I’m stuck in a sexless marriage for the sake of society

Pooja Priyamvada
incompatible in bed

(As told to Pooja Priyamvada)

My upbringing was traditional and I never interacted with men

I grew up in a traditional family in the hills of Uttarakhand where girls are raised in utmost discipline and there never is any room to question the age-old beliefs about customs or traditions.

After primary school, I was shifted into a girls-only school and in the village too we weren’t supposed to interact with other boys except for brothers, cousins, uncles and family males, and in that too there were a number of rules ever since I turned 11-12. Never be without a dupatta other than when you are sleeping. Don’t make eye contact with any men and speak as minimally as possible in their presence.

I was a good student, secured good marks in my 12th boards, and cleared the medical entrance without any coaching. Coming to Dehradun for my MBBS was like coming to a new life altogether. I was in a co-educational classroom/institution for the first time, though I was still living in the same kind of environment at my aunt’s place there, as a hostel was completely ruled out by my parents.

Some boys did try to get friendly

In the first few weeks at the medical college, I saw there was a huge difference between me and the other girls and boys. They would interact freely among themselves, whereas I would shyly respond to a hello and then retreat to my introvert space. A few boys did try to get friendly and ask basic questions about the timetable, where I am from, where I am living, etc. but sensing my almost walled demeanour, soon the interest waned.

shy indian woman

Representative image Image source

I did feel attraction towards certain boys and Bollywood actors, but my upbringing was so deeply set in me that I reined in my fantasies every time and believed that a woman’s desire, virginity and her body must be saved for the husband and holy matrimony.

So in spite of serious crushes and a couple of boys seriously pursuing me for dating, I just concentrated on my degree and had no romantic relationship in my five years at the medical college. Even before my internship was over, my family had fixed a match for me via matrimonial advertisement with a “doctor” family in Delhi from the same caste.

Related reading: Mine was an arranged marriage based on the man’s job rather than the man

The arranged marriage went ahead

Anuj called me a few times in the next few months, but how well can you know someone over video calls? We were both very formal. He told me that he had a girlfriend in medical college for a while but she was from a different caste so the relationship didn’t have any future. In my heart I found that very jarring, but again, how could I disagree with my husband?

Though now all my fantasies, including romantic sexual ones, had a face. I would often imagine what our married life would be like. Traditionally the hullaballoo is about the “suhaag raat” or the first night post-marriage, as it was conventionally believed that that was the first time the married couple has sex and the marriage is consummated. So was the case amongst my cousins and friends, as they all knew I was still a virgin at 24.

I was excited too, but after all the ceremonies I was so tired and I presumed so was Anuj, that we hugged and kissed and just dozed off. We were scheduled to go for our honeymoon after 3-4 days to Goa, so I interpreted Anuj’s disinterest in anything sexual as his saving the best for the honeymoon.

Related reading: Married and a virgin, I want to have sex before I get too old

We did consummate our marriage but…

In Goa our marriage was consummated and we did also do everything else honeymooning couples do, clicking pictures, buying stuff, PDA, but to my surprise sex only once. Now I had begun to get worried, did he not find me beautiful or attractive? I was average looking, but my mom had said men like women who save it all for them, then why?

I still didn’t have the courage to ask Anuj directly or say anything to either my mom or my friends. The pattern continued for a few more weeks. I was getting increasingly frustrated sexually, wasn’t marriage supposed to be a new sexual life too?

So finally I did confront Anuj and he told me that he just didn’t “feel” the need to get sexual with me regularly. When I hinted at some medical/hormonal issue, he simply dismissed me citing his better credentials as a doctor and asked me to stop thinking like a “whore”!

It has been three years. I’ve had a daughter with him, but the marriage remains largely sexless. I do not know how to get out of this rut. I feel even more frustrated that I didn’t even experience any kind of romance before marriage, “saving it all” for my marriage, and now I am stuck in a sexless relationship for the sake of family, society and my daughter. And also the fact that he is a good man otherwise and treats me well except for the intimacy part.

Maybe I have a lifetime to live like this, wondering what went wrong and envying people who have a wonderful married life!

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RM July 20, 2018 - 11:11 am

I feel like a mirror has been placed before my eyes, what my future will look like.. Just the difference is I am in my 2nd year of marriage, still did not consummate. I am having second thoughts on my marriage right now.

Pooja Priyamvada July 20, 2018 - 7:35 pm

That’s sad, please talk to your husband see a marriage counsellor

Namita July 2, 2018 - 12:17 am

I led a sexless married life for 16 years, and then I strayed. My husband used to blame my ‘looks’ and ‘figure’ for his disinterest. Apart from this, he is an incorrigible flirt, compulsive lier, a heavy drinker and chain smoker. When I strayed, I realised that a man, who was better than my husband in all respects, found me totally desirable in bed. The relationship didn’t last, but it gave me a lot of confidence, and I emerged out strong. I should have walked out of the marriage while I was young. Maybe life would have given me a second chance. But like all Indian women, I was unsure, indecisive, and scared of society. No regrets today, as I have had my share of fun, and grown old now. I would suggest it’s best to dissolve the marriage in such cases.

Pooja Priyamvada July 20, 2018 - 7:36 pm

Well said , thanks for sharing your experience

Namita June 23, 2018 - 3:52 pm

Hmmm, same case of mine…I am in this situation since 9 years…no change I have to live like this only…it is frustrating but can’t help it. I don’t have option.

Vaishali June 29, 2018 - 8:08 pm

Don’t continue to live such life . What if you express ,either u will solve it or this marriage will break . But you will reach somewhere . If u keep quite , u will have nothing . Trust me it will be too frustrating in future . Frustration will keep on increasing .

Pooja Priyamvada July 20, 2018 - 7:40 pm

That is tragic, did you try addressing this

Neha Sharma
Neha Sharma June 15, 2018 - 2:25 pm

See, you really need to talk to him openly. It’s been 3 years and still he has not changed a bit. So, you need to ask him more often regarding this. Don’t stay like this else you will get frustrated one day. You need to be strong and speak up. It’s a matter of the rest of your life, just don’t leave it in this way. Don’t be afraid, it’s difficult I know but the you need to deal with it!

Pooja Priyamvada July 20, 2018 - 7:41 pm

Yes sexual frustration will escalate

Dr Priti June 14, 2018 - 4:57 pm

I think u should confront him or take him to a psychiatrist. Either he is gay or his girlfriend has hurt him real bad

Pooja Priyamvada July 20, 2018 - 7:41 pm

Yes the cause must be found and addressed

Vikas June 13, 2018 - 3:12 pm

मेरी पत्नी को इस तरह का पति मिलना चाहिए था

Pooja Priyamvada July 20, 2018 - 7:42 pm

Vikas har insan ka anubhav alag hai

social scientist June 8, 2018 - 10:24 pm

I know a friend who is facing the same issue but the scenario is opposite, man wants and wife can’t give but there is lot more to this story which I will share later. But I would say, please consult a psychologist, marriage counselor and a lawyer if necessary and discuss next steps. There are lot of men out there who are suffering because of incompatible sexual relationship and worst part their wife’s can’t give them babies either. Men like my friend could understand your situation and share their life with you. Initiating a separation could be really difficult for a women but I hope you find the strength to do so.

Pooja Priyamvada July 20, 2018 - 7:43 pm

Thanks for sharing your opinion

Piya June 8, 2018 - 6:41 am

May be he is homosexual. He don’t feel attraction for women. He got married for the sake of society, family.

Pooja Priyamvada July 20, 2018 - 7:43 pm

Yes the reason must be found

Vasudha Tripathi
Vasudha Tripathi June 1, 2018 - 12:12 am

What could be the better reward for her decency? Based on our stupid traditions, we fail to understand that traditions are made for the humans not that humans are made for the traditions. Felt so sorry for her, her whole life is a result of stupid traditions and decisions of others.

Pooja Priyamvada
Pooja Priyamvada May 23, 2018 - 12:18 pm

Some opinions readers chose to express privately, posting here on their behalf anonymously :

” I have mostly heard women of being fed up of men for being too sexual or horny most of the time. I ain’t denying that women aren’t sexual beings too. But very rare to see men not interested in sex and women getting frustrated from not getting it.”

“I never thought that women feel so frustrated. What I’ve always read and heard from women is otherwise till date.”

Angel Aurgasma
Angel Aurgasma May 23, 2018 - 11:55 am

Sadly in conventional marriages sex or fantasies are not even talked about, most people in marriageable age are also not aware of their sexual orientation or preferences and sex is still taboo.

Sandip Raj
Sandip Raj May 22, 2018 - 11:31 am

So sorry to hear this cruelty from your husband. Ultimately your happiness is that matters. Please gauge all options and take a decision that will bring happiness into your life

Pooja Priyamvada May 22, 2018 - 2:12 pm

Thanks for your suggestion Sandeep I am sure the lady in question is reading your comment and will consider your suggestion, that’s the whole point I guess for allowing me to share her story here publically

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