IF YOU’RE HAVING SEX AND YOU KNOW IT, CLAP YOUR HANDS

One of my guilty pleasures is perusing a men’s site where married men complain about a lack of sex with their wives. Maybe I have way too much time on my hands; perhaps it’s grist for the mill. Who knows? In any case, the subject fascinates me for some deep-seated, perverse reason.

If I was in a relationship and my man wasn’t having sex with me, I wouldn’t stay in that relationship, period. In fact, the second I disentangled myself from it, I’d probably immediately solicit the first man I came in contact with in a pathetic attempt to elevate my flagging self-esteem. But that’s me. I’m trying to understand what compels couples to stay together even though they’re unhappy.

Yeah, yeah. The kids. I know that reason well. I’m not even going to argue it, even though I’d be hard-pressed to choose which is the lesser of two evils: Divorce or Staying for the sake of the children, thereby teaching them that marriage = a miserable, emotionally-void existence.

One of the major problems couples experience within a marriage seems to be a mismatch of libido—specifically, the man needing or desiring sex much more than the woman. Maybe it’s God’s little biological joke, or brainwashing by the media, or simply a result of our oversexed culture.

Ironically, when half of a couple states that sex shouldn’t be the most important thing in a relationship, it’s almost always the woman. Of course, it isn’t the most important thing, but as the saying goes: “When the sex is good, it’s 10% of the relationship, but when it’s bad, it’s 90%.”

A woman made a comment in the sexless thread this week, giving me pause to think.

FACTS: 23-year-old female with an admittedly low sex drive; in love with attractive boyfriend of one year; engages in infrequent sex with him to make him happy, even though she has no desire for it.

DILEMMA: She knows their mismatch of libido will eventually drive them apart.

Now here’s the interesting part. This female claims to have an extremely fulfilling life with many interests, and sex to her feels like a big fat waste of time. She’s not repulsed by it; she just deems it unnecessary. Why then, should she submit to something she doesn’t want to do?

It’s very easy for a man to say, “If she loves me, then she should want to show me by having sex with me.” But if the man truly loves his woman, why can’t he give up sex for her sake?

Why does this woman have to be the one to change if she wants to keep her man? She doesn’t equate sex with love; therefore the act of sex doesn’t hold the same significance for her as it does her boyfriend. Why should her man’s sexual needs be more important than her own?

In her words, “Why should I spend my life alone just because I don’t feel like having sex with my partner? Many men do want sex much more than women. That could be put the other way round: women may want no sex in their relationships. WHY SHOULDN’T THOSE WOMEN’S NEEDS BE FULFILLED? The women who don’t want to have sex, but still want to have a loving (=caring) man in their lives?”

She continued, “This has been very difficult for me, and to have to choose between a lifetime of loneliness and obligatory sex to sustain a life partner is not the kind of a future decision anyone would want to have ahead of them.”

At this point in time, her boyfriend seems to be under the delusion that they’ll eventually work the situation out, or that the problem might magically disappear. That the woman compared learning to like sex with learning to like liver is not a good sign, in my opinion.

Until someone comes up with Viagra for women, I imagine this discrepancy of libido will continue to be a bone of contention between men and women. Best thing to do? Keep a sense of humor in the meantime.

“My love life is terrible. The last time I was inside a woman was when I visited the Statue of Liberty.” –Woody Allen

What do you think of this woman’s dilemma? Is there a solution? Can she and her man live happily ever after?

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TO SEX OR NOT TO SEX

I love sex. I especially like talking about it in all its dysfunctional glory. In fact, if I had it all to do over again, I’d be a sex therapist. As Americans, we are a culture obsessed with sex, so I was astounded to discover how many couples weren’t having any.

How can that be? I mused. Isn’t that one of the major reasons why couples get married in the first place – to have regular sex? Well, that and the tax break. Don’t we breathe a sigh of relief that we no longer have to put ourselves out there, trolling for sexual gratification? That the calluses on our hands may finally heal, and the house won’t have to be constantly stocked with AA batteries?

It was only when a male friend of mine confided in me that his wife was always too tired for sex, and when a married father of three made a pass at me, claiming his wife hadn’t slept with him in six years that I went searching for some answers.

I googled “I don’t want to have sex with my husband.”

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD! The pages and pages of forums and articles devoted to this subject was enough to make my head spin. Clearly, this was an epidemic of ginormous proportions. No wonder men are angry all the time. And why is Viagra so popular if it’s not needed in the first place?

I literally spent weeks reading through all the comments that followed a New York Times article regarding sexless marriages; comments made by both men and women. To me, not having sex with one’s partner (medical issues aside) for a month indicates a major problem, but folks wrote in saying it had been a year since they’d had sex. Or 6 years! Or they just didn’t do it at all anymore!

Most comments were by men complaining about the infrequency of sex with their wives, however there were also some women lamenting their husband’s low drive. In any case, the issue seemed to be due to a mismatch of libido.

I must admit I sympathized with the men at first. Posts upon posts of deprived, clueless men claiming their sexual advances were continuously being thwarted; they worked; they came home, cooked and cleaned, gave their wives a foot massage – and still, no nookie.

To this I say: First up, grow a set! No woman wants everything done for her, no matter how exhausted she is. And if she does, she’d rather have it done by a housekeeper, not her husband. It goes against “roles.” Besides, wife knows when husband is doing something to get something in return, and that turns wife off even more.

“My wife couldn’t get enough sex while we were dating. We had it 5x a week, 3x a day. Now? Nada.” All I can say is: She got you good! We all have dating sex 5x a week, 3x a day. Why? To get you to marry us. Would you still marry us if we only did you once a month? ‘Nuff said.

“Our sex life was fine, until the first baby. Then it all went downhill.” I say to men, “Men, walk around for a day with clothespins on your nipples and then see if you want me to suck on them.”

But then I began to see where the women were coming from.

“He comes home, plops himself on the couch, gets drunk, never brushes his teeth, and he expects me to be hot for him?” Ummm, yeah. Forget separate beds. Those two should have separate houses.

“After a huge fight, where he has just called me all the names in the book, he wants to have sex? I don’t think so.” Make-up sex is one thing; mad, resentful sex is entirely another. Men need to stop pissing off their women if they want to get laid. Women have memories longer than the line outside of Walmart on Black Friday. A careless insult will be stored in the Time Capsule of her soul. FOREVER.

“My husband’s not a very good lover. In fact, he sucks.” Or doesn’t, as the case may be. There is no excuse nowadays for lack of knowledge in the sexual department. Buy a book, watch a video (NOT porn), call Dr. Ruth – anything. When a woman has sex for years with her man and NEVER has an orgasm, Facebook becomes her Kama Sutra.

So where does that leave a sexless married couple? Especially if one resists counseling, doctor check-ups or plain old-fashioned talking about the problem?

Most men were against having affairs. They wanted intimacy from their wives, not physical release from a mistress. Some were biding their time until the kids were grown. Others had simply accepted their sexless state of being, rationalizing that sex wasn’t THAT important in a marriage.

The danger of accepting a sexless marriage is that the two of you are no longer lovers; you’re simply “friends” or “roommates.” What do you do though, if your marriage is satisfying in every other way? Do you leave and possibly destroy your kids’ lives, because you have carnal desires that are not being satisfied by your spouse?

I believe sex is the barometer of how healthy a marriage is. Problems in the bedroom = problems in the marriage. Sex is necessary for a close, intimate marriage relationship. Of course there’s more to marriage than sex, just like there’s more to a mocha than whipped cream. But if you’re lactose-intolerant, and never get to eat whipped cream? Well, mochas are still good; they’re just a little…boring.