How We Survived a Sexless Marriage

j-and-eFor a long time I debated whether or not I would talk about sex, money, or some of the other taboo subjects on Uncaged Man.

That’s probably because it’s easier to stick to primal movement, nutrition and other safe topics, like rewilding your lifestyle.

But as I’ve been thinking more about what it means to be an uncaged man, I’ve decided that this is an important subject to speak about here. Perhaps it’s even essential.

Rewilding the domain of sex is just as important, if not more than any other area. Sex shouldn’t be left unenlightened, it’s an essential part of who we are, that often gets left in the dark.

Today I want to bring sex into the light by sharing with you my journey to confidently embodying my wild sexuality, but I can’t do that without first telling the story about how my wife, Ev’Yan, and I survived a sexless marriage.

It seems strange for me to talk about this now, because my wife after all, is a sex coach.

But it didn’t start that way.

For a long time, neither of us were sexually liberated. Much like the rest of our lives as domesticated humans, sex was just another domain that remained caged and neglected.

We both received a lot of conflicting programming about sex, from religion and society. Raised Christian, I was taught that sex is a sin, and that desire is carnal and unholy, something married people must do for the sake of having children. Not to be enjoyed, but accepted as a necessary evil.

Society, on the other hand, taught me that I was supposed to fuck lots of women, and that my worth as a man was based on how many women I conquered with my penis. The more women I fucked, the greater my prowess as a man grew.

So it’s no surprise that at the beginning of our relationship, I was completely identified with my performance sexually. My self worth was wrapped up in whether or not she wanted me.

At the time, Ev’Yan was struggling to come to terms with the trauma she experienced in a previous relationship, while also battling feelings of shame and guilt. Again, thanks to good ol’ Christianity.

All of that contributed to us not having much sex.

As you can imagine, my self-worth took a major hit. I was used to all the girls I had previously dated wanting sex whenever I wanted it. Little did I know, they probably felt like it was their “duty” to “serve their man,” something Ev’Yan was taught that created a lot of guilty feelings on top of the shame.

So, whatever was blocking wife’s desire, I took personally. I thought that it was about me, that I wasn’t good enough, or that I couldn’t come on to her in “just the right way.” After all, I never had a problem with this before.

And to make things even more confusing, our relationship wasn’t always this way.

In the beginning we were both filled with lust, we could barely keep our hands off each other. Because we lived in separate cities, and because we both had jobs, we would see each other only on a weekly basis. This just added fuel to the fire. The distance between us, combined with the fiery energy of a blossoming relationship, erupted in passionate love-making every time we met.

But once we moved in with each other, the fire was suddenly, and shockingly, extinguished.

The void of intimacy left me feeling confused and hurt. There were so many nights I cried myself to sleep. I thought something must be wrong with me. I began to see her not wanting sex as a rejection of me, as me not being good enough.

The shame she felt for not wanting to have sex just made me feel worse. Again, if only I could make her feel better, or more comfortable, I could magically heal her. Then she would open up to me. Then it would be all better.

David Deida said once that the chronic loop in a man’s mind is, “Am I succeeding, or am I failing?”

I felt like I was constantly failing.

At first, I made it my responsibility to “fix” her. I tried every technique I could think of. I would act nonchalant and aloof. I would try to touch her gently, or firmly. I would tell her jokes, tickle her, gaze deeply and lovingly into her eyes, or sweet talk her.

I tried everything.

But mostly, I tried to pretend that I didn’t care if we had sex or not. Which of course, was a lie. I’d roll over, turning away from her at night and try not to let her hear me cry. It only made the shame she felt worse, and letting her know I was crying meant that I was showing her just how weak I was.

So from then on I tried to act like I didn’t want sex. That I was fine without it.

She would ask if I wanted to take on another lover. “Really, it’s okay if you do, I understand,” she would say.

To do that for me, though, signified that I accepted defeat. I still believed that it was up to me to make things better. Our love could heal everything. If only I could find a way to love her hard enough.

Of course, that didn’t work. Over time we had to realize that this wasn’t about us, it was about shame. It was about healing the trauma and internalized guilt buried underneath the surface. Nothing could be transformed before it was looked at with compassion, and allowed to be let go.

Even as we began to do our own work—for Ev’Yan it was on her shame and trauma, for me it was on my identifying with her wanting me—we still had a lot of tension to cut through.

One of the hardest things that happens is that over time in a sexless relationship, so much tension and negative energy gets associated with even thinking about sex that you just stop wanting to even try. The idea of even considering it feels exhausting. It becomes easier to just avoid it altogether.

We both dreaded bedtime as it loomed closer each night. Would tonight be the night we do it? Or would it just be another round of disappointment?

Then we finally made a breakthrough.

But it wasn’t after processing our repressed emotions, and choosing new beliefs, though those things certainly helped. No, it was after agreeing to not have sex.

At the time this seemed borderline ridiculous to me. I mean, we already weren’t having sex, why did we need to make it official? But at the advice of our therapist, we took it off the table completely.

I thought it was pointless, I believed that it would only amplify our despair. Then something unexpected happened. The pressure to have sex was lifted from both of us. We felt lighter. We felt like we could breathe and just be together without dreading whether it was going to happen tonight or not.

And something even more interesting happened. Because sex had been forbidden, we suddenly wanted it even more. It was like the cookie jar that we weren’t supposed to reach into. The naughtiness made it that much more exciting and interesting to us.

One night, we finally said “Fuck it” and had sex anyway. We didn’t care if we were breaking our therapist’s commandment, because who the hell is she to tell us what to do anyway? We’re grown-ass adults.

So we did it.

We had sex. For the first time in a long time. And it felt good.

It felt like a weight had been lifted off of us.

That was the beginning of finally being able to come to sex from a place of excitement and levity again.

No, it didn’t transform everything overnight. We didn’t start fucking like rabbits every day. There was still work to do.

She still had to remind herself that she wasn’t broken. Releasing the pressure on herself to want sex all of the time helped. Not having to live up to the media’s image that every woman should be a voracious “sex goddess” helped.

And I had to stop trying to fix her, or fix what was happening between us. The more I really let go and relaxed, the more ease it brought into our bedroom. I learned that it wasn’t all about whether or not it was going to happen at bedtime, that sex was more than just an event. Sex can happen all day, even if we’re not fucking. It can happen through subtle touches, glances and flirtatious gestures. Like most dense men, I learned that putting more effort into foreplay throughout the day made it more likely that we would have sex later. But even if it didn’t happen, that was okay.

I’m sharing this with you because I’ve been realizing that this story is so much more common than we think. A lot of couples struggle trying to fit the image of a perfection relationship. Trying to do that only gets in the way. It adds pressure that makes everything unnecessarily harder.

I want you to know this: If you’re not having sex twice a day, or even twice a month, there is nothing wrong with you.

One of the most powerful things Ev’Yan and I learned was that we get to decide what kind of sexual relationship we want to have with each other. For us, that means choosing depth over quantity. It means caring more about how intimate we are with each other than fulfilling some arbitrary quota someone else decided meets the criteria for a “successful” relationship.

Now our sex is something we look forward to. It’s no longer a chore or a dreaded expectation.

So yes, it can change. It doesn’t have to be this way forever.

If you’re in a sexless relationship, please know that you’re not broken, and you’re not the only one that’s been through this.

One of the most awesome things that’s come out of this is that by Ev’Yan doing this work on herself, she’s been able to help other women step out of shame and into their own erotic power. She’s gone from feeling ashamed and broken, to helping women blossom into their sexual selves and find out that they aren’t broken either.

You can find out more about her work here.

Finally, if you got some value out of this story, I please ask that you share it. The more sex can come into the light, the more we can all embrace our erotic nature, without shame.

Build a Foundation of Primal Movement

Get the Uncaged Body program and become fit for more than just a gym. Create a body that can climb, crawl, roll, and move with confidence.

Learn more

© 2017 UH | Powered by wildness