Keeping it hot ‘n heavy on the regular is one of the many habits that happy couples swear by to maintain a healthy relationship. But on the flip side, a damaged sex life can be a big part of the reason why a troubled marriage ultimately fails.
“There’s no question that sex can be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back for a marriage,” says Aline Zoldbrod, Ph.D, a Boston-area sex therapist and psychologist. “In my experience, there is no other issue that hits as close to people’s inherent sense of self-esteem or shame.”
Here, six men and women share the unsolvable sex issues that caused their marriages to end.
“We Never Tried Anything New”
“I met my ex-wife when I was 17 years old, and she was the first person I ever had sex with. After we got married, I think that we both felt that we were stuck together and unable to discover new things about sex. We could have done more to be open with each other, but after having a child and then a miscarriage, sex never really felt pleasurable. We’re much better as friends and co-parents.” —Lucas, 31
“He Cheated On Me”
“Me and my soon-to-be ex-husband had mismatched sex drives, and so he cheated on me. In the end, he decided he didn’t want a monogamous marriage, so I left.” —Claire, 32
“We Never Had Sex”
“The truth is that my now-ex husband and I engaged in intercourse a total of three times over the course of one-and-a-half years of marriage, which is largely why I ended it. I believed at my core that it was wrong to go on this way, and he showed no sustained interest in exploring potential solutions with me (medical, emotional, etc.). You deserve to be married to someone who makes you feel desired.” —Donora, 33
“He Slept With Sex Workers”
“My ex was an amazing lover, and I have never experienced the type of sexual pleasure that he delivered regularly. But it turned out that could have been because he hooked up with prostitutes pretty frequently. Once I discovered that, we never had sex again.” —Crystal, 51
“She Took Sex Too Seriously”
“My ex-wife took sex way too seriously. She had a very specific sex script, so to speak, for me to follow, and it was very difficult for me not to treat having sex like a job. Even when she initiated it, she still expected me to make all the moves. It was all work and no play.” —James, 34
“I Didn’t Listen to Her Needs”
“When I was first married, I didn’t understand the differences between how men and women experience sex. I was the typical ‘short-burst’ male, while [my ex-wife] wanted a longer, more intimate experience. I was so clueless that I missed her requests to slow it down and take more time for her.” —Lou, 51