Mismatched Desire in Marriage
Hi Dick and Jane –
I love your blog on tumblr and your written blog here. I am the WIFE on arousingpassion, I am not sure if you are familiar with our blog.
I wanted to see if you two have always had the “same” healthy sex life and attitude to sex? I love my husband dearly but lately we are having a few issues whereby we seem to be a little off base with our desire for sex. He would love it everyday, which in theory I would love also, I seem to let everyday issues come between this though.
Any ideas, thoughts or suggestions? many many thanks in advance!
– MJ of ArousingPassion
You may have read on our website that we’ve been married for a while, it will be 17 years this summer. We’ve been through ups and downs and have been grappling with out-of-sync libidos since long before you were married. Hopefully, what I share with you here will be useful… but before I go any further it is important for you to know that relationships (and sexual relationships especially) ebb and flow as life and situations change. It would be unrealistic to assume that the sex you had in the first three years of marriage will continue unchanged. Change is normal. It would also be unrealistic to assume that the sex you had in your first three years of marriage will be the best sex you ever have… sexual satisfaction does not diminish linearly with time, it often improves. Though the frequency definitely changes.
If I understand your question correctly, yours and your husband’s libidos do not have the same rhythm… he has the faster ticking desire for sex and you are left trying to keep up. Often this results in disappointment for him which undermines the foundation of your intimate connection. Am I on the right track?
Your email went “bling” on my iPhone (bedside) and interrupted a very emotional disagreement between Jane and I on this very topic, the timing was amazing. Yes, we have these struggles too. She is the lower libido partner and I am the one who often feels left in the cold. Our blog covers some of this, if you are interested, try reading posts with the Libido tag, especially Hide and Go Seek Libido.
I’ll be stating the obvious here when I say that your husband wants more than simple sexual release. True, the physical pleasure of ejaculation and resulting hormone rush are appealing… but he would never get the same satisfaction from a diet of masturbation alone than he would get from sex with you. As men we are conditioned to present our needs for validation, emotional connection, and self empowerment through sexual exchange. Your involvement in his sexual satisfaction; your cries of pleasure, your lust for his cock in your every orifice, is a feedback loop that feeds his ego and strokes his sense of self worth.
More than anything, men like your husband and I desire to be desired. We want to be wanted. When your libido goes on hiatus we don’t understand (because our bodies are composed of 90% water, 5% proteins, and 50% sex hormones ;o) and your lack of desire seems like a lack of interest in us.
I’m willing to bet that when your desire for sex is low you hold back on simple acts of affection to avoid them being interpreted as sexual initiation. To avoid turning him on (and then having to wave him off) you simply keep your hands and lips to yourself. Am I right? If so, this works against you. You and he need to come to some agreement that frees you to express affection without his expectation that it will lead to something sexual. This is important for him… it will allow you to properly express your love for him, to keep him feeling desirable, even when you do not desire sex. Keep the physical contact going, initiate it often and be generous with your affection.
Make it sexual sometimes, even when you don’t want to fully participate in sex. It is possible to hotwire a man’s sexual feedback loop and give him much of the same satisfaction sex does without ever parting your legs. I’m assuming you and he are open about your masturbation… if not, you should be. Assist him when he needs relief and you need to be released (you initiate this!). Play with his balls, put an arm on his chest, let him grab your boob(s), kiss him and/or whisper hotness in his ear… all while he takes matters into his own hand.
This will; provide him with sexual release, keep you in the loop, help him feel desirable and cared for, make you present when the cuddle-hormone Oxytocin floods his veins, and gives you credit for engaging his sexual needs. This should never be considered as a replacement for sex, but as an occasional substitute it rocks! It is all about him… he does not need to perform or worry about the timing of his orgasm, and unlike participating in a receptive act (like a blow job) he doesn’t feel pressure to climax before you wear out.
It is win, win, win.
Should you choose to participate more fully by offering something like a hand job or blow job, be the initiator… don’t make him ask. You know when he’s horny, all the time right? The only reason he isn’t constantly at your feet begging for a good fucking is pride. He hates rejection and so he often won’t approach. Don’t make him. Your initiative GOES A LONG WAY! And don’t ask him what he wants either… make him feel like you are taking the thing from him you desire. He may redirect you but your initiative will make it seem desire driven.
You may find that this sort of activity actually kick starts your own libido. Jane falls into the same camp as many women who are classified as having “responsive desire”, meaning that her desire for sex is not spontaneous (like most men’s) but grows in response to sexual stimuli. We first read about this characterization on Emily Nagosky’s blog (see Do You Know When You Want It), it helped Jane realize that her sexual response was present and very normal despite cultural influences that suggest men and women should have similar patterns of desire.
Emily’s blog is really good and she has one post in particular that focuses on the same topic as this email, though her approach is quite different (Differential Desire). You should keep in mind that my opinion and strategies are those of a sexually needy man with more sperm than restraint… and Emily only has a PhD in Human Sexuality. So… take that into consideration. ;o)
I feel like I’m rambling a bit… turns out I have a lot to say on this topic as it is close to my heart. What I’ve laid out here is a simple suggestion to bridge the gap which can develop between out of sync partners, but it is no silver bullet. I’m sure you will find other ways to cope that work very well for you… but I feel strongly that the key element in approaching a solution is working together. Sexual pleasure is a mutual endeavor… as are sexual problems and solutions.
We wish you the very best, thanks for taking the time to contact us and let us know how it goes!
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