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

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    March 14, 2024 at 8:10 am #1128492

    From a LW:

    “My wife (49) and I (50) have been married for 15 years with 2 children. My complaint is that sex has dropped off the radar and she dresses conservatively which impacts attraction, sexual banter and general intimacy.

    Yes, we have mismatched libidos, mine is higher than hers. I am happy to have sex 3 – 4 times per week, she prefers once or twice per month. The sex is sort of ok, I like to role-play but she prefers vanilla sex. When we dated she was more open and sexually physical – post marriage sex died down.

    I have to beg her for sex which makes me hate myself. I feel like I pester her for a whole day for her to agree to have 15 – 20 minutes of mercy sex. Makes me feel terrible. I asked her to talk to a doctor, chiropractor or women’s sexual health expert and get on top of the issue of low libido to which she sort of acknowledges but has not followed up on.

    Going on with sex, I get upset that I bought her very expensive lingerie to which she only wore once and never again. I asked her why and she said it made her feel like she needs to act out in the bedroom. I bought her sexy g-string and thing panties with matching bras to which she refuses to wear saying they are not her style and they look to be uncomfortable. She prefers to wear granny undies and plain unflattering bras. I have told her on many occasions she will look extremly host and feel sexy wearing the lingerie and underwear to which she ignores me and walks off.

    I have discussed my feelings and what I would like changed, and she shuts me down within seconds so I give up and keep quiet till the next time I muster the courage to bring it up again. I have broached the topic of her trying sex toys or female-ethical porn to which she flew into a rage and told me to get lost and never bring it up again.

    Wendy, I am truly out of options – feel like I am trapped in a sexless marriage. She is happy with the relationship but sex is not her priority nor is looking sexy. Any advice would be wonderful at this point.”

    March 14, 2024 at 3:13 pm #1128499

    I’m hearing that you:

    —pester her for a whole day
    —Buy her underwear that isn’t her style and makes her uncomfortable
    —insist she’ll feel sexy wearing these items
    —ask her to go to a doctor
    —-discussed your feelings
    —-suggested toys and porn

    Can you say more about what you’re doing to take some of her load off of her, talk to her about how she feels and what makes her feel sexy, what she wants from you, etc?

    March 14, 2024 at 4:48 pm #1128501

    Bingo. I’m hearing a dialogue that is 100% about you and your needs while openly dismissing and frankly insulting your wife. It is nothing short of outrageous that you are insisting she’ll feel comfortable in inherently uncomfortable clothing like g-strings, when she has DIRECTLY TOLD you the exact opposite. You are mansplaining your wife’s own feelings and experiences to her. Wow. You’re so tone deaf to her expressed needs and feelings that I’m not at all sure we can believe you when you say she’s happy.

    Jimmy Knowles has a lot of great content about this that might speak to you, check out his YouTube channel Jimmy on Relationships. In fact he just posted a video about how to get your wife in the mood when things have died down. Spoiler alert: it comes down to carrying your share of the mental load, childcare, and mutual chores, prioritizing giving her time for self care, and lots of emotional validation, empathy, and non-sexual intimacy and connection.

    March 14, 2024 at 6:19 pm #1128503

    Dude she does NOT enjoy sex with you. That is the root cause. She dresses comfy because she enjoys it and sees absolutely NO reason to dress uncomfortable and “sexy” for you because well, your sex doesn’t do it for her. Your whole post talks about you, you, you….

    When is the last time you engaged in something physically pleasurable for HER that didn’t have a physical pay back for you? A back rub, foot rub, oral sex JUST for her with NO sex for you. If every touch and form of intimacy is ONLY a prelude to you pestering her for sex she will (and probably has) gotten to the point of not even wanting that. If you really want to fix this, I suggest a couple’s sex therapist where you are ready to hear where YOUR issues are and what SHE needs.

    Additionally if she is don’t the majority of the parenting, housework, and mental labor then she is too tired to give a crap. Also doing the mental labor (setting up doctor’s appointments, putting stuff on the calendar, setting up chores for you to handle, reminding you what needs to be done) makes her feel she is more of your mom then a sexual partner. Totally NOT a turn on.

    March 15, 2024 at 8:03 am #1128504

    “I would like to rekindle intimacy with my wife” might have gotten you some sympathetic advice. As it is, it sounds like you want to speak to the manager. A woman is not a paint by numbers workbook—the same thing might never work twice. But you’re unlikely to know, as you’re falling before the first hurdle. Leaving aside all your demands, assuming you want sex with your wife, I can tell you this:
    1) treat her like she’s already enough for you
    2) find out about and rebalance domestic roles
    3) watch, listen & learn: what ever makes her feel sexy is what’s sexy for her—being trussed up like a turkey in fancy lingerie may not do it for her (but if you went shopping online with her or asked for a suggestion, that might)
    4) Romance her again, with no expectation of any pay-off except possibly improving the relationship. Cook a meal, do thoughtful things, try to figure out what makes her tick
    5) be patient; your wife may be perimenopausal or menopausal, which as well as affecting libido , is actually a major life change. Do all that and she might open up as never before.
    Good luck.

    March 16, 2024 at 12:52 am #1128519


    For a full discussion from another LW

    March 16, 2024 at 7:16 am #1128522

    You are focused on yourself.

    What makes her feel sexy? What turns her on? Have you figured that out in fifteen years together or is it just all about what you want?

    IMO you make her feel like a sexual object for your enjoyment and wonder why she’s not receptive. It’s pretty clear to all of us what the issue is.

    You need to pay attention and try to understand your wife instead of making her into your sexual plaything.

    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.

    March 18, 2024 at 12:12 pm #1128559

    I know I already wrote a lot but I also wanted to add…perimenopause/menopause really messes with your sex hormones, and your wife is at that age. Women’s estrogen and testosterone plummet and their sex drives often follow suit. And when you throw in hot flashes, sleep issues, mood changes, and other effects, it’s really hard to feel sexy. Putting pressure on someone whose libido has tanked has the opposite effect from what you’re looking for.

    March 18, 2024 at 6:37 pm #1128570

    Yeah, what Daisy said.

    Truly, that kind of underwear you’re talking about, it’s for men. And like, teenage girls who don’t know any better and it’s their first boyfriend. It’s super uncomfortable to wear and it feels cliche and impersonal. There’s a lot of quality loungewear and lingerie out there that is made for real women to wear and feel good in. Kim Kardashian’s Skims, for example.

    But whatever, the underwear thing is the least of the issues here.

    Shemp Howard
    April 4, 2024 at 5:59 am #1128682

    It’s always the man’s fault. Do more dishes, do more housework, don’t ask for sex, wait until she wants it, find out what she needs to feel good, be a therapist, be a romanticist, don’t expect sex, give her massages but don’t let it turn into sex, vacuum the floors, be an outstanding listener, don’t do or buy anything that could be perceived as sexual pressure, ask her what she’s thinking, buy only non-sexual gifts but very regularly, don’t ask her what she’s thinking, on and on, assume she has a headache, help more with the kids, give her time alone, etc. All of that just to get duty sex. Men need sex. It’s how they are wired. They don’t really ask for much more. If their wife introduces 100 requirements and policies and guardrails and stipulations, then they are going to get it someplace else. It’s that simple.

    April 4, 2024 at 10:04 am #1128689

    The three stooges didn’t need sex. Or women. But if men really want no strings sex, they may be dissatisfied in a relationship where sex is an expression of intimacy. So they will have to a) find someone who agrees with their worldview, b) use the services of a sex worker or c) go in the bushes.

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