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Compromised Sexual expression.

I'd like to explore a scenario with you all about dysfunctional marriages.

It was prompted by something AC wrote along the lines of "us (the sexually refused) who are the crazies for staying. Most divorces go into refusal stage in the process, the spouses are not screwing each other silly right up until they hit the court house".

Been thinking about this, and I think AC has hit on a basic truth. Most dysfunctional marriages (whatever the cause of the dysfunction) usually result in the cessation of sexual expression. The spouse of someone with a destructive addiction problem is unlikely to be banging them. The spouse of someone who is treating them badly will not be screwing them. The abused spouse will not (willingly) be engaging in sex with the partner.

In ILIASM, we are addressing a symptom. That of the lack of sexual expression.

Spouses who are considering the future of their marriage given the trouble of 'cheating', 'addiction', 'mental / physical abuse', 'insert your own choice here' would be dealing with the same issue of sexual expression being compromised as we ILIASM people.

But perhaps THEY see the sexual expression issue in the context of their total situation. Where-as we (well at least me when I first arrived here) saw it as the key driver in the marital dysfunction when in fact it is a symptom.

I would put forward the view that -
- Just about any dysfunctional marriage will exhibit a lack of sex between the spouses.
- The lack of sex needs to be put into the context of the total marital situation
- The sex in and of itself is not the problem

And the two awful choices are the same irrespective of the dysfunction. It is NOT unique to sexless marriages. Spouses in abusive / addictive / unfaithful / insert your choice here / are facing the same thing - and dealing with the lack of sexual expression as part of it.
We ILIASM people often start trying to deal with just the lack of sexual expression rather than the whole situation.

Thoughts ?

Tread your own path.
PS - and thanks AC, for that comment that got me thinking.
bazzar bazzar 56-60, M 33 Responses May 27, 2011

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Lack of sex is definitely a symptom of deeper problems, but likewise when one spouse is for it and the other is against it they clearly have badly conflicting views about the marriage and the other person. Often the refuser turns out to be a cheater or to be engaging in sex almost the minute they're clear of the refused.

The problem is that the refuser's behavior is non-constructive and withholding sex is essentially physically abusive. These are the deeper problems, and often they're part of things that are so deeply buried that they'll never be fixed. The refuser can't see their actions for what they are, they can't take responsibility, and they don't have the willpower or fortitude to admit that they might be wrong. Those that scream at their spouses in an effort to 'punish' them are abusers and they never see it as such.

Besides - outside of this instance in my life, the sex has always gotten crazier near the end of a relationship, not worse or less frequent. All those emotions seek an outlet. No, I think there is always a severe mental health issue with most if not all refusers.

Think about it: Something about your spouse makes you deeply unhappy, yet you cannot be bothered to tell them about it or try to help them overcome it? That sounds like someone who just isn't invested in the marriage to me.

Thats pretty much the 1st thing the shrink said to me while in 'fix it' stage. When I did find the 'Insert reason/s here' it mattered not. Too far gone.

This is not always the case. A good book called 'Uncoupling' by Diane Vaughan sites some relationships where sex was on the table until the last day, but thats rare.

I think its simply all about getting ones head out of the sand. Thats what this groups good for.

There is one thing I find amazing!
That is why don't people remember why they got together in the first place?
Marriage only serves to separate people into mundane tasks and get caught up in the day to day crap and forget they ARE in a relationship.

If one leave the marriage thing out of the picture you are far more apt to remember why you got together and pay way more attention to the other and not take your relationship with them for granted.

Hints you try harder to keep their attention or they leave.
No sex?
No stay!
They know that.
It keeps both people in focus as to why they are there in the first place!
Always have a headache...Buy them a bottle aspirin!

Some times it is apparent what the problem is.
Those go with out saying in my book.
It is the ones that make no sense that I talk about.

Some toggle switch in the other half got flipped to the off position.
It is these times where the "TALK" has to happen to see where everyone stands.
Then if there is no resolution then it is time to part ways.

I have said it before....
Do not stop living because someone else has made that choice.
You make your own choice then do not ***** about your choice!
They made theirs and then you now have to make yours.
So go make it!
When would NOW be a good time?

I think a lot of us attract, or we are attracted to folks with personality traits. I think I have a "type," so my type happens to be a narcissist. I think I might have similar traits of an n. I love the artist, the flamboyant, or cerebral types that have egos that are large. I tend to gravitate to these types. Its quite interesting.

True. This may not apply to everybody in ILIASM, but for the majority, it is a symptom. Unlike addiction, abuse, etc., the underlying cause for the marriage dysfunction may not be obvious, which is why we tend to focus on the symptom. But when we dig deeper, we see problems in the marriage that we used to dismiss.

Giving this a bump up.

That is too narrow a scope to use for analyzation.My parents are both asexual but it is not an abusive/drug induced/alcohol induced relationship.Though i absolutely must agree with this "The spouse of someone with a destructive addiction problem is unlikely to be banging them. The spouse of someone who is treating them badly will not be screwing them. The abused spouse will not (willingly) be engaging in sex with the partner."

well some men may have that madonna ***** complex wich keeps them from having sex once they marry the female ....

<p>Ahhhh. Now we're talking, if "the person gets help for it". <br />
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A key and pivotal point.<br />
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If the person recognises they have an issue.<br />
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It they take ownership of the issue<br />
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If they embrace the treatment for their issue<br />
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- then, there is some hope of a good outcome.<br />
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The point is though, that all these matters come back to the choice of the person with the issue. And if they choose to do nothing then nothing changes.<br />
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And YOU cannot do their work for them.<br />
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Would it be acceptable to leave him if he lost a leg ? Sure it would be, you are leaving a dude who is not meeting your needs, his missing limb is irrelevant.<br />
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He has a pyschological situation. Is it ok to leave. Sure it is, you are leaving someone who is not meeting your needs, his psychological state is irrelevant.<br />
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Tread your own path</p>

My head understands now that it is OK.

I SHOULD get what I need and if he can't give it to me then I should move on so I can be free to find it. No point in being miserable and making him miserable too. Just as he SHOULD be with someone who will meet his needs.

Now if I could just get my heart to follow my head and deal with the now, not what may never ever be.

One day the head will take control when the heart runs out of space for hope.

See, at its' core, this is NOT a moral question (a matter of "right" and "wrong"). It is perfectly legal to divorce. Society sanctions this option. It is our personal emotions that have to be managed through the process that are the fundamental issues.

Aww, its not a problem to our sexless spouses. My ex was so shocked, had no idea, and was completely taken back when I told him my issues with our relationship. Operative words, my issues!

I know that for a long time before we actually broke up the ex and I were not having sex, but the lack of sex came abuot because the realtionship was just about over. <br />
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I came across this group becasue I was doing a search on OCPD. One thing led to another and here I am :) But one person was not getting any becasue of the other person's disability. I felt sorry for both of them but to me seemed that it was the OCPD keeing them from having sex.<br />
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I just assumed that sex was always the last thing to go, the thing that went because something that came before that went away. Or else it was due to physiological or some kind of psychological traume. <br />
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This is something that confuses me. People here say that they LIASM but for most of you I'm assuming that the intimacy is gone right? I think that if the intimacy were still there then in most cases even if the sex changed it would still be there. And I think that perhaps the intimacy is gone because something made it impossible to have that intimacy.<br />
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I am in a relationship where there is no intimacy. So naturally (at least to me) there is no sex. But he is trying. He has said that tomorrow we can fool around. I just don't see how I can do that without feeling like a hooker if we have no intimacy, and I'm not looking for that type of relationship. In our case the underlying factor is guilt. Guilt over the fact that his wife died and he was not able to save her. <br />
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He has guilt, but he is not a bad person. If he lost a leg would it be acceptable to leave him? His is a psychological situation. Does that make a difference? What if the person gets help for it?<br />
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intimacy --> sex<br />
problem = no intimacy = no sex is <br />
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That's my take on things.

I say if u can't just b with1" then b a cdang monkey n swing. But don't leave"us" out in the dark. We have a rite to no weither our(others) rt messing around or not!

I suppose in my marriage the absence of sex is a symptom of my wife's unhappiness that I got her an iPhone. And after she asked for it, and received it, she then complained about the bill. We can afford it, so that wasn't the issue. During the same conversation she complained about our purchase of a car six years ago and whether it was a good deal. I believe she is so tightly wound about finances that it impacts her views on life. But sex with a spouse is free.

pbjar............i knew of a woman who all she ever spoke about was finances..... cost of this /that..... how cant afford thisor that etc etc drove me nuts! to sit there and try to have a conversation with her....

What is one to make of a marriage which, though peppered with emotional infidelity ( and physical infidelity with one person, second is denied), cannot dissolve feelings of connected mutual (read: for the kids??) partnership. My distrust and reevaluation of our wildly divergent political stances have created an initial re-distancing. His brutal job has encouraged stress, fatigue, and "ships passing in the night" scenarios. Adding my hormonally-induced libido issues, the result for me is a great deal of concern about the solvency/viability of our marriage. He patiently abides. A difficult hurdle to overcome, when opportunity and interest do not mesh. Is this a sign of a larger problem? Or a bump in the road. Honestly, at this time, I could lean either way. However, we have three beautiful children, who we both adore, who did not sign up for this. Anyone with similar scenarios?

"Most dysfunctional marriages (whatever the cause of the dysfunction) usually result in the cessation of sexual ex<x>pression. " - IMO, that is a universal truth, no matter the reason for the dysfunction the result is the same: lack of sexual ex<x>pression in the marriage/partnership.<br />
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"We ILIASM people often start trying to deal with just the lack of sexual ex<x>pression rather than the whole situation." - That is also a true and very relevant statement. We come here thinking "if I could just get my sex life revived, everything would be okay". We are so focused on the lack of sex, we are blind to the dysfunctions that exist within the relationship. All the ugliness and misery of the dysfunctional relationship is hiding behind the sexlessness issue. <br />
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Ultimately, the lack of sexual ex<x>pression is the big red flag that indicates: IT'S OVER. <br />
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And the only thing left is the two awful choices: to stay or to go.

Excellent post Baz, and many excellent contributions. Thanks to you all.<br />
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Sexual ex<x>pression, specifically it’s dysfunction, is the problem that has brought the vast majority of us here. But it is not THE problem. It is a symptom.<br />
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The problem originates in the fundamental goals of a marriage, or relationships for that matter. The understanding of LOVE ITSELF. <br />
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That special feeling we call love. How can we define it? We don’t know what it looks like, but we know it when we see it. We can’t make it happen, but we all want it. Further complicating it’s manifestation in our lives…. It takes two.<br />
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When we fall in love, we want certain feelings from it, and equally importantly, we want to give certain feelings to the one we love. We all have that fundamental goal at the beginning. The dysfunction arises when one looses sight of that goal, becomes intentionally or unintentionally neglectful of providing that special feeling to the one we love. We want that feeling, we know that providing that feeling is the key to receiving it, but it stops anyway, That is the paradox.<br />
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Life’s rewards are commensurate with your efforts. No efforts – no reward. <br />
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What exactly creates that special feeling varies a bit from person to person, and more so between the genders. Certainly things like; trust, caring, respect, compassion, kindness, security, appreciation, safety, comfort, affection, understanding and forgiveness top the list. Also just as necessary, is the desire to explore and uncover your partner’s wants, needs and their own specific desires, in order to fulfill them, and provide that special feeling.<br />
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The ex<x>pression of those feelings, the way we give what our partner craves, and in turn, hope and expect to receive what we crave, is the dynamic of love. <br />
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Yes it is said that sex is the glue that binds a relationship together. Because, it is an ex<x>pression of those feelings. But in itself, does not make the relationship. Thus the divorcing couple that has sex right until the end, or even after D day. Fun? Sure or it wouldn’t happen. Solve the problem of dysfunctional love? Never. Fulfilling? It’s just physical gratification. Just sex for the sake of sex. <br />
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This is why it is so hard once one partner has lost the desire to nurture love, to ever be able to repair the marriage. It can happen with or without sex.<br />
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Life provides lessons in all things, particularly adversities. Most of us are here seeking these lessons. Most of us will not repair that dysfunctional love, and broken marriage. Once only one is putting in the effort, the odds are pretty low. Sad but true.<br />
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If we are attentive students, these lessons will enable us to find our path in the future. Not surprisingly, those that have been through the adversity and pain of dysfunctional love, and learned these lessons, and find their paths coming together, make excellent partners to share that journey together…. The journey to happily ever after.<br />
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I count myself among the fortunate ones here. To have found another survivor, now armed with the knowledge to find her path, our paths now joined as we journey together. I rejoice that each of our beams of light became strong again, reaching straight to heaven, and now merged into one, amazingly intense beam of light. <br />
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I hope you all find your path.

Hope you don't mine me saving this. Naturally you'll get the credited for writing it. if it's a problem then let me know and I'll remove it.
Thanks.

Anything I write in here is for the use of the membership, and I don't need an acknowledgement if you want to use some of it.

** Of course lack of sex is a symptom. But it's also a direct problem. Maybe that's the paradox? **<br />
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I don't think that's what the author meant. I think she meant, Why is it that loving and perfectly FUNCTIONAL marriages often lose sexual energy? I agree that this happens often, so I guess I disagree with the ILIASM consensus that waning of sexual interest signals marital dysfunction as a rule.<br />
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JG

Obviously, during my journey in SM, I asked myself, "Is there anything else about my spouse that is annoying to me other than her low libido?" Honestly, I did not find anything that I disliked intensely. A distant second was that she seemed to not take most things in life too seriously, and easily accepted life as it was offered to her (except the hubby's advances), i.e., she did not seem to have strong feelings about anything. In the converse direction, too, there aren't many intense complaints. She rightly points out that I am a perfectionist and that causes me some misery. It's not that I do not have negative thoughts about her, but all of it is directly related to the SM. ILIASM is very confident of more sinister serpents always hidden behind a SM, but I have not found any deadly ones thus far. OK, so she snores a little, and, by her account, so do I.

I now realise that my husband and I both had issues with sex and it was on the wane before our wedding. Of course sex usually fades away as a couple approach divorce and it is a symptom of relationship breakdown but what of the many cases here where it was problematic all along and limps on for decades?<br />
It is often about power and control, passive aggression and resentment.<br />
My husband associated sex with secrecy and being forbidden so I did not appeal as he was meant to do it with me.<br />
A psychiatrist told me that many couples have very little sex - they just presume that everyone is doing it often. Cold comfort.

Awesome post man! You really hit on something that we all need to contemplate.

Get ready for Mr. Curiosity to swoop in here and educate us about the statistics of all the divorcing couples who are still having sex before and after their court date -- like as if a different type of crazy offers any direction on how sane people should conduct themselves. <br />
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I hate saying this but the lack of sex is probably a deal breaker for me too. I was tolerating a lot of bullshit. If my wife was smart, she could have faked it long enough to keep me dangling until it suited her to surprise me with divorce papers. I would be too naive to know any different. I really can do well enough with vanilla sex. <br />
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Heck, I hate my wife's guts now. Most of my feelings towards her are vengeful but I still want to bang her over and above all other women. I know it will never happen as long as either of us are breathing. There is no hope in hell of us reconciling in any honest way but I get dreams of banging my wife in the afterlife. I am hoping that I can get over that. <br />
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Before I found EP, I was reading bullshit Love Languages books. At that time, if she made an about-face and said: " Sugar Pie, I am so sorry about how I made you suffer in the past. I do not love you anymore -- you know that but I want us to stay for the kids at all costs. I would be willing to pity-**** you a few times a week until the kids turn 18 years old. Would that work for you? " I would probably take her up on that offer. All she would have to do is lift her skirt and I would cave. <br />
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I would probably do an internet search and fill my head with professionally-endorsed bullshit. I would read bullshit about diminishing libido in old age. I would probably be deluded into believing that once the kids had moved out of the house that I would no longer want intimacy. <br />
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Thank God for ILIASM on EP and all of you folks for telling the truth. <br />
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Refusers had better get together and start their own online support group because in a decade or so, we on EP will be a force that will revolutionize the marital world. The bells of freedom will ring. Mark my words. There will be a day where a first refusal in marriage will be treated the same way as a raised fist is now treated: no excuses.

I kind of agree, and interesting discussion. From what I understand, the evidence for any causation between the sex and the relationship goes bothways. I particularly loathe the presumption that the sexual dearth has to be caused by a relationship thing because that's the immediate justification - all the "if only" excuses. If only you knew/did/etc. THEN I'd make love. BS (in some cases).<br />
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I'd certainly attest to the lack of sex spilling over into threatening the core of the marriage, and for me the showstopper has always been - not the lack of sex - but the unwillingness to either understand or negotiate properly to help me get what's important to me. I'm committed to the converse, but not if it's not mutual - and that is the end of the marriage if there's no resolution - because it isn't a marriage in my book.

BAZ,<br />
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Your point is right on. Regardless of the original reasons marital dysfunction, sex will ultimately suffer as the relationship issues pile up. <br />
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Most marital issues will begin with communication problems about, secrets, fears, anger, just fill in the blank. Left unchecked, they fester until they have morphed into intimacy killers. Partners that do not address and communicate these issues, seek to resolve these issues, will ultimately end up in an SM or something very close to it.<br />
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There is no one size fits all for how we got here. I do agree that sex is the symptom of a larger problem.

I'll give an "Amen" chorus to this idea. It took me until even after I was gone to realize (or was it just "admit") all the things that were wrong in my marriage.<br />
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However, like VB & P, I don't just see it as a "canary in the coal mine", I see it as a dealbreaker.<br />
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Princess SexualCreatureFirst

I agree wholeheartedly that lack of sex is a symptom in a dysfunctional marriage. It took me years to figure that out, though. I thought I was just losing desire as I got older (not even forty at the time?!). It seems more like denial to me. Who wants to admit they feel so ill toward their partner that they don't want to be physically intimate with them? I knew I didn't want him, but it has been difficult for me to pinpoint the reason why. Extreme emotional abuse. Difficult to identify, though, for me, as friends and family didn't see it that way. It has taken me years, and the kids out of the house, to see it for what it is. Now, with help from all of you, I am making plans to exit, and find the love I need.

Baz, yes I agree too. I guess I've never thought about lack of sex as lack of sexual ex<x>pression. Just like all the other things in (this marriage) not allowed to voice my opinion and have it validated. Ha, now I think, why did I bother to feel I needed his validation for my opinions. (sorry for the rant!) The marriage has had many forms of ex<x>pression control.... you are so right. Thanks for the insight.S

I agree that is a symptom of a larger issue. I have spent many hours in therapy, read a ton of books, communication, and even tried the bacon scented candles. Nothing ever solved the real issue. Hell, nothing ever scratched the surface of the real issue. Sometimes, as in my case, the spouse has no desire for sex with the partner. I wish I could figure out what killed the desire, because that is the real issue.<br />
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The reality is my spouse would be happily screwing someone else if I was out of the picture. I am just not a desirable prospect for copulation compared to other males in this world. I get it....loud and clear.

japangal: Yes, I have that book although I have not read it. There is something to the line you quoted too. Might make sense.<br />
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Guess I need to read the book!

Bazzar is correct.<br />
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Rendered down to it's basic level, as I have learned from this 5 years of marriage (oh was I disgustingly naive at age 48 about where I would eventually end up) is this:<br />
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- I married for love and intimacy. To be cherished. To my mind, marriage was to be the beginning of a lifetime of growing and maintaining that love and sexual intimacy. <br />
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- He (as evidenced by words and deeds) married for companionship and material comfort. <br />
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One wedding, two different reasons for showing up.<br />
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Not going to work in the long run.

** In ILIASM, we are addressing a symptom. That of the lack of sexual ex<x>pression. ** <br />
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One thing that's virtually never acknowledged on this board is that sometimes it really is just the sex. There are systemic forces within long-term marriages that push in the direction of less desire and less sexual ex<x>pression. Of course there are many exceptions, but they don't invalidate the principle. <br />
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I highly recommend the book Mating In Captivity for a discussion of this phenomenon. The author is a world-renowned clinical psychologist and her writing and intelligence just sparkle -- head and shoulders above anything else in the self-help department. She raises the question: Why is it that the sexual energy often dissipates in emotionally close, connected and loving long-term relationships? And answers it with thoughtful ideas about the nature of marriage and of sexual passion. One of my favorite lines in the book: "Lack of desire in a loving marriage is not a problem to solve, but a paradox to manage."<br />
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JG