Could This Help?

This was an article I read in the London Times. I was struck by it:
‘Question: I am married with two children and my wife has told me she no longer wants sex with me, or anyone else, but has no wish to explore the reasons why. I think this relates to her body image. She has put on some weight and will no longer go swimming with the children because I think she does not want to be seen. I have never commented on this to her. Her lack of desire is affecting our relationship – at least from my side – and I find it a depressing situation. I have suggested that we try ‘no strings’ massages to see if this will increase her libido but to no avail.’
‘Answer: There is no such thing as a ‘no string’ massage with a man who is desperate to have sex. And when a woman is acutely body conscious, the last thing she wants to do is lie naked on a bed while her husband oils her up like a seal and attempts to knead life back into her expired libido.
The psychologist Cindy Meston has studied the link between female body image and sexual satisfaction and her research shows that physical and emotional confidence mediates female arousal. A woman has to feel sexy and since men rarely notice subtle changes in their partner’s appearance, I suspect that ‘some weight’ might be an underestimation on your part.
It is good that you have not nagged her to lose weight because there may be something physically wrong. In midlife, loss of libido and weight gain can be an indication of underlying illness or depression, so your wife needs to see her doctor. When it comes to issues such as weight, evidence shows that attempting to change a partner can do more harm than good. Instead, the most beneficial change occurs when one or both partners in the relationship perceive the others as being able to self-regulate. Now, clearly your wife is failing to do that at the moment, but if you could shift the focus from your needs to hers, that might change.
Weight gain and sexual withdrawal are very effective sabotage mechanisms, so I suspect your wife is angry about something. Or she may simply feel unloved and unappreciated.
All women yearn ‘to be uniquely desired’ according to Dr Marta Meana, a clinical psychologist. By this, she means that your wife does not want to be with a man who just wants to have sex. She wants to be with a man who ‘ just wants to have sex with her, and her alone’. Menna’s in depth interviews with women also reveal that women frequently fantasise about being ravished or found irresistible, a theory that is supported by the runaway success of the unreadable erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey which pretends to be about submission and domination but is really about the unending female fascination with a man’s desire to unequivocally possess his woman.
Tragically, marriage and commitment are the ultimate enemy of that kind of passion and intensity because, paradoxically, the very things that make people want a long-term relationship (safety, closeness) are the things that kill novelty and sexual desire. When people get too comfortable in a relationship they start taking each other for granted and, gradually, they stop making the effort to show each other that they care.
You and your wife almost certainly need relationship counselling, but in the meantime, see if you can try and coax her out of the unhappy place she is in.
Put your arms around her and tell her that you think she is beautiful. Make her laugh. Take photographs of her and use them as screensavers on your computer. Go for walks with her and hold her hand. Convince her that you care about her, that you want her to be happy and that you cannot live without her.
There is no quick fix to complex relationship problems but I guarantee that small gestures of love and attention will be a far more effective trigger for your wife’s libido than a ‘no strings’ massage’
Suzi Godson, the Times

Several things struck me in this article.
1) I’ve met several well sexy blokes on EP who have this issue. I found it hard to imagine there is any woman who wouldn’t want them to make love to them… repeatedly. To one of these men, I offered the advice of a ‘no strings massage’…. He blocked me or left EP…. Clearly that wasn’t the best advice. When some of you talk about sex, it is with such passion and skill that maybe the problem does lay deep within your women’s psyche.
2) Many of the men I’ve talked to with this have young children. So may have exhausted wives who feel like they are just surviving, balancing work, kids, home and the rest. When I was in this situation I ate. Sugar…. Too much, just to stay afloat. Then my dad died, I ate for comfort and I drank to forget. I felt too guilty to make my hard working husband have the kids so I could exercise. But then the kids got older (and more capable of looking after him!), and a new sports centre opened. The fitter I got, the more selfish I got. I think quite rightly I became more selfish with my time, e.g. having a bit of it for me. I prioritise exercise, as much as I can (and in a balanced way). I lost a bit of weight. Your size’s are different to ours but I think I went from a US size 14 to a 10. More importantly I gained so much more energy, and started a new hobby I never thought I’d be able to do. As for sex, I went from my once a week ‘wifely duty’ to having a massive sex drive. I’ve got my mojo back. That’s lead to another set of problems, but that’s life I guess.
3) And as for the: ‘’wants to be with a man who ‘ just wants to have sex with her, and her alone’ ‘’ and the ‘’unending female fascination with a man’s desire to unequivocally possess his woman’’. Hell Yes! Note to self, I will never change. This is me, it’s who I am it’s what I need. Now just need to find that man!
4) Everyone is different, I am not a psychologist. I wondered if the article would help. I apologise if I have offended anyone. If you disagree with Suzi Godson, do contact her at The Times…. Good luck all.

KatarinaVonSweet KatarinaVonSweet
36-40, F
16 Responses May 24, 2012

Wow! Thanks for posting this. It is a great article. I also appreciate your analysis of it.
As you say, people are different so this is not the be all and end all truth of the matter but it definitely provide a valuable insight and food for thought.

I often see Suzi Godson's articles but missed this one. I'm sure it contains a kernel of truth. My wife has often complained about her appearance - and her weight. I have always reassured her I find her attractive. It's true she has put one or two pounds on - we all do. But she still has an hour-glass figure, and would be the envy of most women of her age and younger.

Good story, as the saying goes..."Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Change familkies to marriages. Sex is., Sometimes the 'Elephant in the room'. In mine it happens, sometimes, but never, ever talked about.

Thanks for sharing. Funny someone actually blocked you because they didn't like you sharing advice with them? I suppose there are all kinds on here?

I agree 100% - pushing someone to do something they are acutely aware of could very well create more resentment. There are ways to nudge people into things than overtly stating as much. Creating an environment where she feels special and/or adored will go a lot further.

This article just came right for one of my friends to share with. I will show him immediately!

If women could make love to themselves,then they'd still get mad,fat and have nothing to do with this condition,and if a woman says the contrary,then she's using sex as a 'Weapon' or as a 'Tool'......and that's the real secret of 'Sexless' marriages......they're usually angry at someone,more often so,themselves.Most men would do anything to make their ladies happy,but once you've been shunted in the evening,poked in the ribs at night,pushed out of bed in the morning......and mocked in front of your friends at a dinner party......then the initial effort and enthusiasm tends to die.I'm not a football fan,nor very sporty,but if a guy hails for the ball so that he can score a goal....but no-one passes him the ball...he slows down,stops running,walks on the field,then finally he'll sit down and watch.....but as soon as the ball comes his way,he'll run,jump,sommersault and blast that ball into the back of the net with such spectacular flare that even the slow-motion sequence will look like it's been tricked........and usually the person that passes that golden ball is some other woman........she's spotted him a mile away,depressed,sad,probably alone just with a peck on the cheek,he'll come alive,shine and perform wonders.We men are like show dogs,throw us a bone and we'll run for it,stroke us and we'll yap like puppies and wag our tails,give us a few treats and we'll follow you women anywhere,you say,"Sit",we sit,you say,"Show me your paw",and we'll sit up and give you our all.So I really see many Cinderellas getting their Princes,then they throw away their glass shoes and expect the same attention,we give it....but it's not the same as when she's wearing those shoes,glass shoes makes us horny....SEE!

I dont know.... i hate painful shoes

Usually if they're painful,it's because they are worn to impress,and not to be practical.I love a woman in need for her to strut around in high-heels,just the way she walks is enough!

What struck me about this article was that you said, "The fitter I got, the more selfish I got." I believe everybody needs "me time." <br />
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There is a health aspect to this. When you have alone time, you are able to handle the time with your husband and children. It is actually in everybody's best interest to have that time to yourself.<br />
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I do not think that it is selfish.

just felt guilty for any time i inflicted my brood on another person, i just did. But you are right I helped no one...

Wow! Thanks.

"...erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey which pretends to be about submission and domination but is really about the unending female fascination with a man’s desire to unequivocally possess his woman...."<br />
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Nailed that!

As my wife and I work to rebuild our sex life this is certainly food for thought. And, it points out things that I can do better - something that many men do not want to hear. But then, I can't just play the victim card and expect the world to change for me, can't I?<br />
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Have a bit to think about now.

I hope it goes well for you, some things are worth fighting for

But you have to point out if it's about 'Manipulation' and sophisticated 'Weaponery' or not only will you be able to play your card,but it'll be too late - Game Over!
All this negotiating only gets you a few sessions on her terms when sex is no big's no big deal! Try taking away the house,leave the car in the street to rust,and lock all your money away in a box that she can see but can't touch........oh! all of a sudden I can see ******* popping out like daisies on a spring morning....flashing breasts and big lipsticked smile are coming my way.......what a surprise!!!
If we men wern't so soppy,women wouldn't be able to get away with murder....yes!...MURDER! our libidos are being,have been murdered for thousands of years....otherwise any form of alternative eroticism would not exist,prostitution would be a dying activity.Men ned to strut around more,have visible hard-ons and grab what they need sexually,(No not rape or violence,but to be a shameless man is a wonderful feeling).

Cinderella was a poor girl who was abused,her 'Savior' just happened to own the whole Kingdom and was as rich as ****,he used the CIA of his times to find her,and gave her no choice once he did......who would turn an offer like that down anyway?
So when women,in general,don't get the palace,the servants,the opulance and riches.....well,they tend to use the 'Holy Grail' as barter,so men drop to their knees,(They still do when asking for hands in marriage),and promise anything just to get a little whiff of that succulent delice,that sweet,sweet bright pink lotus........and it BLOWS them away everytime!
You've already fought off the dragons,climbed the treacherous cliffs of death,crossed the infested waters and lakes renowned for their huge underwater monsters that lurk in the deep,you've charmed the Fairy Godmother;and layed petals of the rarest flowers that anyone can find......all this so that you can taste this ultimate reward......then she says,"Oh I think I have a migrane coming on",or "I really don't think I should leave my friend alone do you?".......and if he's further down the path of unison after years of 'Doing The Right Thing',then there won't be any politeness,just a scowl,a very dirty glance....probably a few daggers in the form of extremely sharp insults,both to his face and behind his back.....separate rooms,no cuddles,pecks instead of kisses.....and she'll cut the saddle off his big white Stallion and have him walk beside it.
Only then he'll realize that from now on,he'll have to pay for one way or another....until it kills way or another!

And of course, all "letters from the readers" are totally genuine, and are in no way designed to simply provide the author with a medium to push their personal agenda or have a grubby commercial imperative.<br />
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Heaven forbid.<br />
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Tread your own path.

Fair point. But if it makes you feel better I dont think anyone buys the Times (which i think is the oldest newspaper still in print) for this column. Its a tiny part. And the Times loses money anyway....... so if they had a grubby commercial imperative they've failed. But yes, everyone must tread their own path.

I wish I could ask the author waht you ten do if she gets mad at you for touch, for purchasing anything, or for paying her compliments as:<br />
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Touch is only when she wants to touch me - usually connected to some past memory - should I try to conjure any imagery I am incorrectly remembering and likely subject to some criticism of my self/<br />
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If I purchase - I waste money as she has all she wants and unless she thought of it I am only adding to the collection of stuff to sell at a garage sale. (This is technically correct...I wooed her by purchasing gifts when I perceived she was angry...the resulting Pavlovian response is that there are two china cabinets full) <br />
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Candles and romantic stuff......not a chance ...after 22 years she can see though that to a rejection before I could even blow a candle out.....<br />
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She is pleased with the no sex position...she feels this is "normal" ...she lives in an alternate reality and like the Cheshire cat may appear smiling in a tree today and the surface of the pond tomorrow. Either position is exclaimed to be the "Norm" and hence a moving target system is established. <br />
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The author is talking about normal ebb and flow of sexual tension within a marriage....not years of pathological refusal and an altered belief structure. I'tll work in ebb.....not in "past it"....

I'm sorry that this is happening to you. It seems deeply unfair (to say the least). I hope the future brings some happiness to you, if not with this person then with someone who will treat you with respect.

Totally agree.....I know exactly what this feels like....mind you,I never buy gifts,I light the candles for others,touch is often met with that expression that you give to a dog when it jumps up on the sofa,that condescending tone that instantly transforms your hardened **** into a blob that's softer than jelly at a summer Church garden party......her head will twist and the sight of the cucumber sandwhiches after 2 hours in the scorching sun comes to mind as you look down at your pathetic attempt to revive the 'Spark'..........didn't Chaucer write about someone's wife being a **** amongst the travellers? .....well I wouldn't mind if she was........"Barman!"

With all due admiration's impossible to understand,having a beautiful gun,loading it up everyday,aiming it.....but never being able to fire it because the person who's face is on the target has the firing pin......and she'll remind you everyday.......these situations and contexts don't happen,they're planned,meticulously planned and executed,we're not victims here my dear......we're CASUALTIES!

I'm in the UK and read this when it came out last weekend. I thought the last piece of advice in it was good - making your wife realise that you love and care for her by paying loving attention to her. But I thought the tone of the rest of it very unsympathetic to the husband. I'm sure he didn't want to 'oil her up like a seal' - just try to get close to his wife. I thought it made him seem selfish and obsessed just with sex - and this is unfair as everyone on ILIASM will understand. Being overweight makes people not like their bodies or sex but it is something that has to be tackled - I married a slim man who rapidly became very heavy and has been 60lbs overweight for most of our married life - bad for his heart health, bad for his ED, and a huge turn-off for me. I never nagged him about it but I wish I had said something earlier. It has destroyed our sex life because he dislikes his body so much. Suzy Godson can be funny but a bit caustic at times.

Thats fair enough. It does make her out to be a victim somehow, and that is unfair. But he doesnt seem obsessed with sex to me, I think he seems like he misses her and that he loves her very much.

Thanks for posting, I'm sure your intent was good, regret it is unlikely to help anyone here - or for that matter, the poster in the paper.<br />
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The advice is pretty much out of the standard relationship crapola, a real Augean stable. And unfortunately, is going to maximise the pain and wasted time for this poor sap if he takes it.<br />
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Because it's going down the if-onlys, how you've got to be patient, blah blah. The only good thing about it is recommending relationship counselling, but it's hard to see how this would help - it takes two of them to tango.<br />
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Regretably this kind of advice is all to common. What they should be screaming is MAYDAY - this is unacceptable - she doesn't love you and you are no longer married. Anyone who unilaterally cuts off the sex and says she isn't interested in finding out why is pursuing an agenda which does not include you.<br />
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And she has said quite clearly - he'd better believe her - she no longer wants sex and is not interested in changing that. So all the suggestions are worth absolutely nothing, and are wasting his time & money.

It only reminded me of me... if that makes sense. Everyone is different and a truely complex issue it is. I think sex and love can be two separate things (for some people not me). Sometimes its worth taking positive steps to fight for something. If you fail, well at least you can hold your head up high and think you tried everything, and I guess with kids involved makes it harder. I was of the school that made me lie back and think of england once a week... but then I wasnt deeply unhappy, just didnt have a sex drive. But that can and did change, for me at any rate. Everybody's different.

Very happy that we're different and that different things work for different people. Yet people here are not the ones who are not fighting - they've most likely done unreasonable things to stay in terrible situations which are harming them. I'm lucky in the sense that I've come through the far side and been able to reinvent my marriage, but it wasn't through the type of advice that's in the column. If you want to read more here and understand the nature of the problem and why people are somewhat scornful of the traditional punditry, by all means browse. And the most important thing this board can help with is gaining clarity on the position and stop the lying about it. It is a marital emergency, and there's no "just" about it - it's what both parties are willing to do about it. In the article, she was not prepared to do anything - you were, to your credit.

It is definitely worth pondering over.


right back at you hon. Been awhile since I have seen you online. I missed you :)