La Presse offers you a weekly testimony that aims to illustrate what really happens behind the bedroom door, in private, far, far from statistics and standards. Today: David*, 60.

For lack of sex at home, David regularly frequents massage parlors, and has been for 30 years now. No, he’s not exactly proud of it. It is even rather shameful. Confidences loaded with a man who has never revealed himself.

The man with gray hair and good-natured profile gave us an appointment recently in the large food court of Complexe Desjardins, in a remote corner away from prying ears. He’s “nervous,” he says upfront, and we’d be less. “I never divulged it. Never, never, never. To no one. “Even his shrink does not know anything about it, that is to say. “And over the past 24 hours, I’ve been like, over and over, do I cancel? […] But it’s time to say it, he convinces himself. Maybe I see something therapeutic in it? Maybe I need to indulge after all these years? »

If he is stressed, it is primarily because he is married, we guessed it. “And in general, I’m happily married,” says the man with a hint of a foreign accent, sometimes a bit clumsy, but in French no less sustained. “There may be a question of shame, quite honestly. I wouldn’t want people to know that side of me. Besides, no one could suspect it, he believes. “I have good friends, but they see me as a straight guy. It’s really too close to the person they perceive…”

His adolescence is by his own admission rather “dull”, he begins. “I had very little self-confidence…” It was also in his “early twenties” that he had his first sexual experience. Verdict? “It was like going to heaven!” The adventure lasts a few months, then David spends five years with a second woman, met on the benches of the university, with whom he never has, hold on tight, a full sexual relationship. “We liked each other,” he said, “but sexually it wasn’t working out. We don’t really know why, but the fact remains that to “let off steam”, David does not go elsewhere, but goes to a massage parlor for the very first time.

He still remembers it. At the time, he had seen an ad in Le Journal de Montréal. “I was nervous and excited at the same time! he says, describing to us the typical flow of this “massage”, which has more or less not changed in 30 years. If he’s happy leaving? He thinks, then replies, “I’d say I’m relaxed, of course, but happy? No. A bit ashamed…”

David then had a flirtation or two at work, before meeting, at the turn of his thirties, his partner, his wife, the mother of his children. ” I fell in love ! And I still am! he said smiling. He is a person whom I consider to be extraordinary. »

They get married pretty quickly, and in their early days their sexuality is pretty “super nice”, two or three times a week, “sometimes less, rarely more”. “It’s nice, he just says, I don’t know what to say other than that. »

And then ? And then along came the kids, and somewhat “unbeknownst to them”, “and that’s totally normal”, he says, their “sexual energy” waned. “The more children there are, the less energy there is. Until “quietly but surely” they had no sexual intimacy at all.

“And when the last one was born, I went back to the living room…” he blurts out.

And it hasn’t stopped since.

“My relationship with my wife remains,” he says. There is a hole, but the rest of my relationship is amazing! »

Have they already addressed the issue? “No,” our man replies. Sometimes there are things left unsaid in a relationship…” As the children grew up, they certainly “picked up” a bit, as he puts it. But so little. “Very sporadically,” he says. We are talking about a few times a year. ” The last time ? Somewhere in September. “That gives you an idea…”

The questions jostle in our head, and David answers them frankly, without the slightest detour. How often ? ” Twice a month. But it can be twice a week,” he says. According to what? “It depends a lot on the stress. I find that when I have a stressful event at work, it’s a way to let off steam. Madame doesn’t really suspect anything? “I don’t think she suspects anything. I’m working. I manage my schedule…”

Does that fill it? “It’s sexual and physical relief,” he says. With a moral guilt that is not overwhelming either. As proof: “I’m going back!” “And that’s kind of pathetic: either I carry that guilt or I give up on sex.” Not being ready to give up, I opt for guilt. »

Even if it is a one-way relationship, it must be remembered. By the way, has he developed any bonds with certain masseuses over time? “Links is a big word,” he replies. I think I’m a decent customer, but there’s not a lot of dialogue. »

How much does it cost, exactly? “A hundred dollars at a time. We do a quick calculation in our head, and we guess a rather astronomical total over all these years. “I deliberately didn’t make that calculation, and I don’t want to…”

We dare to insist: but why has he never broached the subject with his wife? “Hearing you makes me wonder. Should I address the issue openly? I fear a major marital crisis. »

We dare to ask one last question: does he have the feeling that he has missed out on his sex life? “It’s been one of the great failures of my life,” confirms David. But his life in itself is not a failure, he says. “Despite everything, I’m a basically happy guy. I have a wife that I adore. Children that I adore. A job that I love. I travel ! Despite this failure I’m carrying, I’m not a depressed guy,” he said, storming off.