Sex Bartering

A major obstacle that I am having is coming to grips with accepting my wife as a person that does not want sex. Or maybe it is just accepting that she does not want sex with me. As I mentioned before I have no perspective of being in a long term relationship so I have assumed all of these years that women just don't want sex after they have landed their husband.

Joining EP has been very cathartic for me. I am replaying old events and developments and understanding them differently than before. The experience of reading other folks stories, posting here combined with therapy and finally telling a few real life folks about my situation has really allowed me to see my situation in a different light.

One of the recurring themes throughout our sexual life has been what i've come to call "Sex Bartering." Sex Bartering is exactly as it sounds, one party to the marriage makes a deal to perform some sexual act in exchange for something that they want. In my case it is always some type of masage or other non sexual, physical act that she wishes to have performed. In the past I have accepted this as my gateway to sex of any kind (even though it usually isn't actual sex or oral sex that I receive) because I have been so desperate.

The transaction typically goes down like this:

We are lying in bed at bed time. Perhaps I make an effort to initiate and she will say something such as "if you give me a back rub i'll jack you off". Just like that. Not flirty at all, but more like we are negotiating a business deal. As a deprived, desperate man, I have accepted my role as a John and traded the back rub for the hand job countless times over the years.

To make matters worse, 50% of the time I give the rub (again I would do this freely with no obligation from her if she'd ask) and then she requests a "rain check" on her half of the bargain. "I'm just so tired and now i'm so relaxed."

It never occured to me that this was strange or unusual before, but I have begun to see that this is a clear indication of her lack of interest in sex with me. I have to give consideration for her to want to touch me? I also see clearly that this is a way for her to avoid actual sex.

Correct me if I am wrong, but in a normal, healthy relationship it seems that this type of "Sex Bargaining" should not occur. It seems that a wife would want to touch her husband. This happened last night and I weakly accepted the bargain. I was desperate. I felt ashamed afterward as if I had visited a prostitute.

I am slightly embarrassed to share this, but I do think your feedback on this particular topic would be valuable to me in my journey of understanding.
AGoodCatch AGoodCatch
31-35, M
13 Responses Aug 6, 2011

I agree with an above statement that sex bartering should be a fun thing. It should not be one sexual thing exchanged for a non sexual thing. Has she tried counseling with you at all to figure out why she us the way she is? My husband will never go, cause I've tried in the Past but now my marriage is ending, but maybe she would want to go? Or at least give you some answers.

If you have not tried counseling, why not? If you have not tried talking to her in a calm way, why not? You will decide what you are willing to stay for. You will decide if you should leave. Read others, think about your situation, and try communication. Then your decision will be obvious.

Personally, I don't advise playing any sort of retaliatory games with her. She is what she is. Is she a truly evil, cold-hearted, demonic and cruel woman? I doubt it . . . you wouldn't still be there if that were the case.<br />
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She is a screwed up human being as are most of us. Her particular type of being screwed up is playing havoc with YOU - and that is what is important. Getting your own back or punishing her is very unlikely to give you anything but a fleeting sense of satisfaction . . .<br />
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Your journey in ILIASM is progressing very well. You are learning about sexless marriage and you are finding your own truths. When you are ready, you will take whatever actions are right for you. Trust yourself and do not rush the process. It will take you time to reach the decisions you need to reach. <br />
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You will no doubt be experiencing the pain, the uncertainty and the doubt we all feel. There will probably be a large dose of guilt in there too if you decide to leave. These feelings are NORMAL. <br />
Trying to avoid them by painting the other person as a "bad person" rarely works for long . . . <br />
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You may need (as most of us do) the impetus of anger to get you moving. But afterwards, anger destroys YOU - and has no effect on your spouse except to complicate and aggravate an already difficult situation.<br />
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So continue to post here, to read here, and to "tread your own path". {{{Hugs}}}

To at least put my comment straight in the minds of others, I was thinking of a NEW sexual bartering play partner and a game of poker. :)

Ahhh! PrincessStripPoker!! I get it . . . !! And I'm guessing there are lots of guys here who would LOVE to be invited to THAT game!!

Im in.

Thank you for the kind comment. I truthfully don't feel the need to cause her any pain or to retaliate. Truth is that I love this woman. She has lots of other great attributes. But judging by your recent post, you underatand this.

Because of her continued non-appreciation from me IM other areas though I do fantasize about her seeing my value.IM retrospect after I'm gone.

I've decided though spending much time on these thoughts is indeed a waste of time. People are what they are and all I can do is move forward on my own and their future is up to them.

1 More Response

Jeez, somebody has this game all screwed up! Sexual bartering should be fun!!! :)<br />
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Princess WannaPlayAGameOfCards

Why, oh why, do you have to demean yourself so? When I give massages to my wife (very rarely nowadays, because she feels too guilty to ask) I make it very clear ahead of time that I am doing this only to comfort her and have absolutely no expectation of intimacy, nor can I accept an offer of intimacy. In any relationship, no matter how intimate or intense, you stand alone as an individual soul. You cannot afford to destroy the dignity of that soul. It's worth more than a lifetime of good sex.

Men and women are different. Men have strong desires in sex that are evoked by some biological mechanism, but women, i mean not all women have the desire to have sex.

And for those women we have a plethora of frigid men in every size, shape and flavor.

Men and women are different, but not because of women's lower desire for sex. You are dead wrong about that.

It wasn't until your comments that I realised that my own husband does this. In a slightly different manner. He's a little bit more subtle about it. More courtesan than prostitute style exchange. But it's bullshit this bartering for sex. <br />
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wtf?<br />
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It's so funny how in this group things in my relationship seem normal until I see the exact same behaviours in someone else's marriage. And then I see how much of the crazy they are.

I hate the rain checks that are never allowed to be redeemed. I think I could paper a skyscraper with mine.

Yes, your wife is a prostitute and you are her john. <br />
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Since you mentioned normal and healthy, I suggest that you inject a bit of neo-Darwinism into your analysis. Try to imagine you and your wife living in a cave. What would happen? People like your wife would either die of cold or they would find somebody they loved -- that is not you. This sexless limbo would not last. It is neither natural nor healthy. <br />
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God wired us that way.

why not share? I mean, sounds as though you hit rock bottom. May as well grab a shovel and start digging.<br />
My friend, what you have/are experiencing is humiliating and emasculating. Free yourself asap. What she is doing is WRONG. WIth that in mind it is your duty I think to bring this behavior to her attention and call her on it. Just like you did not know any better she may or may not understand that what is going on is ****** up. Chances are she knows exactly but the benefit of the doubt will not hurt. I mean, really, what do you have to lose at this point?

"Just like you did not know any better she may or may not understand that what is going on is ****** up."

This is a REALLY good point. If she grew up in a family where this was the norm ("you mow the lawn and I'll have sex with you") she too may feel it is the norm.

she is like my mother...<br />
leave her, otherwise you'll eventually cheat on her..<br />
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could she be worried about something?

freshness WTF? She is like your mother??? why are you and mother bartering back rubs for hand jobs???



That is a warped perspective "AGoodCatch".<br />
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But don't feel bad about it, whatever has been your experience of "normal" is just that. Your perspective simply makes you uninformed, and the fact that you are starting to inform yourself will remedy this perception matter.<br />
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I could go on about what is 'normal', but there seems no point. The critical issue for you is getting OUT of this dysfunctional situation. You can address the 'what is normal' stuff later (it won't be too hard, believe me, and you will learn WAY quicker once out of this dysfunctional situation too)<br />
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Mate, exit strategy.<br />
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Plenty of time to learn what is normal (and, joy oh joy - participate in it) later. Besides, asking what is 'normal' in this forum is really going to test a lot of peoples long term memories !!! lol.<br />
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Get out. The rest will look after itself.<br />
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Tread your own path.

just my thoughts. u shouldn't have to barter for sex with ur wife. she either doesn't love u, or has a physical or psychological problem. best wishes.