A month after our wedding two years ago, my husband and I fell into a sexless marriage. This was due to me getting pregnant and having pelvic problems. Our child was born 18 months ago, but since then we’ve only had sex maybe 3 times. Part of it has to do with my body insecurities, but mostly it’s about my husband’s poor hygiene, which puts me off him. How do I overcome my insecurities? And how on earth do I get through to my husband so we can be intimate? I’m only 23 and now find myself looking at other men and thinking about sex a lot more than I should….


  • Michael Castleman says:

    My sympathies. You’re learning the hard way that marriage, even a good, loving marriage, comes with no guarantee of happily ever after. But marital issues offer spouses an opportunity to work on problems together, reveal more about themselves and how they feel, and in the process, become more intimate.

    I can’t offer you any quick fixes for your body insecurities or your husband’s poor hygiene. I strongly recommend that you consult a couples therapist or preferably a sex therapist since it was your sexual concerns that brought you to me. If you get professional therapy, please understand that the therapist can’t solve your problems for you. Therapists are coaches who help spouses talk with one another more constructively than they would on their own. Fairly early in the therapy process, you’re going to have to look your husband in the eye and tell him that you’re put off by his poor hygiene. That’s not easy to say, but to make any progress, you’d have to say it. If you’re unfamiliar with sex therapy, read my low-cost article, An Intimate Look at Sex Therapy. To find a sex therapist near you, visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, or the American Board of Sexology.

    Now, you guys are young, so maybe you can’t afford professional therapy. In that case, you still have to tell him somehow. My suggestion: Write him a letter and leave it where he’s sure to find it. A letter allows you to open the discussion without confronting him face-to-face. Be frank about your issues: You want regular sex. You have body insecurities you’d like his help with. And you’re repelled by his poor hygiene. Writing a letter gives you the space to say what you want to say without being interrupted or becoming tongue-tied. It also allows you to craft your letter over time so you can say what you really mean. Writing such a letter won’t be easy, but it’s either therapy or a letter on the one hand, or continued frustrations for you on the other. End the letter by expressing your love, your hope to stay married, and your willingness to work together to resolve these issues. If you go the letter route but feel insecure about writing it, I would be happy to edit any draft you send me.

    I applaud you for identifying your issues and wanting to work on them instead of jumping into an affair. If you need me as an editor, I’m here for you.

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