Sexless marriage, infidelity, and premature ejaculation
Thank you to whoever reads to the end, because this started short and ended up being incredibly long.
I am 35 years old, married for 7 years (we have been together for 10), and have suffered from severe PE since I was young (e.g., when I was really young I would ejaculate even before penetration and now it takes seconds). Until I met my wife, it caused relationships to end as soon as they got to the point of physical intimacy. I ended them because I was scared to communicate about the issue, fearing ridicule. I feared my partner wouldn't care nor want to help.
From the moment I met her, she demonstrated a very low sex drive and a disinterest in sex. I recall—at the time it was a long distance relationship—traveling across country to see her on many occasions, having a great evening, and yearning to end the night with an intimate moment, only find a woman who successfully played possum. Oddly, my PE, lifelong fear of sex, and her disinterest matched well in the early days. Sex was infrequent but that meant I had few embarrassing moments. It is hard to explain but I wanted sex but when it occurred, it ended horribly for me, which led me to tell myself "boy that wasn't fun, it was embarrassing, and why did I even want to do that."
My sexual problems led to depression, which led me to SSRI’s that partially cured the PE which cured the depression, at least in part. (I can’t stand those drugs because of the side effects.) During those times when I was more capable in bed, sex was more frequent both because I had courage to initiate it and my wife enjoyed it more.
Her excuse back then was that I didn’t connect with her on an emotional level (she has said I am as emotional with her as a robot). That I didn’t do things to make the relationship better. For me at least, it was and is challenging to connect to someone emotionally when you are prohibited from doing so physically.
Even if we weren’t going to have a mutually satisfying sex life, I still wanted my PE to end. I can’t accurately describe the negative ways it has affected me, how it makes me feel inferior, and so many other things. It has haunted me on a daily and hourly basis for two decades. I have pleaded for nearly a decade with my wife to help me overcome PE. I have read every book, tried kegal exercises, the stop/start technique while masturbating, vitamins, and everything else, to no avail. I told her that even if sex was mechanical, it needed to be frequent in the short term and that we needed to mutually implement the strategies developed by Masters and Johnson. I told her once we determined whether the problem could be fixed, we could go back to sex on her terms. (Those terms, obviously, are non-negotiable.) Five years ago she told me she would not help and that I “should figure it out for myself.” That is a real quote.
We have a 2 and 4 year old. Pre-kids, we would have sex maybe 4 to 14 times a year. Many of those were when she was intoxicated and lost her inhibitions or in the shower, which was uncomfortable to me (kind of the kick the leg up in the shower, penetrate, and get it over with love making). Through a decade and from the outset, she has never routinely enjoyed nor offered physical intimate things like kissing or moving our clothed bodies against one another in bed. The only thing she allowed—pre-kids—was to masturbate me while we were in the shower. That happened once a month. (I would ask for it often, but stopped asking as much because the rejection was certain.)
Early in the relationship, I often asked for sex but was routinely turned down, most often in a fairly rude way, which made me more insecure and fearful of asking. I remember at one point over a span of a few months, she turned me down 15 times in a row. I only offered when it was strategically wise -- i.e., she was in a good mood, there was nothing practical that we needed to accomplish. Starting at some point a long time ago, I would have serious anxiety about asking her for an intimate moment because I knew I would be rejected in a rude way. It made me virtually give up.
What does not help is that I made a bad mistake 3 years ago and had a non-intercourse contact with a stripper while incredibly intoxicated. Frankly, I had virtually never frequented those sorts of places. The one and only 5 minute lapse in judgment in a decade with my wife. My wife was pregnant at the time. Afterwards, I was mortified with what I did, scared of losing her, I hated myself for what I did (particularly considering she was pregnant), and I was terrified I contracted some disease. I couldn’t sleep and it dominated my thoughts. I got tested and I was fine. I paid for the test through my bank account and my wife saw the charge, confronted me, and I confessed, although I tried to make something up when she initially did.
Since that time, sex has been virtually non-existent. There have been a few times that we made love when we were both intoxicated (most recently, when we were on a weekend trip in New Orleans). I know we made love twice when we were not intoxicated since I made the mistage. Things like kissing, cuddling, or just rolling around in bed with our clothes on have been non-existent.
Not surprisingly, she now uses my mistake as an excuse for everything. It is her trump card. She plays it and I shut up. From her perspective, I have “done nothing to make the marriage better.” Sex is always out of the question because I have done nothing etc. I am a good father (she agrees) and I try in our marriage but it is hard to be in a partnership when one partner's door is always closed. I am far from perfect. But she has a trump card. For me, it was hard through the first 6 or 7 years to build a relationship without physical intimacy and it is still hard.
I am lost, sad, still love my wife, and I absolutely adore and live for my children. I want things to work out but things seem hopeless. I am sure you will say counseling is the next step but we tried that at one point in the marriage and the results were horrible. Maybe I need to see someone again. She is a very stubborn and controlling person and cannot hear someone else’s point of view. Counseling made things worse. I can no longer talk to her (it never really was easy) because while she shows no emotion in our marriage, she only knows how to very act emotionally (kind of like having a tantrum) when I try to communicate about anything. It makes me want to be a robot.
It was therapeutic to write this. If you read this far, thank you. I’d like to hear your point of view.