I have been married 15 years but for the past 10 years, since our second child was born, my wife has shown no interest in the physical side of our relationship. I am happy with our marriage in every other way. Two months ago I realised our lack of sex was affecting me because I was tempted to have an affair.
Nothing happened but I was shocked that I was tempted. Could she ever go back to being her old self? As a couple you must be one of millions. Extra-marital affairs and even whole other lives are kept secret but these are rare compared with working or even happy marriages where sex is a thing of the past. You are talking about a situation that, in your case, has gone on for about a decade and, I suspect, largely without comment, discussion or recrimination, otherwise it would have become an issue between you and you would have described it quite differently.
Obviously the physical side of your marriage is long off the agenda. Why have you not attempted to address it, reintroduce it, re-ignite it? Is it because you got the very clear message that it would not be welcome? Were you afraid of rejection? Or were you just not all that interested either? The absence of sex has not, as you saw it, had any horrible effect on you or your marriage. After all, it took you 10 years before you felt tempted to have an affair and even then you were shocked.
Most people feel tempted to start an affair at one time or another, you have been slower than most. Perhaps it was just a passing impulse. You could just forget it, go home, shut the front door and carry on as before. On the other hand, you say you need some physical contact: It might do no harm but you would be taking a risk — of getting found out or completely throwing your emotional life off the rails and your home life up in the air.
Some would advise you to discuss the situation with your wife but if there has been no talk for 10 years that is not so easy. If you do decide to explore your marriage together and your wife would have to be keen, too you could obviously seek marriage counselling.
On the other hand, Freud and co greatly exaggerated the importance of sex in marriage. Many catastrophic relationships are sex-filled; in many successful relationships sex is hardly a dimension. Do you feel rejected? Do you feel unhappy? Do you think your wife is unhappy? Do you think lack of sex is going to be a growing problem for you? Do you think brave new frankness would open the way to a refreshing new relationship between you?
Or might it just endanger what you have, which sounds not too bad. What is a normal sex life? Once a week, every night, sex toys? With sexual images all around us it is easy to get hung up on notions of what constitutes normal.
These are things you may not want to hear and it may be helpful to seek professional counselling. Sometimes it really is easier if you have a neutral person present. The alternative seems to be to spend the rest of your lives living companionably like brother and sister.