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    Terrible start to 2014
    queston posted:
    (I normally post on Couples Coping, but there seems to be more traffic here...)

    We rang in the new year with sex--the most terrible, unsatisfying lame quickie sex I've ever had.

    How do you have this conversation with your wife of 26 years--that after years of being frustrated by how infrequently we had sex, I'm now even more frustrated by the rare occasions when we do have sex? She's basically finally succeeded in completely eradicating my desire to have sex with her.

    Her idea of sex: she comes to bed naked and says, "are we going to do it?" Then, I have to pry her legs apart. A couple minutes of foreplay might be grudgingly tolerated, then we get it over with, the more quickly the better. She surely doesn't care if it's satisfying for me, but she also doesn't seem to want it to be satisfying for her, either. I've told her many times what would make sex more fulfilling and appealing to me--she's simply not willing to lift a finger to achieve those goals.

    I, on the other hand, am more of a pleaser personality. My enjoyment of sex is determined about 95% from whether I am able to make it satisfying for my wife. But she doesn't allow that, either. She actively prevents any kind of touch that might lead to pleasure/orgasm for her.

    We had a rough stretch in our marriage a few years ago, but things have been a lot better in the last couple years--outside of the bedroom, anyway.

    I just feel lost about this. I'm not ready for a life without sex (I'm 49 years old), but I can't stand her idea of sex, either. I really don't want to divorce, and cheating is not an option for me.

    If I told her today that I'm not interested in having sex with her anymore, I doubt that she'd be too upset about that. (About not having sex anymore, I mean. I'm sure she'd be upset and feel rejected about me saying I don't desire sex with her anymore.)

    I've tried talking to her about this many times in the past. I've read books and suggested that she read them (she doesn't). We're a gender-role-reversed couple in some ways, one of them being that I'm the only one who ever wants to talk about the health of our relationship.

    I just really don't know how to take the next step. I'm feeling pretty lost.
    dfromspencer responded:
    Can't blame you for feeling lost! Wow, this is so unfortunate! When one partner decides what is good for the other, well, then things get bad real quick! It sounds like you have tried a lot of different things, read books even? The main thing I'm hearing from this is, communication breakdown!!! You do all the talking, and if I may, she does none of the listening?!


    To be honest, you really have done about all a guy can do, short of getting physical, anyway? This is unfortunate! If only there were some way you could touch her spirit again? Like you did when you first met? Have you tried REDATING your wife? Have you asked her out for a night on the town, lately? A romantic getaway at an B.&.B.? Send her sweet, sexy text messages throughout the day? Just a few, don't over do it. Maybe you could meet her at the door naked, and say," this is your lucky day, you have won an orgasm by any means you desire"!!! Most important of all, do you help your wife out around the house? All the time, not just once in a while? That is one sure fire way to get sex, when you are married with children!!! A tired woman is not very romantic, or even sexual. What made her fall in love with you in the first place? Be more romantic, like when you first met her! Be sure to give her massages, not just sexual ones, but the knuckling kind to loosen up those day long tired muscles, you know???

    If you become more romantic, and go back to those things you did when your love was still new, it may help a lot?!

    I wish you all the luck, you are going to need it!!! Don't forget, COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO A STRONG, HAPPY RELATIONSHIP!!! Hopefully, she will join in?!

    queston replied to dfromspencer's response:
    I do all of the laundry, all of the cooking, etc. I easily hold up my end on the housework. Apparently, she has never gotten the memo about men doing housework being the ultimate panty peeler.

    We've tried date nights before, we've tried counseling a couple different times. We went away for the weekend last summer--it was nice, but nothing changed long term. I think the thing is, she's perfectly OK with the way things are, it appears. We don't really have a romantic life--we love each other and care about each other, but we kiss more or less the way I kiss my mother. We're like room mates who have very boring sex once or twice a month.
    sluggo45692 responded:
    Wow Dude, I'm sorry. I know what your going through. My ex thought sex was a chore and she didn't like doing chores. (or laundry, dishes, cooking, taking care of the kids) I was lucky (in my eyes). She gave me a reason to get rid of her. (cheated)

    I'm not saying divorce is for you. 26 years is a long time to be together. You have to make the determination of what you want to live with. If you want to stay together, all you can do is keep trying and keep talking to her.

    Mercy sex sucks, but it's sex. (yeah right) As for her feeling rejected, she's rejecting you. She's just there for you to finish off in her. With no passion or love, she's just a vessel to catch your climax. My ex would say pull out and finish out of her. That way she didn't have to carry me around. (my impression)

    Yea, I'm still a little angry about it, but I get over it. No man likes to be rejected by his wife. I tried the therapy, the doctor exams (to see if she had female problems), the books, the gifts, and the dating. We had problems years before and I left for a while (stayed faithful). In therapy, I stated, I would do anything to stay together, but I had to have sex. I got a terrific BJ, that cost me 5 more miserable years. She didn't keep her promise to me and she didn't keep her promise in the marriage.

    All I can offer is do what your feel you need to do. If you want to stay together, great. Accept that you will get sex when she lets you and she's just playing catch. If the rest of the marriage is solid and good, I would accept it. You have to focus on the whole marriage, not just the sex.

    Queston from your other postings, your a smart man. What would you tell someone else to do in this situation? Then follow your own advise. Read your post as a 3rd party.

    Good Luck
    dfromspencer replied to queston's response:
    Yea, well, that makes it pretty tough then. All I can say is, sorry dude! I guess then, its all about what you want, and can survive with in this marriage? I think its time you thought about YOU? What is it you want? A good marriage of 26 years going on 45, or get out while you are still somewhat young?

    Sure, we can all start over, but what about what you did have? Can you walk away from all of that? Its time for you to do some serious conciderations, about you, your marriage, and your needs? If your needs are not being met, can you live on like you are for the rest of your life?

    Read what Sluggo wrote, again. Then its time to decide your future! Whatever your choice, I hope its one you can live with?

    rohvannyn responded:
    You have gotten some great advice about the relationship aspect of it and it sounds like you are trying really hard with that. Speaking as a female I would have some questions for her about the sexual aspect of the relationship.

    Many women who don't enjoy sex are doing it from shame, either supressed or unsuppressed. This can be caused by upbringing, by the idea that sex is just an annoying and degrading wifely chore, or that sex is dirty and nice girls don't enjoy it. Sad, I know. It's still pretty common in the back of many women's thoughts, even if they aren't conscious of it. Religious upbringing can do this to women too.

    If she used to be interested in sex but now isn't, it could be anything from hormones to mood. If you choose to talk to her about it, you might try this type of tactic. "I love you, and because I love you, I don't want you to miss out on the pleasure that sex can bring you. Is there a particular reason why you don't enjoy it? Is there any way I can help?"

    My partner and I rarely have sex (long story and I'm actually not bitter about it, it's related to an illness) but we find other ways to be close. I give her back rubs or foot rubs, we hug, we cuddle. There are lots of ways of feeling close and loved, and it sounds to me like you are missing out on that too.
    queston replied to rohvannyn's response:
    Yes, I think that intimacy in our relationship is lacking, generally, and when we have lame, awkward, unfulfilling sex, it just makes things that much worse. She just kindof lives in her own little world and seems perfectly happy for me to only be on the periphery of that world.

    She has actually never admitted not enjoying sex anymore, although it is perfectly obvious that she doesn't. She's kindof an odd case that way--it's very hard to get her to open up about anything.
    dfromspencer replied to queston's response:
    It sounds like she is ill at ease over something? Has she done anything lately, anything that might have embarrassed her??? Has she been to the doctors, and then suddenly started acting this way???

    I like Roh's possible ideas! She may have an imbalance in her hormones? This can be corrected with medications, called hormone replacement therapy. It could be something else Roh stated? Maybe it is Spiritual??? So many possibilities!!!

    Once again, I wish you all the luck in the world!!!

    bigred53 replied to dfromspencer's response:
    Question, so sorry your are going through this. You are always so helpful to others. I wish I could be as helpful to you.

    I have trouble understanding how anyone, man or woman, can't have any kind of sexual desire. I am a 60 year old woman and I want sex all the time but alas I am single and all the men I am friends with and find interesting and sexy are married and I will not cross that line and jeopardize their marriages. Thanks goodness for batttery operated boyfriends (Bob).

    Is your wife ever affectionate with you. As others have said physical contact does not have to include the sexual act. Every human needs touch of some kind. That is something that I really miss - the hugging, kissing, touching, cuddling.

    My heart goes out to you. I hope you and your wife are able to come to some sort of mutually satisfying compromise.

    rohvannyn replied to queston's response:
    Have you asked the question "are you interested in being part of a commited, loving relationship?" Maybe she isn't. My own spouse had to dig pretty deeply before I was able to admit that I was all in my own head, and that my own disinclination to intimacy is undesirable and not normal.

    'Your focus determines your reality.' --QGJ
    sluggo45692 replied to queston's response:
    Hi queston,

    Your getting a lot of advise and support here. We don't like for people to loss relationships. We are all glad your trying and support you.
    I'm glad the ladies spoke up. I know men see things one way and women see them differently. There are always 2 sides to the story and we can't make a relationship work by ourselves. I like what they said.

    Ask those questions. Is she wanting to stay in a commited relationship with you? Does she draw away when you take her hand or try to hold her? Non verbal communication tells us a lot on how people are feeling. You said she doesn't like to open up, but the only way you know how she feels it to get her to open up.

    Try a relaxing evening with a little wine or alcohol. A good meal and let her know you want and need to talk about the relationship. Avoid Drunk and stupid. Be relaxed and in control of your self. Help her let her guard down. Let her know your not trying to get sex, just conversation and truth. Tell her the only expectations you have are to hear her and what's going on with her. You've been with her 26 years. Expect the worst (crying and screaming from her), and hope for the best.

    I hope things keep working out and you can fix some things. It's never going to be perfect. Just keep at it.

    Good Luck
    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD responded:
    It sounds like she is distant in your relationship in general -- not just with sex. Many people in this situation find it helpful to talk with their partner about the state of their relationship (level of emotional intimacy) and try to understand how their partner feels about it and what they think about it. I suggest beginning with this because sexual problems are often an extension of such relationship issues.

    If the problem seems more specific to sex (you basically feel emotionally close and get along well), then it can be helpful to focus your conversation more on sex. Again, it's often helpful to ask your partner how she feels about sex in your relationship. You might note your observations and ask her to help you understand her thoughts and feelings. If you do this, it is important to really listen. The focus in on understanding her -- not getting her to have sex. Put your defensiveness aside. Listening and being open to understanding is not the same as agreeing-- instead, it is simply a statement that you want to understand and support your partner (even when there are differences between you).

    You might find that your relationship is so far along a difficult path that couple counseling would be most helpful in moving you back in the right direction.

    I wish you well.
    dfromspencer replied to queston's response:
    Hi Question,

    Wow, soooo much support here!!!

    I've been reading, and re-reading most of these posts, and I think what you should do now is, print all this out?! All of it, to include your very first post! Then let het read it.

    This is one sure fire way to get her to see just how important she is, and her happiness is to you?!!! Hopefully, this will make her want to open up, and tell you the answers you long for???

    Just a thought? You may try it, at least I hope you do?!

    Best of luck to you!!!

    tmlmtlrl responded:
    Hi Question, sorry your New Year started out that way. Unfortunately I think it just gives you a glimpse at yet another year with your wife:/

    I've known your story for years now. My approach would be different than what the others suggest. I'm pretty sure you've tried all those things..

    How about a hard core guilt trip? Starting with turning her down for sex. I know that you are not enthused about trying that and I understand why, but you have to start somewhere. When you turn her down you then tell her that you are completely turned off by her because of the way she treats you and treats sex. BUT you can't let her turn it on you that you'll never have sex again. You have to keep control of the conversation. Let her know that you're not sure you can go on being married like this. She needs to choose to be your wife. Your marriage is a two way street and she needs to become a part of it. You need more from her than this horrible mercy sex. Let her know it disgusts you. Make her feel bad.

    You say your marriage is good now outside of the bedroom and I can't help but wonder if it's only very tolerable now. I don't think things have changed from your past posts. I'm more likely to believe you've become more tolerant of her behaviors. She takes you for granted and she knows you're a weak partner and that's why she treats you this way (it's easy to).

    You want respect and change then you need to be willing to stand up for yourself. Maybe you need to at least consider divorce or leaving as an option. Because honestly the other option is to be in a loveless sexless marriage for the rest of your life. How is that ok? Why would that be ok? Why would you let yourself spend so many years unhappy just because things are tolerable or you're scared of the unknown or being single again? Life is too short. Look how fast the first half went!

    Eventually you are going to be empty nesters. Then what? What do you think is going to happen then? YOU are the only one responsible for how your life turns out.

    My parents divorced after 23 years. It's a long time but it's not everything. It's a chapter of life. Maybe your marriage doesn't need to end but I believe it's at a point that that needs to be an option. I don't think there's much else that your wife is going to take seriously. Maybe what you're scared of is finding out that she doesn't care.. Not saying she does or doesn't but that that is an honest fear for all of us.

    How about let this be a New Year of New Beginnings?
    tmlmtlrl replied to tmlmtlrl's response:
    Um, so rereading my post I see how blunt that was... That is how I would talk to my best friend if she was in need of honest advice.

    Just want you to know that I care about what happens to you. You are a really good person and it hurts me to see people like you get walked all over and take it.

    Your life doesn't have to be this way, but you are the only one that can change it.

    Side note: How much snow you got over there (I remember which state you're in)?? It's a blanket of white here! So beautiful (Michigan). I know people think we get a lot of snow but we really don't. This is refreshing.. Well probably cuz it's a Sunday

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