"We've Been Married Seven Years -- and We've Never Had Sex"

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His Turn

"I've Been Patient"

"I don't want a divorce, but I can't stay in an unconsummated marriage any longer," said Brad, 36, a creative director for an advertising agency. "I've been patient over the past 11 years. I believed Natalie when she promised to solve her problem. I surfed the Internet to find out everything I could about her condition and downloaded articles, hoping she'd be inspired by other women who had overcome the same problem. But she refused even to look at those articles, just as she has refused to see a counselor. What more can I do? 

"Sometimes I feel like a chump for sticking around. But I love Natalie; we're best friends. Sex is the only thing we've ever fought about. But I'm prepared to leave if she doesn't get cured of whatever is wrong with her. I'm tired of shutting down my sexual side and pretending it doesn't matter that I've never made love to my own wife. Natalie seems to think the answer is oral sex, but that's not enough. I long for the emotional connection -- and frankly, the sexual satisfaction -- that's comes only with intercourse.

"I had an unremarkable childhood. I got along with my older sister and younger brother, but wasn't especially close to my parents. My dad, a truck driver, was a jokester who behaved more like a buddy than a father. My relationship with my mother, a homemaker, has always been on her terms. For instance, when I went to college an hour away from home, she never once visited, because she won't drive out of her zip code. She hasn't been to our new house for the same reason. I've always wanted Mom to be more involved in my life, but she is emotionally remote. I'm not really surprised Dad left her for another woman when I was in college.

"I was attracted to Natalie from the moment we met. She's petite and pretty, as well as smart, funny, and outgoing. I was disappointed when she said she had a boyfriend, but we became work pals. When her relationship ended a few months later, I immediately asked her out. Our romance was founded on friendship; once we started dating, I fell in love fast.

Continued on page 4:  His Turn, continued


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