can only be turned down so often before it's just not even worth trying anymore.

I'm constantly flirting, trying to initiate… and now I understand the stories told by men with frigid wives, wives who have lost interest or gotten too busy and distracted with the family. I so get it now. The awful part? The awful part is that I know specifically several men and women who would jump into bed with me if I so much as gave half a consent. I can name them, count them on my fingers right now, but the only thing stopping me is loyalty and love to my husband. It just… it hurts, you know? I know it's not about me, but after a while you just kind of start to wonder, is it me? Do you even want to be in this marriage with me? Why am I so undesirable to you? How can I be such a hot commodity to everyone else, but you won't give me the time of day? And I can't… I can't do that anymore. So I guess I'm going to stop trying. What's the point? It only ever works when he feels in the mood anyway, so why bother? I'm so tired of getting turned down, turned away. Take your stress and leave me the hell alone.

…he doesn't even cuddle me anymore. The loving byplay of yesteryear is gone, and I am so achingly empty and alone. He knows how I feel-- I've not been secretive about this--but I suppose he feels as helpless as I do. He understands it, too. His comments and conversation on the topic makes that blatantly clear. But I just want to feel loved again… I know he loves me-- he says so. (Usually after I've said it first.) But I don't feel it. I feel like a nuisance, a burden, a more or less welcome roommate, an expensive pet maybe. No, he cuddles and caresses the cats more than he does me, so I don't even rank that high.

It hurts. It just hurts. And I don't know how to fix it except to fix myself and get better so there won't be any more crazy bills and not enough money in a paycheck for our basic necessities plus my medical needs and he won't withdraw every night into his man cave and while away the hours not thinking, not feeling, until he climbs into bed and falls asleep.

I know he loves me. But why can't he suck it up and show me? I want that more than anything in the world right now.

Update-- After posting this, I went ahead and succumbed to my grief and the body wracking sobs, though I tried to keep it mostly quiet. Somehow, Drogo has this freaky, uncanny talent of knowing 99% of the time when I'm crying and where I'm at, and today was no exception. I was just picking up my laptop again to edit the phrasing on some of the words (can't even remember now…) when he came into the room, laid down just behind me, and wrapped me up in a big, spooning embrace. That, of course, made me lose it even further, but I feel like I did a good job pretending that I was unaffected, even if he could completely see right through it. At first I thought that he was going to bed but it was much too early for that, so when I guessed/asked about it he answered wryly but truthfully.

As we lay there, ensconced in one another's arms, I found my courage and slowly spoke of most of what I'd written here, not even bothering to change the words. a.) I found them in the first place and I can re-use them if I so desire, b.) they applied so perfectly to the present situation.

Anyway, he vowed that he would be more affectionate with me, said that sometimes he forgets I need the touchy feelies so much. I really appreciated that (still do), and the conversation was quite productive. I feel much more loved, and in fact he answered one of my questions with a surprising yet pretty much protected wet boy. He retreats into his man cave and immerses himself in a fantasy world (whether it's games with the guys, anime, stumbling websites, etc.) partly because he just doesn't like seeing me sick all of the time. Who does? I reframed the question for myself, trying to imagine Drogo in my place and mine in his, and I can honestly say that I have zero confidence that I would not immediately do the same. I would hate to see Drogo sick day in and day out, being helpless to do a damn thing about it, and feeling like a big and clumsy oaf if I try to help him with day to day tasks. No, I completely understand why he does as he does, or at least well enough, but that doesn't lessen the sting or sort out the snarl of emotions.

I'm optimistic about the future. When he realizes there's a problem and says he's going to do something about it, he damn well does it. I don't expect to get more sex, and honestly this wasn't a ploy for more. If I can't get it without resorting to cheap parlor tricks and frosted glass bottles, then I can do without. I'm just really happy that he understands that this is a big deal for me and wants to make it better. I love that man. Oh, and he says that he loves me "lots and lots" :)

2 thoughts:

  • Friko | August 26, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    When you feel really unhappy and lonely can you just ask him to hold you? Just hold you, no pressure for sex. If you can get to a place where you comfort each other that’ll be a good beginning. Anything else may follow eventually.

  • Cassandra | August 27, 2014 at 6:45 AM

    Thank you, Friko. Good suggestion, and good compromise. I have definitely done this… but his response is, "But then I still have to stop what I'm doing!" LOL. He was teasing me when he said that… halfway… but we've opened up communication about this issue even more, thanks to your comment and exploring various compromises. Haven't come to any conclusions yet, but the conversation has been good, and very, VERY enlightening. Chronic illness and stress gets its teeth in there in places you wouldn't ever expect...

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