When we were dating, my husband once shared with me that he wanted to be a priest. I laughed it off in the same way that when I was eight I wanted to be a circus clown. I brushed it off as just one of those passing childhood fancies. How could my tough, good-looking boyfriend ever consider something so chaste? Not that I have any disrespect for the priesthood; it just seem a thousand miles away from who he was. Little did I know that his tough, manly exterior was hiding a deep-seated shame about sex.  When we were dating he never pressured me for sex. I thought he was a gentleman. I had mistaken my husband’s lack of a sex drive as gentlemanliness.

And that is where my secret comes from. I am having an affair. I have been having one for nearly three years.  After nearly 20 years of marriage my husband has completely cut me off from sex. Because he thinks it is a shameful act.

In the beginning of our marriage, we had sex maybe twice a week. There were times when I wanted more sex, but I understood he worked hard and felt tired at the end of the day. But he didn’t act tired. He just acted uninterested in sex. But he really wanted to be a father.  That was why we were having sex: he wanted children.

Once we had two children the sex went from once or twice a week, to once or twice a month, to once every three months, then once or twice a year. Now it has been about five years since we have had sex.

At first I asked him to talk about it with me. Was I too fat? Was I not doing something he needed me to do?

I got him to go to marriage counseling when I threatened to leave him. After months of counseling it came out — he disliked sex, always had. And furthermore, he did not want to change and was unwilling to change. Even for me.

I had two choices: stay in a sexless marriage or leave him. I wanted to leave him and was making plans to do so when one of our children came down with a life-threatening disease.  And then the economy tanked. I lost my good paying job. (Even now, we have not financially recovered from that double whammy.)

While he may be a horrid husband, he is a good father and works hard to provide for his children. Around that time he coped with the stress by playing on-line games like World of Warcraft. He drew even further away from me as the game began to monopolize every free moment of his day. Little things he used to do for me like oil changes and mowing the grass stopped. I took over doing everything, plus taking care of a very sick child.

One day coming home in the rain I got a flat tire. I called him to come help me, but his response was to call a tow truck. It was raining and he was in the middle of a “raid” in his game and if he left, he would let his online friends down.

I was so angry, and then it was as if Fate took a hand. Our mechanic was driving by and noticed my car. He got out of his warm dry car and changed my tire on the side of the road. Then had me follow him to his shop and put a patch on the flat tire. I offered to pay him, but he refused. He was soaking wet and I told him he had to let me do something, at least buy him a cup of coffee.

He accepted and one thing lead to another. Later that day I was at his house, in his bed, having amazing sex.

That was three years ago. I’m still seeing him. He isn’t married. He lost his pregnant wife and mother in a car accident 15 years ago and never was able to recover enough to want another deep relationship. He doesn’t want to get married again, and I don’t want to get divorced.  We see each other about once a week, sometimes more, sometimes less.

Maybe I should feel guilty, but I don’t. I had been so starved for affection, for just a touch, a hug, a kiss. I wanted to feel passion again; I wanted to feel that I was still a sexy woman. He gives me what my husband refuses to give.  Maybe if things had been different, I would have left my husband. But as things stand now, I don’t see a way out and until then I’m going to take this little piece of happiness any way I can.