I write for pleasure, mostly short stories, fiction and non-fiction, or documenting a major renovation in which I’m currently absorbed. Writing, for me, is all about cobbling together a series of words that result in something meaningful. I’m lucky enough to work at a university with a resident top-notch editor / professor on faculty, and have access to the writing center on campus for more editorial assistance. What more could a writer ask?
This, however, will not be a carefully cobbled series of words. My hands are shaking, my heart is pounding, and my breath is shallow as I type, because, until about a week ago, not even my closest friend and confidant knew what I’m about to say. I’m celibate. And it’s not by choice. Please pardon me as I push forward. I need you, VN reader. Please, hear me. Because right now, I don’t feel heard. And to not be heard is to be invisible. It’s my own damn fault. I haven’t spoken. I feel fear and shame, and I’m pissed.
I’m 52, married 13 years. My life is good, except for this one thing, and it’s a big thing. Pun intended. My 52-year-old husband is a good-looking guy. We are both lucky to be healthy and medication-free. We do things together, like hike the beautiful mountains that surround us, dance, enjoy a glass of wine while watching stunning West Texas sunsets, walk our dogs, ride bicycles, ride a motorcycle. He brings me a cup of steaming coffee every morning before I get out of bed. We frequently escape to our remote get-away that we call The Home Place, where we disconnect from technology (it’s that remote – no cell signal, no TV, no phone – solar-powered electricity, hauled-in water), shower outside, eat meals cooked on an open fire, drink perked coffee, and every night, lay back on chaise lounges to watch for shooting stars in a vast, open, dark night sky. Did I mention that we live in the darkest area of the United States, where stars invisible to the rest of our nation are brilliant and bright to the naked eye? The Home Place is the perfect place for hot sex.
He loves his job as a manager for a national non-profit, doing good things for down-on-their-luck people every day. I love my job, too, and enjoy helping university students every day. Everybody thinks we have the perfect relationship. I’ve seduced, screamed, pleaded, threatened, loved, cried, begged, asked nicely. I’ve prayed. A lot. We attend church together almost every Sunday at a laid-back and accepting jeans-and-boots kind of place, and I feel laid-back and accepted there, even though I’m the city girl amongst authentic cowboys and cowgirls who really do ride and mend fences. My point is that this is not about religion or oppression because of it. I live without guilt and regret. I’ve always considered myself to be sexually open and confident. We’ve had our struggles, mostly past financial problems, I’m sure that my husband’s failed business from a few years ago, which was followed by a foreclosure and loss of many things, has not helped this situation. He abaondoned a career that he loved after 25 years. But we’ve overcome, or at least, I thought we had.
I am not sure how to end this confession, except to ask what is next. When I think about walking out, I know that I would miss him immensely. We go weeks without discussing this, and then the silence is usually followed by an outburst from me. We eat dinner together almost every evening, but we sleep separately now, since about 6 weeks ago. During my outbursts, he is usually silent and angry, but when things calm down, he promises to seek medical help and do whatever it takes to change this. But I’m still waiting. Because of my beliefs, I won’t seek sex outside our marriage. On the other hand, my beliefs also say that a sexless marriage is a broken vow. I’m not sure what is next, but I welcome your input. Thanks for hearing me.