Anonymous asks:

I’ve been with my partner for 19 years and we have two young children together. For the last few years we haven’t really had a sex life. 

I’m going through an early menopause and I convinced myself (and him) that that’s the reason I don’t want to have sex (up until recently he kept trying and I kept refusing). 

But I’ve recently come to realise that actually I do want a sex life but I’m just not attracted to my partner. 

I don’t know what to do or how to talk to him about it. 

I don’t want to hurt him or do anything that will hurt my beautiful children. 

But I’m feeling increasingly frustrated and have been having fantasies about another man I barely know. 

I’m so worried about making a big mistake but I’m just not sure what the mistake would be - to carry on like this feeling how I am or to end our relationship and lose what we have as a family. 

I also worry that I’m not strong enough to be on my own.


Sex and relationship expert Jessica Leoni said: “Sex is the glue that keeps most marriages together and it is impossible to overlook its importance to your future happiness. I do a lot of couples’ counselling with people who have been together a long time and have all sort of issues - the couples who always end up staying together and working out their difficulties are the ones who still have a good sex life together.  It papers over the cracks and gives you an opportunity to bond meaningfully on a regular basis. When the sex dies, so does the relationship. Whenever a couple tell me that their sex life has died I always worry for their future because that it is nearly always because one half of the couple has stopped fancying the other. It is rare that a couple mutually go off sex at the same time.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

“I wish there was a simple way to resolve your issues, but I don’t think there is. The key phrase in that last sentence is ‘long-term.’ In the short term, I think you should stay where you are, and when I say short term that could mean a number of years. You have been together for 19 years - longer than most marriages - so I imagine staying in an imperfect relationship would work for a while yet. If you walk out now that is going to cause all kinds of upheaval for you, for your partner and for your children, and you are aware of your own emotional frailties and you rightly worry that you are not strong enough to be on your own. I don’t think you are strong enough to cope solo either. If you walk out now, you will bitterly regret it. 

“I would like to think there was a way of getting the sexual spark back with your partner. Part of me hopes that the sex was good at some point in the relationship but things have drifted over the years. You have two children, so sex was working at some point. Having said that, you would be surprised how many people get together with people despite the fact the sex is so so. That is always a big mistake. Good sex is the absolute key to happiness in the long-term. I suspect that you have never really fancied your partner and this wasn’t so much of an issue pre-menopause when your sex drive was higher and you had a little more energy. People can fall back in love - and lust - with a partner and resume a good sex life but there is only so long that you can keep saying no to the same person without causing deep-seated resentment on both sides.

“You say that you have ‘young children’ together. The key word here is ‘young.’ Those children need their mum and dad to stay together at a crucial time in their lives. Don’t risk their happiness for your pursuit of sex. I would stick it out for now. Enjoy those fantasies. But don’t do anything stupid like walk out or start living a double life by having an affair and lying to your partner.

“If you still feel this way further down the line then I would think about ending things with your partner and finding someone new who you can click with physically. I don’t think, with your children so young, that now is the right time to walk out. Give it time and see how things go. The children will be able to cope with the split a lot better when they are older. Hopefully it won’t come to that and you can sort things out sexually with your partner. I sincerely hope that it does. Good luck.”

Jessica is a sex and relationship expert for the dating site, 

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