Reply To: “I Expect More Sex From My Wife of 15 Years”

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March 18, 2024 at 10:32 am #1128548

I was married to someone like you for almost 20 years. He wanted sex every day and was always talking about how he needed it to feel loved and desired. He had very strong opinions about would would make ME feel sexy…based on, of course, his own fantasies, not mine. Also, when I’d have sex to make him happy, even when I wasn’t feeling it, he criticized it so much that eventually I stopped wanting to please him entirely. Think about it…your wife agrees to have sex with you that she doesn’t want to have, because she LOVES you and wants you to be happy, and you turn around and complain about how “vanilla” she is and how unsatisfying “mercy sex” is. Even if you don’t say those things directly to her, I can guarantee you that she picks up on your attitude. She hears the loud and clear message, “The kind of sex you like isn’t acceptable or even relevant. You aren’t good enough for me the way you are.”

With my ex, the thing that killed my sex drive for him wasn’t all of that, though. It was 20 years of me doing about 80% of all the housework and child care, and probably 99% of the mental labor (remembering when the kids were due for doctor/dentist/eye doctor visits and scheduling those appointments, meal planning for the week, choosing and purchasing a gift before various birthday parties/baby showers/weddings, etc. All that stuff wears you out and I almost never see men doing their fair share of it in couples of our ages. As a woman, you start feeling like you have an extra, man-sized kid, and let me tell you, nothing kills your libido faster than having to mother your man. Not to mention you start wondering why you are bending over backwards to please him sexually when you’re already doing so much else already.

The other thing that killed my libido for him was that he invalidated my feelings at every turn. If something hurt my feelings, instead of apologizing and stopping whatever he was doing, he’d double down and tell me that I should know he was just joking, or insist that he didn’t understand how I could possibly feel the way I feel (the unspoken follow-up being that therefore, he didn’t have to respect it). In what you wrote here, I see a complete disregard for your wife’s actual feelings and desires. You have so much contempt for her dislike of lingerie, for example, even though a lot of women (myself included) find it the opposite of sexy. Lace is scratchy, underwire feels like a prison cell, g-strings are like dental floss up your butt. When she tells you that SHE doesn’t feel sexy in it, it’s telling that you basically dismiss her feelings. You certainly don’t seem very interested in what she fantasizes about, what she really enjoys sexually. You just seem very critical of her sexuality, and that’s a huge turnoff.

I think this is something best addressed in couples therapy. Ask your wife if she’d be willing to go, but do NOT frame it as something to fix your sex life, but rather explain that you realize you haven’t been paying attention to her needs as well as you could have, and you’d like some help in learning how to really listen to her and communicate with each other. If she’s willing, offer to do the legwork of finding someone. Maybe she would prefer to choose the person (if so, let her!) but what you don’t want is to come across as trying to add yet another task on her already overflowing plate. In fact, you might actually go to her with a couple of options in mind already, people you’ve reached out to and know are taking new patients and take your insurance.