by Lori Dwyer on April 22, 2011 · 25 comments

I grieve for sex.

I suppose, that’s not a huge surprise, although it surprised me, how keenly I felt it, and how quickly- in the days following Tony’s funeral, it was, bizarrely, one of the things I mourned the hardest.

Not the sex, itself, I guess. (Good Lord. Mum, close the browser window now). Although I do miss that.

But, really, I guess, if it was just sex I wanted, I could get that just about anywhere. I don’t find physical attraction a difficult desire to manifest.

It’s the intimacy.

I remember- somewhat vaguely, but it’s there- sex with people, while I was in that dating phase of my life, before I met Tony, before I found my perfect Purple life. Nervous and exciting and fumbling and awkward, and trying not to embarrass myself.

It’s a very different thing to making love with someone you’re intimate with, someone you know. Someone you’re married to.

When you’re deeply in love with someone, you can laugh over mistakes and noises and interruptions. You can try things, things you never thought you’d trust anyone enough to even disclose. You can build an internal erotic barometer of what the person likes and what they don’t. You can judge by their sighs, the way they move, if you’re doing the right thing.

It’s nights in the dark, trying not to wake the child in the next room. It’s whispering “Don’t hurt the baby.” It’s confessing you’ve only ever seen that done on movies you shouldn’t have been watching.

It’s curling up, in the dark,under the covers, giggling and whispering and inhaling the scent of each others breath.

It’s trust, in the essence of the word.

And, being the physical, intimate kinda person that I am… my heart, my soul, my skin… it aches for it.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Kymmie April 29, 2011 at 11:44 am

Do you know, I thought of you the other day when I was speaking with a friend whose husband has left her. She said the exact same thing. xx


Trik82 April 26, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Hugs and love to you Lori xox


Kim ~ One Nutty Mama April 26, 2011 at 4:13 am

I totally understand this. My husband and I have always talked about how married sex is always better than single sex. It's the intimacy. It's everything you described. Being able to not miss ruin the mood when one of the strange noises of two sweaty bodies so close make. Instead you both burst into laughter and move on.

I am a lucky soul to still have my husband. (I am more thankful after reading your experience) When he is gone (just off to work) I miss his closeness. Even if it is just sitting watching a movie. Or reaching out to just touch each other as we pass in the hallway.


CS April 24, 2011 at 10:11 am

Second try at comment – lost a long first one but wanted to say I found your blog via Sydney Writers' Centre and, having been widowed in 2003, totally relate to this post.

I learned (from message boards at a website called Widownet that helped save me at the time) this is often called skin hunger. I found it most intense from about 3 months to 12 months, with the second year not much better. I had what I now view as a transitional relationship with a widower 2 months ahead of me on the so-called grief path. Our connection was passionate and intense but my parents and friends warned me 'be careful, you're vulnerable' etc. etc. etc. I eventually broke up with him about 22 months after my husband died, despite this man wanting to move into my house, marry me, etc. In hindsight I feel 1) I had a narrow escape and am thankful I broke it off when I did, knowing he wasn't what I wanted long-term (and couldn't hold a candle to my late husband), 2) 90% of our relationship was our shared grief for our lost spouses and our shared skin hunger, and 3) truth was somewhere in the middle ie I WAS indeed vulnerable and 'not myself' during that time BUT I also craved and needed that physical closeness and (sexual) intimacy.

Bottom line trust your own judgment and needs but at the same time don't totally reject what well-meaning (but usually ignorant) advice people push on you now — mostly they mean well and some years down the road you might acknowledge what they say/said at the time did have some truth to it – even if their words makes your blood boil now.

Wishing you well, one breath at a time.


Adalita April 24, 2011 at 8:37 am



Hear Mum Roar April 23, 2011 at 11:27 pm



Kellie April 23, 2011 at 9:20 pm

You've made me realise how much I take it for granted. Big hugs to you! xx


Being Me April 23, 2011 at 8:22 pm

I hear your yearning so much in this post. It must be agony (piled on top of agony). I am really adoring the comments you are receiving. xx


Crystal Cheverie April 24, 2011 at 6:09 am

Wow, in this instance, I can completely understand what you're going through. I, too, crave the intimacy, the trust that comes from such a close bond with a man, that you're talking about with every fibre of my being. It's something I've never known. I hope that you'll find that kind of intimacy again.


Victoria [Victoria’s Secrets] April 23, 2011 at 7:44 pm

The most beautiful feeling ever. I can not imagine what it would feel like if I lost it.


Kelloggsville April 23, 2011 at 9:14 am

I think you are lucky to have had the experience to miss. Although it would be better to still be experiencing it now. 2 marriages for me and I dont think I've ever properly experienced what you are describing. If you are the type of person to give (as you seem to be) you will receive it again and the right moment will happen but oh to never have had to of lost it in the first place xxx


Watercolor April 23, 2011 at 2:31 am

I'm 43 and still single. I totally understand. Alone stinks.


Cassondra April 23, 2011 at 1:11 am

This makes me cry just to read it.


Wanderlust April 23, 2011 at 12:40 am

God, I miss that too. Missed it all through my marriage. x


Melissa April 22, 2011 at 11:42 pm

so sad. a heartbreaking ache. and a wonderful testament to the truly rare relationship you had with your husband.


Daisy April 22, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Beautiful explanation of intimacy (and sex). I think about you often (excuse me stalking you), and love reading what you write. I think you manage to convey to people that haven't even been close to your experience what you are feeling very clearly. Keep writing about this, it's got to be helping someone, and hopefully, it is helping you the most.


River April 22, 2011 at 10:00 pm

For me the intimacy was never there. Even with two husbands, it was always just sex. I think I'm too emotionally distant to get really close. I loved each husband, but have never been able to get *that* close.


Alienne April 23, 2011 at 7:48 am

That is exactly how I felt, very soon after my husband's death – and I still do. I miss the closeness, the warmth, the smell, the comfort of him. Now you've made me cry


Leanne April 22, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I hear ya.


robyn April 22, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Your writing is, as always brilliant. You make people understand what you mean with your eloquence. Hope you can get that intimacy again at the right time.


Salamander April 22, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Don't feel like you have to explain yourself to anyone. You've lost the intimacy, the love, the support, the trust of your husband. Of course you miss him, and all that was contained within your relationship. Those things are worthwhile because they are hard-won. And though you might feel like they're gone forever, you're too wonderful to remain single. There will be many who admire you, want to know you, and fall in love with you and your children. It will happen again. Sending lots of love, as always xxxxx


Buzz April 22, 2011 at 7:42 pm

I so totally understand what you mean. I really feel for you. I share the same longing – except I'm still in a relationship that is devoid of the intimacy. It's refreshing and reassuring to know there are other people out there going through the same longing, even if for different reasons. I hope you someday find the intimacy again, when you are ready.


Watershedd April 22, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Totally understandable. Intimacy is something that words cannot completely describe. Loss takes on so many levels. X


Ms Styling You April 22, 2011 at 7:16 pm



Toni April 22, 2011 at 10:07 pm

I spent 10 years on my own, and GOD I missed that intimacy. I hope with all my heart that you are blessed to find that kind of relationship again one day, Lori, when you're ready.


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