For Michelle*, 36, a sales manager, her sexless marriage meant losing a deep part of herself, unless a secret changed everything.
“I’d always equated sex with love and love with sex. Before I married Mark, I’d slept with four men in total. I didn’t love them all equally but to be sexual with a man, I needed a deep sense of connection to share the most intimate part of myself. I’d describe myself as relatively vanilla in the bedroom then. I’m still not into any kinky stuff like dressing up or role-playing. I just like regular healthy sex. For me, sex was always about expressing my love for my partner.
Mark was 31 when we met. I was just shy of my 26th birthday and six months out of a passionate 19-month relationship. My older sister started dating one of Mark’s best mates, and we met at a party. I was attracted to his solidness, both in looks (he was a beefy looking, tall, muscular man) and personality. He was the salt of the earth kind of guy. He loved his family, friends, craft beer, fishing and the Sydney Swans. He was a master builder and had just gone out on his own. At that stage of my life, my biological urges were leading me to seek a good provider, a best friend, a close confidant and a long-term faithful lover. As I was to find out Mark was all those things, apart from being a lover.
It didn’t start that way. When we first started dating, we went through the honeymoon phase, and we’d have sex most times that we’d share a bed. Sex was satisfying. I’d orgasm about 80 percent of the time. It wasn’t one of those relationships where we’d be tearing each other clothes off, but I didn’t mind. I had come to accept that part of adult life was that passion wasn’t as important, as connection and commitment. I had a dedicated partner who talked about our future together in front of my friends and family.
After about a year, sex started to tail off a bit after I moved into his apartment. Mark had a very physical job, and as he was always out of the house by 5.30am, he’d return home tired. My career in sales was also super busy. I first noticed something was up when I’d want to have sex on Sunday mornings, which had always been my favourite time for making love as you’re both relaxed and there are no time constraints. Mark would often want to be doing something else like a gym session, but I pushed it to the back of my mind as what he lacked in sexual passion, he’d made up for in flowers, picnics, and weekends away. However, I was acutely aware that it was me that used to initiate sex more often than him.