Dear Doctor Betty!
You've been great help in my sexual development!! :) I am writing now because I've just watched your latest video on the importance of experimentation in our twenties and it seems so relevant - I've reached an impasse and I can't seem to figure out what's happening.
I come from a non-religious family, I was informed well on what sex was about, I was a happily masturbating teenager, and my first sexual relationship worked pretty well. I had others and they worked fine too, though I was not a great fan of random sexual contact, and always preferred something more intimate and emotionally connected.
I met my husband on a backpacking trip and I was fascinated by him as a person. I knew staying with him would defy the wishes of every girl's parents (mine were furious!). I knew we'd be poor but it'd be fun and different. I stayed with him in his country illegaly for about two years, then decided to get married so we could better organize our lives (flying back and forth, staying away and paying fines was not cool). I had never imagined I'd get married young and there I was saying yes in a foreign language at 24. But he was sexually experienced and we discussed the prospects of the marriage - we agreed to stay exclusive and discuss experimenting outside (or together) if that need ever arose. That gave me a lot of comfort, knowing that it was not necessarily going to be the same thing forever and ever.
We've been having a rough patch in the second year of the marriage :) woohoo, so soon!! :) There's been a lot of stress on my part. I wasn't entirely prepared for the realities of being self-sufficient financially in the social injustice and inequality that characterize this developing country. I've continued my studies, I did a masters and now I'm applying to courses abroad (I hope to become a clinical psychologist), and I think it's time for my husband to know where I come from too. However, in the meantime, our sexual life has suffered significantly. I've lost interest and desire.
The other day I was lying there, he was doing all the right things and I just couldn't feel any kind of sexual arousal. Like a piece of wood... I've had exams, I've had sleepless nights studying, I've had long days of work from 7am to 9pm, organizing stuff in the most bureaucratic system imaginable BUT I still don't think that I can use all this as an excuse. I'm mad at him for failing to understand how difficult all this is for me, perhaps I even blame him for some aspects, and it shocks me how nonchalant he can be - for him everything is totally natural, it's been like this all his life!
Before, at times of stress and worry, sex used to be a great source of comfort. Something that brought us closer and gave me strength to keep going on. I love him and want to stay together but I don't understand myself. I want to enjoy it but if we didn't have sex for weeks, I don't think I'd be too bothered (and that's just not me!). I can still have orgasms and we still have sex regularly - I just struggle more at the beginning and have even noticed myself skipping foreplay, something I would never have done before. This way I can get on top and use the rock and roll technique and my vibrator (thanks, Dr Betty!!) and I come, usually more than once or twice.. So, people might think - what the hell is she complaining about?! But I know deep inside that something has changed over the past months and we've drifted a bit apart as a result. Before, I used to sit there at work, secretly fantasizing about the night before or the next and getting wet. I used to feel so horny, so hot, however you want to describe it. When the problems started I stopped taking the pill (again, thanks for that Dr Betty - I feel 100% better in many ways) but with regards to my 'hornineness' it wasn't the pill.
Is it normal for people to lose their desire at times of stress? Should we take a break from having sex? Is this the time to discuss the possibility of getting involved with other people? Should I just stick it out and hope that things change when we move next year? I'm so lost... and your insight would be so much appreciated!
Let me recap: Married at 24, moved to 3rd world country where women are second class citizens and working full time while going for an advance degree. After two years you are under extreme stress and to make matters worse, your husband doesn't understand because this is how it is for women in his country. No wonder you have a resentment with no desire to have sex with him.
Stress is a big killer of sexual desire. If you take a break from having sex, how will hubby respond? It might make things worse because some men turn nasty if they aren't getting any sex. Instead of discussing the possibility of getting involved with other people sexually, it might make more sense to spend some time apart.
Depending upon where you'll move to next year, what you describe might well be the beginning of the end of your youthful romantic love affair. The one thing that gave me the courage to get married at 29 was my therapist saying, "You know Betty, you can always get divorced if things don't work out between you." It was the "happily ever after till death" part that bothered me the most.
In the second year of marriage we simply stopped having sex and lived together as compatible roommates for the next 7 years. I was happy painting full time in my studio and masturbating! He eventually ran off with his secretary and I lived happily ever after as a bachelor enjoying a fabulous and varied sex life with a multitude of wonderful people. As a dedicated artist, author and sex teacher, I've never regretted my choices.
Take your time to think this through. No more impetuous quick decisions that are so typical of youth. Let me know how you handle this.