As Apprentice star Saira Khan reveals she told her husband he can sleep with other women, one man reveals his wife gave him licence to stray - with surprising results

Graham Godden, 48, is an athletics coach who lives in a three-bedroom cottage in Sussex with wife Sara Collins, 46, a businesswoman, and their three children aged 16, 11 and eight. They’ve been together for nearly 23 years, and married for 18.

He says:

Snaking my arm around Sara’s waist under the duvet, I gently kissed the nape of her neck, hoping that she would return my kisses and that we would make love.

Instead, she muttered something about being too tired to have sex and batted my arm away. I was dispirited and a little humiliated, but not surprised. 

For this pattern — me making a move, then being swiftly rejected — had become something of a bedtime ritual.

Graham Godden, 48, is an athletics coach who lives in a three-bedroom cottage in Sussex with wife Sara Collins, 46, a businesswoman, and their three children aged 16, 11 and eight

Graham Godden, 48, is an athletics coach who lives in a three-bedroom cottage in Sussex with wife Sara Collins, 46, a businesswoman, and their three children aged 16, 11 and eight

While I know that many marriages experience ‘dry spells’, in which the demands of work and child-raising mean that love-making takes a back seat, Sara and I haven’t had sex at all for two years.

Even in the few years before this, we made love only a handful of times.

Indeed, our love-life has been so lacklustre that five years ago Sara suggested that her libido was so low, I should seek solace elsewhere.

She was very apologetic about it, but I was shocked and hurt. She said her only condition was that if I ever took her up on this offer, she wanted to know before it had happened.

I didn’t know what to say, and we didn’t discuss it any further that night.

She rolled over and went to sleep, while I lay awake mulling over the conversation, questioning why Sara no longer found me attractive — and if I could sleep with another woman without it ruining our marriage.

Many husbands joke that they’d love a ‘free pass’ to cheat on their wives — but they can’t imagine the hurt and humiliation you feel when the woman you love tells you she no longer desires you.

I bet if it came to it, they’d be far more reluctant to have a tryst. For while my head is turned by attractive women on the street, it’s Sara I want to make love to, not a stranger. 

Graham said their love-life has been so lacklustre that five years ago Sara suggested that her libido was so low, he should seek solace elsewhere

Graham said their love-life has been so lacklustre that five years ago Sara suggested that her libido was so low, he should seek solace elsewhere

After almost 23 years and three children together, I take my marriage vows very seriously — and still find my wife as attractive as the day I met her.

Our youngest child was still a toddler when Sara dropped her bombshell. I’d hoped that, with the nights of broken sleep behind us, our sex life might pick up again, so every rejection became more painful.

Although we went on to have sex a handful of times after that night, it’s been two years since we last made love and I no longer try to initiate it because I am certain she would reject me and I no longer feel able to cope with the spiral of frustration, anger and hurt this sparks in me.

For while Sara no longer feels any sexual desire — or certainly not for me — my libido is as strong as ever.

When we met in June 1993, the sexual attraction between us was so powerful we couldn’t keep our hands off one another and made love most days.

Now we have the responsibilities of three kids, our own businesses and my 86-year-old mother living in a granny flat attached to our home.

I know it’s unreasonable to expect our sex life to emulate those carefree years before we had a family. A day without sex then was unusual, and often it was Sara who initiated it.

Perhaps that’s why it hurt so much when her libido waned so dramatically. We’ve talked into the small hours about our sex life and, Sara admits her libido has evaporated.

She reasons it’s because she is exhausted from juggling motherhood with her career and also that she is still haunted by our youngest’s traumatic birth.

Even though I know it’s not personal and Sara still loves me dearly, it’s a lonely feeling knowing that my wife no longer wants or needs me sexually. 

I would love to fall into bed with Sara at the end of a day and have carefree sex the way we used to, cementing our emotional connection.

I still think about sex every day, and have thought many times about taking Sara up on her offer.

Graham said: 'After almost 23 years and three children together, I take my marriage vows very seriously — and still find my wife as attractive as the day I met her'

Graham said: 'After almost 23 years and three children together, I take my marriage vows very seriously — and still find my wife as attractive as the day I met her'

As a fitness coach, I am surrounded by fit, nubile women, so perhaps I have more opportunities to have an affair than most men.

My clients pour out their troubles to me, but I am too professional to initiate anything. 

Plus I don’t drink and am quite shy, so there’s never going to be a time when I’ve had a few too many in a bar and make advances towards another woman.

But inevitably I do look at other women — don’t all men? — and if someone I found attractive showed a sexual interest in me then perhaps I would take it further.

Graham says: 'As a fitness coach, I am surrounded by fit, nubile women, so perhaps I have more opportunities to have an affair than most men'

Graham says: 'As a fitness coach, I am surrounded by fit, nubile women, so perhaps I have more opportunities to have an affair than most men'

Can our marriage survive for another 20 years without sex? Yes, it can. In fact, for our marriage to end Sara would have to be the one to leave. But whether I can survive the rest of my life without sex, I’m not so sure.

I have physical needs like any other man. If Sara’s libido doesn’t return perhaps I will take her up on her offer. Maybe it would spice up our relationship if she thought another woman was sexually interested in me.

Equally, I’ve told her that if she rediscovers an urge to have sex but it’s with another man, she has my blessing. 

If nothing else, it would assuage any guilt I’d feel if I do take Sara up on her offer and make love to another woman.

She says:

Sara says: 'Graham is my best friend and I can’t imagine my life without him, but neither can I envisage a time when I will want to resume our sex life'

Sara says: 'Graham is my best friend and I can’t imagine my life without him, but neither can I envisage a time when I will want to resume our sex life'

Graham is my best friend and I can’t imagine my life without him, but neither can I envisage a time when I will want to resume our sex life.

The days when we were having sex at least once a day are long gone, my libido extinguished by countless miscarriages, two traumatic births and a bout of post-natal depression.

Exhausted by juggling my family and career, and with the menopause looming, I don’t have the energy or physical desire I had in my 20s. 

Like so many women I know, I’d rather snuggle up and watch a film in bed than expend any energy making love.

Yet I adore Graham. He is a wonderful and attractive man whose hand I love to hold when we are out, and whose company I adore above all others. I just don’t want to sleep with him — or anyone else for that matter. Neither do I want to lose him.

But I am also a realist. He’s a man with a biological urge to have sex. I would rather he indulged those needs with another woman, so long as he is up-front with me about it.

If he strayed behind my back, that would be a betrayal of our marriage which I don’t think I could forgive.

But I have never regretted giving him my blessing to seek sexual gratification elsewhere, and I know it is unreasonable for me to expect him to live an entirely sexless life.

I’m surprised that Graham hasn’t taken me up on my offer yet, and greatly relieved by this. I know that if he came home tomorrow and said he had arranged to have sex with someone else, I would feel deeply hurt.

Although it would just be sex and could never compare to the bond we have from 23 years together, it’s impossible to know what it would do to our marriage.  

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