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Ask Majella: Majella O'Donnell solves your problems


Majella O'Donnell

Majella O'Donnell

Majella O'Donnell

Advice for a reader who is repulsed by the thoughts of a physical relationship.

Dear Majella

As an avid reader of your column, I would love if you could print this. I don't think there is any solution to it as such, but maybe other people might identify with me. I think this is one of the last taboos and there is no one who I can talk to about it.

In 1983, I met the love of my life. I was 18 and very ready to fall in love. This man was a good bit older than me and had experienced life. We had a relationship that lasted until 2007. Sadly, he passed away two years ago.

Our relationship was full of joy, love and trust. Everything I experienced as regards a sexual relationship, I experienced with him. I was never with another man during this period and I never wanted or needed anyone else. I was a very sensual sexual woman with this man. So far, so good, you may say.

You will gather that I am on my own since his death and, indeed, for the years from 2007 to 2012 as he had been ill for some time. After a ghastly period of sadness and pain, I began socialising again a couple of years ago. I have met loads of men and have been out with a few of them. Cinema, coffee, etc. However, the mere thought of being with any of these men in a physical/sexual way fills me with horror. I cannot begin to imagine how it could ever happen. I don't wish to even kiss any of them. Some of them have said from the first meeting that they expected a full sexual relationship. Needless to say, I disappeared quickly!

Common sense would dictate this stems from a previous bad sexual experience. This could not be further from the truth - I loved making love with my previous partner and we were very attracted to each other. Now, I am revolted by even the thought of it with these other guys. I feel completely asexual. Yes, I am lonely at times, but lonely for the man I loved and lost. My life is full otherwise and bed and a good book is now what I look forward to. I don't know if there is any solution for me or I don't know if I even want a solution. This is, I gather, an unusual one in an era where sex is attached to almost every facet of life.

Name with editor

Majella replies...

Dear reader

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Thank you for your letter. It's an interesting one, because it very clearly shows how people think their lives should conform to some kind of normality when, in fact, we all live our lives very differently.

We presume that other couples have wonderful regular sex lives and if we are not doing the same, then there is something wrong with that. This is absolutely not the case. As long as two people are happy with the way their relationship works, then that's all that matters.

I think that it's wonderful that you had such a loving relationship with your previous partner. Not everyone experiences love like that, so you are a lucky lady. The underlying feeling I get from your letter is in fact, that you are quite happy with your life, yet you have written as if you have a problem!

You say yourself that you had a great life with your partner in every sense of the word, but that you have not met anybody else that you are interested in having a sexual relationship with. What's wrong with that? You don't have to have sex again if you don't want to.

I suspect that your age, which I have worked out to be about 50, could also be a factor for your lack of desire for sex. If you have started the menopause then this can really interfere with your hormones and can sometimes cause a loss of sex drive, which is very common. If it bothers you, then there are steps you can take to help yourself. But why force yourself to want sex again? You say that 'bed and a good book' is what you look forward to now. Do you realise how many women in this world would agree with you! You said yourself that your life is full, apart from the sex.

Don't presume that because you are not having or don't want to have a sexual relationship, your life is less fulfilled or enriched. Far from it. What about people who, for some reason or other, cannot have a sexual relationship? Does that mean that their lives are not fulfilled?

Sex is a wonderful thing which can give the most amazing pleasure, but it's not the be all and end all. As people get older, it generally becomes less important than the companionship that they get from one another. Who knows, someday you might meet someone that you really feel sexually attracted to again and if you don't, then so what! Enjoy your life the way you want to.

Never feel that you should be doing what you think everyone else is, because no one really knows what goes on behind other people's doors. What's right for you may not be right for the other person and vice versa. There is no solution to be found.

Go and live your life to the full. What will be will be.

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