My husband and I have never been sexually compatible. Would it be wrong to have an affair? | Life and style

August 25, 2020

I love sex, but for 15 years my husband and I have been sexually incompatible. We have a good working relationship with three kids, we support each other and have plenty of friends, but sexually it is dismal. I have never found his body physically attractive, and he has never done it for me. I was intentionally celibate for seven years before I got married, and we waited until we were (just about) married before we had sex. So I had no idea it would be this bad. In 14 years I have had one (maybe two) orgasms with him. I used to fake it before I realised that wasn’t helping at all. He is very satisfied with me and talks about it often, which annoys me. I have tried talking to him about it over the years and have been met with everything from: “Nothing is wrong with me – if you just did it with me more often you would be fine,” to him trying what I tell him to do once, then reverting back to “his way”, or doing one thing I tell him every time to the point where I don’t even like it any more. The thought of talking to him just feels like an ordeal, and I am tired. I ran into an old boyfriend recently and just the thought of him ignited feelings that I can’t shake. So now I am unsatisfied, sexually frustrated, angry and resentful … and honestly considering an affair. Please help!

I’m not going to tell you not to have an affair – but you already know that it’s risky. You also know that you married someone to whom you are not physically attracted, so you must accept responsibility for that. Usually, if sexual attraction does not exist early in a marriage, it is unlikely to develop over time. No wonder the chance encounter reminded you what you are missing! You have not explained why you were “intentionally celibate for seven years”, but I suspect it holds important clues as to why you are in such a position. Explore your history, deep feelings and motivations – ideally with an experienced therapist – because it will help you to make sense of your life and find answers. You are not alone in facing impossible choices during a time of awakening. But only you can decide what is most important – and how to preserve it.

Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to [email protected] (please don’t send attachments). Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see

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