12 years. Help.

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    I’m 34 and from the UK. My wife and I have been together 12 years. And we’ve never had sex.

    No one knows. Everyone assumes we’re in a happy loving relationship, normal relationship. And it’s drives me mad in silent. I’m desperate to be happy.

    Lately I’ve been feeling genuine resentment towards my wife. Like she’s preventing us from having intimacy and a sex life because she’s afraid , amd.always has been afraid to try and fix the issue.

    Any sexual activity is initiated by me. I could count the times she has initiated it on one hand, in 12 years. It makes me feel unwanted, and like I’m only here because no one else would put up with this for so long.

    I’ve got the needs of every red blooded male, and those are physical and emotional. The sexual frustration is unbearable at times – I think about f0cking other women all the time – and the lack of intimacy is what I really want but feel we’ve never had. Our marriage and life just doesn’t feel complete. It feels like we’re friends who get eachother off from time to time. Not a married couple. She has zero interest in sex. I recently stopped initiating to see how long it would take her and it was 3 months before I broke.

    We have a son who is 3 and used syringes to self administer insemination but now I just feel like we’re together for him.

    I suffered from deep deep depression and have left her on one occasion where we were apart for 6 months and I returned through guilt and afyer talking about it her interest in sexual activity had increased, but once I was back that soon died off. Then 2 years ago I cheated (kissed someone, not slept with) and my feelings came up again about not feeling wanted… She showed some interest to get me back, and that then went away too. I honestly feel though that this condition could be a riot cause of my depression and feelings of low self esteem.

    This all sounds very selfish I know.

    I know that there is a history of abuse that caused her vaginismus. I’ve tried to talk to her but get nowhere. But what bothers me is that she won’t seek help and is completely ignorant of the impact this has on me and I feel like of she really loved me she’d want to do it for me and us.

    I don’t want to cheat. I know it would destroy her. But I want to be in a relationship or marriage that meets all of my needs and not have to comprimise on something so important to me and I’m beginning to wonder if even if we can fix the vaginismus would we ever have the connection I crave.

    That all just sort of came out on to a page and may read as very badly ordered and a bit all over the place. I’ve never shared this with anyone. In fact this is as more detail than I’ve even discussed it in with my wife as I don’t want to push her. We’ve never even touched on how it effects me.


    Mw84UK – I’m sorry to hear about all you’ve been feeling. I understand how immensely frustrating this must have been for you all these years and I’m sorry you’ve felt so neglected in your marriage.

    The first thing you need to do is tell your wife what you’re feeling. I know you want to protect her and that after years of silence it’s probably scary to open up, but nothing will change if you keep your frustration and sorrow to yourself. Ultimately, you need to know what your options are, and this is the only way to find out what you can expect going forward.

    If you tell her how dire your marriage has become and she IS receptive to seeking help for her problem, then you can work with her to find treatment. You can buy dilators, find treatment in the form of physical therapy (or something like the the botox treatment that the Maze clinic does), and ultimately focus your attention on supporting your wife as she goes on this journey toward creating intimacy with you.

    If you’re honest about your feelings and she still refuses to do anything to improve the situation, you have some choices to make. You can choose to make do with the sex life you have or to find a compromise in the form of building a relationship around non-penetrative acts. You can choose to open your marriage (with your wife’s agreement) and have your sexual needs met in other ways. You can choose to resign yourself to a sexless marriage if you feel the relationship has more value to you than the sex you’d be missing. You can choose to leave the relationship and find something more fulfilling if you think there’s no chance of happiness for yourself in your current marriage.

    There are many more choices, other options, but ultimately it’s important that you understand that you are in charge of your own happiness. You only get one life, and you get to decide how it’s lived. But the first step you can take is to figure out what you want and be honest about it so you know where to go from there.

    I hope it helps, and best of luck to you in a difficult situation. We’re here for you.



    I really appreciate the honesty and depth of your post – it’s very powerful. You’ve gone through sooo much with your wife, and there are so many on this forum (including me) that can relate to you and your situation. So much mental strength is required for the men, and it can definitely cause doubts, self esteem issues, resentment, pain — all that bad stuff and more.

    I hope you know that it is important and VERY REASONABLE for your wife, (if she does want to overcome vaginismus and eventually be able to have sex), to take steps to do so! Vaginismus is sooooooo treatable, but it won’t go away on its own. It is important and fair for her to take some action (even if small steps at first) to overcome vaginismus. This could be in the form of: buying a dilator set, making an appointment with a therapist/psychiatrist/psychologist (the effects from her abuse should be resolved), making an appointment with a doctor/women’s health clinic or specialist (Google some around your area), or even starting out by looking through this forum to read all of the success stories to give her the confidence that she *WILL* be able to overcome this. There are also countless forums and resources for survivors of abuse. Vaginismus can be a lonely and shameful thing until you realize there are many others going through the same thing, and SO MANY who have overcome it. The same thing could be said for survivors of abuse.

    You seem very supportive & can continue to remind her that her vaginismus is *not* a horrible, untreatable thing (at first I thought it meant something was super wrong with me and I wasn’t ever going to be normal) – vaginismus is completely treatable! Many people who couldn’t even get a tampon in (me) were able to overcome vaginismus with the use of dilators with the help of a specialist (Maze Women’s Health for me).

    I know the psychological portion of her issue also needs to be resolved, and for that — just being there for her is one of the best things you can do. It can be so, so, so insanely difficult for a survivor to reach out for help/disclose their abuse, no matter how much time has passed. Here’s a link that may help you support her (even if her abuse was not sexual): https://www.rainn.org/articles/tips-talking-survivors-sexual-assault

    Good luck in talking with her about all this — maybe sending a link to some great success stories could help (http://mazewomenshealth.com/forums/topic/reflections-in-the-new-year/)?

    Keep us updated and feel free to reach out with anything you need at all!



    Thank you. Other for your words of support and encouragement.

    Weeks after this post , I did the hardest thing I ever had to do and approached the subject with my wife.

    I told her how unhappy the state of our marriage was making me and how unhappy our sex life made me. She was incredibly upset as you can imagine but did commence counselling to help.

    Its helped somewhat, she now has some interest in sexual acts, rather than none, she appears to enjoy it more, and we feel closer to penetration than we ever have.

    Then her Grandmother became unwell, she spent a few months focusing on her before she passed in June and it’s been forgotten since. No counselling appointments and her wanting us to try for another baby using a syringe to … well… deliver the pay load. 3 months ago we agreed that we would as I felt she was making enough progress and it was on the basis that we didn’t stop trying to fix it but she’s just stopped caring about solving the problem since. It feels Almost as though she’s trying to trap me with another child, so I don’t go anywhere

    I feel like she doesn’t care about me again. Like she’s getting what she wants out of our marriage and all of her needs fulfilled. It’s now been 13 and half years since i had sex with someone. I can’t even begin to describe the sexual frustration. I pretty much get wood when when a half decent looking woman smiles at me. And because I dont get the attention I want at home, I’ve begun to really enjoy flirting even more and I know that eventually I will break and become unfaithful and that would destroy her.

    I resent her again, but for some reason I feel like it’s not fair for me to be unhappy and that to end our marriage over it would be shallow or too difficult for her to handle so I continue unhappy with it playing in my mind every single day and carrying the weight of the emotions of feeling unwanted and taken for granted but doing it so she can continue to think that everything is ok.

    Over and over I think to myself if she really loved me she would be making the effort to make this work, and to give me what I need.

    She lost her mum a few years ago, lost her grandmother this year and I worry that if I were to leave that she wouldn’t have a support network to get her through it. So I keep quiet. Again. I can’t keep doing it.


    Mw84UK – I’m so sorry to hear that your marital problems have continued. First of all, you should draw some confidence from the bravery you’ve shown in communicating honestly about your feelings to your wife the first time – a lot of people go their whole lives without finding the courage to do that, and it’s clear from the immediate aftermath of that conversation initially being good that it helped your relationship for awhile.

    I’m sure I’ll sound like a broken record, but my advice is much the same as it was a few months ago: you still have a right to having your needs met in the relationship. You are NOT selfish for wanting a fulfilling sexual life and feeling as though your needs are being ignored, because they are. And more than anything, you don’t owe your wife the sacrifice of your personal truth so that she can feel as though nothing is wrong. Concealing the way you feel about your issues doesn’t serve either one of you because it keeps you unhappy and it keeps her married to a man who resents her, which probably isn’t what SHE wants either.

    It’s unfortunate that family setbacks derailed the progress you were making, but that there WAS progress means that the possibility to explore solutions again still exists. As frustrating as it is, the best next step is the same as it was before: tell your wife how you feel. Reaffirm that sex is still important to you and that you want to continue down the hopeful road you began on the last time you spoke. Affirm the work she’s already put in to boost her confidence but remind her that there’s more progress to be made and that you’re ready to support her however you can. Open communication is an ongoing process that needs to continue being engaged with, not a destination you’ll eventually reach where you get to stop telling her how you feel. All of us struggle with this often, but it’s the only way to tell if there is still hope in your relationship. And you always have choices about what to end up doing – if you truly only see a future of unhappiness and lack of fulfillment, it isn’t necessarily the right option to stay in a situation where the people you love most see you unhappy.

    I had vaginismus for nearly 10 years and might have still had it today if a partner hadn’t come along and told me he needed me to try to seek treatment if he was going to stay in the relationship. It was an obliterating thing to hear, but it ended up being one of the most compassionate things anyone has ever done for me. By demanding that I try, he broke through the protective wall I had built around myself and demanded I demonstrate bravery in the face of fear. Learning that I was capable of facing that challenge – and beating it – is a source of strength I still draw from in my life. It’s possible that you can do this for your wife too, and I can’t promise it will work, but the possibility exists that she just needs a push she doesn’t know how to give herself.

    Whatever you do decide, I hope you’ll be good to yourself and trust in what you need. You deserve to have a chance to be happy and you always have the option to give it to yourself.


    Thank you, I needed to hear from someone else again that my feelings are not alien, unreasonable or selfish.

    I need to do something soon. At the moment I’m not even enjoying being at home, I feel like I’m hiding something and it’s making ME feel guilty! I cant wait to go to work or be out the house. It’s not right.


    Mw84UK, we appreciate your bravery – it’s hard to admit the feelings you’re having, but you shouldn’t be ashamed of having desires and needs you want met. The way you’re feeling, that you don’t even want to be at home, is your conscience telling you you’re keeping things to yourself that need to be expressed. There are no easy answers, but you have the potential to be happy and I hope you will trust in yourself to seek what you need. Good luck with everything and let us know if you need any help at all!


    Hi Mw84UK,

    Your demands aren’t selfish at all. Obviously to your wife, thinking about overcoming vaginismus is scary, painful, impossible, etc.. I hope you can reaffirm to her that vaginismus is VERY treatable with a hugely high success rate. Unfortunately it won’t go away on its own and it does take some work and persistence. It is important and fair for her to take some action (even if small steps at first) to overcome vaginismus.

    I agree that it is great news that she made progress after that initial difficult talk – this affirms that she is capable of change and willing to work toward it (awesome!), and it’s disappointing that progress stopped due to family/life circumstances. I agree with recessivegenequeen that you should bring up the topic again to let her know that it is still incredibly important to you.

    Please let us know how things are going!


    My situation is similar to this Mw84uk. My wife was diagnosed with vaginismus in 2019 after being married for 12 years and we have 2 kids. We are both each other’s first and had sex before we got married. Being virgins it was an expected funny disaster but we had enjoyable sex probably twice. Bear in mind we were new at this so it was over pretty fast 🙂 Soon it seemed to become painful for her and my sense is that this happened once the novelty wore off. We both come from very conservative backgrounds where sex is never spoken about and is generally perceived as dirty…no we aren’t Amish 🙂 She then wanted to stop having sex until we got married but once we were, “the wall” was there. Our first year of married life was for me THE MOST FRUSTRATING – looking forward to all the fun. Fast forward and we now have two kids. This is after a surgical procedure (Fenton plasty) but this was entirely unsuccessful. Following the vaginismus diagnosis, which was a relief to finally understand the reason, we went for a few sessions with a sexologist working with the gynaecologist. We also bought the dilators but this freaked my wife out too much. Two years on they are still in the box with little effort from her for intimacy. We are best friends and basically roommates.
    I have discussed with her that I believe that intimacy is an important part of any marriage. She recognises my perspective and needs but this lead to uncommitted “servicing” which I do not want. Seems my wife is able to be happily married without intimacy. I have not resorted to giving her an ultimatum, but I am disappointed that she is not motivated to work on this for us. To confirm, I have provided substantial support and have been patient and understanding but the lack of effort speaks volumes. This makes me question whether intimacy can be outsourced, as discussed with the sexologist as an option? My immediate response to this is that it cannot -infidelity…breaking of trust….committed marriage…conservative upbringing and all…but I am considering this more and more. Does the concept of an open marriage have any chance of success?


    Hi hubby4 – you’re wading into some pretty interesting waters here! This is a much less discussed but possible route in navigating vaginismus as a relationship challenge. I can speak to this both as someone who has had vaginismus in the past and who has also dated polyamorously before.

    The existence of a vibrant polyamory community and thousands of people who choose open relationships and feel that configuration best meets their needs, but your situation is a little more complicated than that. For it to ever work, it would have to be something you BOTH would want and feel is the best option for your partnership. There are also some questions you probably haven’t thought about yet – would you only have sexual relationships outside your marriage, or would you get to form emotional bonds too? Would your wife also get to date other people? How would it make you feel if your wife started having physical intimacy with another man even though that type of interaction seems to have left your relationship?

    Before you dive too deep into these waters, I think you will need to first be honest with your wife about how much this is affecting you. You’ve been supportive in the past, and that’s great, but this problem has become a threat to your relationship and you owe it to your wife to let her know that the marriage may be in jeopardy if she has no idea you’re struggling to this extent. Sit down for a conversation and let her know how you feel about the lack of intimacy in your marriage and what you want. Once she knows what your needs are, she can be a part of solving the problem with you. Maybe instead of opening your marriage she’d rather work on rebuilding intimacy besides penetrative intercourse, or maybe it will be the push she needs to give dilators a try. I had vaginismus for almost 10 years and knew about it for 3.5 of those years before I sought treatment because a partner told me I needed to or he wouldn’t’ be happy in our relationship. That wasn’t an easy thing to hear, but the thing about vaginismus is that it’s easy to keep pushing it off and convincing yourself everything is fine even though you’re suffering through shame, deprivation, and pain.

    Give your wife the chance to help decide together how to tackle this. If she truly isn’t interested in intimacy, then you can consider other options like an open marriage, but I think it’s worth getting her opinion first on how she wants to proceed so you can make a decision as a patnership.


    Ditto to what every man has said here. I’m 12 years into a marriage with a woman who, by all measurements, is asexual. She was a virgin when we married at 57. My second marriage, her first. When we were dating I respected her wishes to save sex for our wedding night. She thought it would come natural, it did not. After many years of pelvic floor therapy and attempted dialator use, it’s painfully clear that she has zero natural sexual desire. She cringes when I try to kiss her. Nuzzling and cuddling results in her recoiling and rolling her eyes, trivializing the mood. In all other aspects of our lives together, we’re really good, really supportive, really in sync. She is aware that I’m different in my needs than her, she often tries to placate me with promises of “trying harder”, but in the end I’ve had to accept that some people just don’t have sexual urges!!… It pains me to no end that when, maybe once a year, she tries to engage in penetrative sex, it’s obvious she’s in physical and emotional pain. From my perspective, it’s akin to forceful sex, near rape, and I just feel awful even trying. She has zero interest in me pleasuring her orally, or finding a way to give me manual pleasure. So here I am, unwilling to end my marriage, unwilling to cheat, and devastated to think I can never have the intimate connection with my wonderful spouse. I masturbate once or twice a week to keep my genitals from atrophying, and she knows it, but considers it’s disgusting and doesn’t want to even know.
    She’s expressed an interest in botox to allow for penetrative sex, but we have yet to seek out a physician to do that treatment.
    I guess the main thing I wanted to contribute here, is that some people are asexual. It’s a real sexual orientation, just like hetero and LGBTQ, and regardless of what we as spouses wish for, there is nothing to be done. If I love her, and I do, I can just accept it.
    My saving’s grace is that I did have a wonderful sex life in my first marriage, so while it’s tempting to use that life as a base line measurement now, I prefer to just remember that those good times did happen and I can be content with the memory, and not project those expectations on my wife now.
    Thank you for letting me air this out.


    Hi FranklinDTG,

    Thanks for your interesting input about asexuality. That seems like a pretty difficult situation to be in for you. It’s interesting that your wife considers masturbation disgusting when it is super natural and understandable that you need to – do you think that has to do with her asexuality or something else? Maybe sex feels shameful for her due to something in her past? Feeling shame about sex seems to be a huge pattern for people with vaginismus.

    I think it’s important and reasonable for your wife, (if she does want to overcome vaginismus and eventually be able to have pain-free sex), to take steps to do so, but it doesn’t seem like a priority for her! Vaginismus can be a lonely and shameful thing until you realize there are many others going through the same thing, and SO MANY who have overcome it – so I’d suggest she reads through some success stories in these forums or somewhere else.

    Hope things get better and thanks for being such a supportive partner to her!


    FranklinDTG, thank you for opening up and sharing your insights. It sounds like this has been a painful process for you and I’m glad to hear that you have some measure of peace around this element on which you and your wife don’t align.

    It’s interesting to hear that your wife is interested in exploring the botox procedure. I have had it myself and experienced great success with it (after 9 years of penetration being totally impossible, I was able to have intercourse for the first time 20 days after getting the botox). However, to succeed with the botox procedure requires dedication to the followup treatment, namely dilating every day. It took me REALLY wanting to work on this problem to finally see results, and for someone to have success with botox they need to have a similar commitment to really wanting it to work and being willing to put in the time and effort, day in and day out, even when they aren’t in the mood.

    I bring this up because I think it’s worth you and your wife (or even just your wife on her own) exploring more deeply the question of whether she’s asexual with a therapist or other trained specialist before you embark on the vaginismus treatment journey. A lot of what you’ve said does suggest that she’s either asexual or just has a very low level of desire, and if she isn’t truly interested in building a healthy sex life and investing the time and effort (as well as money) that will take, it isn’t likely to work as a procedure in the long run. Botox isn’t a one-and-done solution as much as it is a way to break down the initial wall that keeps so many women from being able to make progress with getting more comfortable with penetration, so she should be dedicated to making that work in a very active way if she wants to see results.

    I am really glad you are able to have a healthy perspective around the things that are working in your marriage. If your wife is indeed asexual, her lack of sexual feelings have nothing to do with her fondness for you, and I hope you can find a way to be even happier in your marriage. Let us know if you have other questions that come up – we are always happy to help!



    I don’t come on and comment but have kept up with replies.

    Sadly this week, I think our marriage came to an end. She made some strides in improving our sex life and is even now able to have sex. However she still never wants to, and the lack of initiation on her part has taken me to a point where I’ve thrown in the towel. Me sitting her down and very clearly communicating my needs a good few times since me initially posting in this forum.

    I’ve spent too many years carrying the pain of wondering why she cant ever initiate sex and wondering whats wrong with me and why she won’t make it happen and dealing with the pain of that and having to sit my wife down and basically beg for sexual attention for things to make initial quick changes bit for nothing to be followed up.


    Mw84UK, I’m so sorry to hear this about your marriage. Sometimes vaginismus can have a way of hiding the even bigger problems in a relationship’s sexual dynamics behind this particular concrete “problem.”

    I agree that you deserve more than begging for scraps of your wife’s attention and attraction, and it sounds like this is probably your best path forward toward getting what you actually need out of a romantic/sexual relationship. I hope that you will find a great relationship in the future, and also that you will be able to take all the lessons and skills you learned in your marriage and apply them to a healthier dynamic. It is a hard journey in life to get our needs met but it’s a worthwhile one!

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