And Another Therapist Says..

Thought I’d share some results from this week’s session. The subject was Duty Sex.

The Psychologist lady said “Let’s just assume that sex is not pleasurable for your wife and initiation on your terms is clearly very difficult for her. If so, when she has sex she is giving you a gift – something she does out of her love for you. Rather, you take it as an insult, as a negative.  Can you find a way to love it for the gift it is?”
Now to say no to that would mean I am letting my sense of entitlement to a sexual wife take precedence over her love for me. Which I think is wrong. But I said no anyway. Such is the desire for a woman who will slap my arse and order me to bed on her own.
But it is true thinking about it this way – as I have but it helped to hear it from her, does soften things a bit.  If I am going to stay married I have to initiate and accept her rather lame version of initiation as a good thing. And if I cannot get my head in this “gift” game – there is really no hope.
So I know it is a crummy proposition but I am going to give it a try – will make our time together better if nothing else.
51-55, M
11 Responses Nov 15, 2012

I'm not sure that many therapists are on the side of the "refused." Not from first hand experience but from first handed hearsay. If you found one that was on the side of the refused- fully- she/he would be priceless.
I even had regular doctors scoff and chide me telling me sex isn't the most important thing *shake of their head* *cluck of their tongue*..
I wish I knew about this website then. I would have jotted it down and handed them the slip before leaving the office. Telling them to look at it as "continuing their sex education."

As someone in a very low/no sex marriage of nearly 40 years, my perspective on "duty sex" is that whoever is "doing it" out of a sense of duty and not love/affection/desire has issues which are theirs (unless the partner is abusive in some way or unreasonably demanding like wanting sex morning/noon/afternoon/night - they have their OWN issues to deal with). I'm going to suggest a book "The Sex-Starved Marriage" that helped me understand my non-sexual wife. She read it, and for a while, things got a bit better. But it wasn't in her "nature" to be sexual, and -- in time -- she came up with some excuse to close the "candy store" permanently. And the last thing I want from my wife is her allowing sex out of a sense of "duty." God, how awful to think she HAD to FORCE herself to want me. I've lived with that reality for decades, and could never force myself upon her. The only person one can change is yourself, which is what I think the therapist is suggesting. Your attitude in terms of responding to her "duty" willingness. I would think, in a situation like this, that referring the two of you to a sex therapist who might help both of you find what might be a much more comfortable "middle ground." Good luck and be good to yourself in the process.

Yes --- I agree with you and thank you. I live in a swamp - quite y, I have found some sexual therapy help on line - but in terms of face to face we have to wing it bit here.

I selected after a few trials a woman psychologist that seems to get my issues pretty well. An in your face kind of person and that has been emboldening for me. We shall see if my wife finds her comforting or not.

In the end if we do not move to a better place than we were- then to so many of the thoughts in this post, I will slip back to "duty sex thought" - and then "entitlement thought" and then for me and for many of you, we know what is out there from our past experiences. If that is the path then there will be an end to this marriage.

I see life as a journey of steps, and in these step I will play a little mental game to get a bit higher up the ridge.

I wish you BOTH happiness and that wonderful "connection" that SHOULD exist between a husband and wife. When it does not, it is not good and can be very destructive. God bless!

So NWFLMan, you play whatever mental game is necessary with yourself (read delude) in order to continue to try and fix what is broken. Hopefully at some point in time (who knows when), this works and you don't have to trick yourself anymore. Your intent - that of staying in the marriage is your stated priority, yet your need is for loving sexual intimacy from an engaged partner. Do you have evidence to suggest you won't be playing this mental game with yourself for long? Or will it only lead to greater resentment?

I think I am good for the year I plan to stay anyway - and then we shall see.

When i give someone a gift...I'm generally REALLY excited to do so...I've thought about it...I've planned for it...because utmost in my mind is that I want them to LOVE it. I am anxious for them to unwrap it - I want to see the look on their face.

If this were her attitude about the "gift" wouldn't be in counseling. I think you need to define "gift".

Yes I hear you. And If I help her perhaps she can achieve what you and the rest of us in ILIASM give. The therapist takes a different tack. I am not saying this mental game is a forever thing either.

We are here because something is "bad broke." Why? well I have given up caring and blaming and remembering. I shall begin a new. I shall let go of this thing I have watched and learned to condition myself to hate - duty sex. Why? because to not do so means I may as well pick the divorce or sit and be miserable door right now. She needs a partner that is engaged and lifting and supportive- she is my wife, can I not let go and try to be that person for her? "She has a birth defect, a disease, has been injured" - whatever mental game I need to play for right now I shall play. Lest we give up all hope now. And I have chosen to not give up just yet.

For eight years, I did what you propose to do. I did it to excuse lack of intercourse and her lack of trying to make that possible (we had sex, what some would call just foreplay but it was what she would/could do). I didn't work for me. I wish you better luck with it.

A very important story to pin on ILIASM, in my opinion. My rough sense is that, of couples that are NOT having a dysfunctional marriage, quite a majority eventually work the marriage in this mode, once they survive 10 years of union. This raises an interesting possibility that two couples with identical libido mismatch can end up in very different places, depending on whether that so-called "gift" is acceptable to the high-libido partner or not. Whether you want to go back to a romping lifestyle or not, perhaps it's best to accept that even for a mutually loving couple in a perfectly healthy marriage, there will always be one person who craves the body (mind is assumed and implicit) of the other much more than the other way around. (Typically the male will crave the female's body more, but it has become politically incorrect to highlight that.) As Buddhism says, all craving is bondage, so the partner that gives in, or gives the "gift", is more "liberated", assuming she is not interested in cashing in on the gifts in other ways. If you are bothered by the fact that she is more free from bondage of the flesh than you are, sex with her will never be satisfying for you.

There is such a thin line in the dynamc as well. It is a turn on to be refused for a bit and to slowly lift you partner to willingness and then turn her/him on completely.

It is the "tun on completely" that we fall off the rails. If at the end of our effort we have a dead fish on our hands then the spiral starts and the stuff that might have added allure or even role play in the relationship is now a bridge too far.

I intend to try one last time to see if I can find the total life picture that can get her turned on completely - and in time come to me because she desires that feeling. No matter how we got here - if we desire to try we have to let go our pain and the trespasses of the past. I know for me if my wife underwent some miraculous catharsis - I'd let go the past and embrace the now.

MVC, you have described how I feel EXACTLY! Thank you.

That is a good point - it likely is more a male thing -- yet as a high sex drive male I suggest this is vitally important from the female side on occasion. It fundamentally underscores your desire for your man on your own terms to do this. For example I am not an early riser. I am slow to wake - but my wife is an early riser. Four or five times a year, it would ave been important to beneficial if she had woken me and taken the time and effort to bring me to full power. In return she gets swept off her feet ten times or more -- this is such a balancing act. Make no mistake most men vitally need to know their lover wants them. People work for what they want, give of themselves for what they want. That goes beyond simple initiation and I woudl suggest a woman's successful effort emboldens her as well making the union and individuals stronger for the effort.

I like these points. And I agree that it can be a great turn on for the gy if his woman takes charge at times. . . . ;)

mvc ---- I agree with everything you have written. You have described my journey completely and accurately as I assume many others and your own.

The therapist I think is simply saying. Something has to give if you want to save this. One of my roles is to "reset" - it took years for the duty sex thing to manifest in to the gaping wound it now is. That has to be closed before we can see with any chance of success what my wife can be with professional help.

I have a normal male sex drive but no, "getting refused a bit" is not a turn-on. Like all responsible parents bringing up sons in a dangerous world, my parents taught me never to second-guess or override the stated preferences of a woman in bed. Some of those stories end up being labeled spousal rape.

Excellent point Ulae. And the other side is, we raise our daughters to NOT do this. It is confusing, unfair, contrary and disrespectful for women to play "hard to get". "No" should mean NO! If you mean anything else, use different words . . . .

4 More Responses

Thanks everyone for your comments so far. My wife is generous in her gift to a point. The "I'll roll over" (so this ends faster) is still done from a tone of interest. Barely.

But if I want this marriage the I have to go with this - and so far I want this marriage - else i woudl have left.

I believe we do what we want. Granted the statement is sort of a semantic. People run n to burning buildings to save strangers, despite the pain fear and "I'd rather be in Philadelphia" - they want to do it so they do.

<p>I'm not fond of the Duty fr<x>ame, it restricts perspectives. If you can see it as an opportunity fr<x>ame to experience different things maybe, but have a mutally good time, that might be much more ecological.</p><p>If you give her feedback that nothing she does is going to be good enough, then she's almost certain to clam up. If you can explore without expectations on how she responds, you might be surprised that out of the quiet places, the tender touches, there can be some very nice places to be.</p><p>Of course, one or other or both of you may conclude after a while that this is not what they want, but I wouldn't reject it out of hand because at least it provides the opportunity to create some positive spirals.</p><p>All this is presuming that she is acting with love, compassion and a welcome for you as you are.</p>

How did the therapist respond when you said "no"?

She added it to the list of "me" I suppose. I told her I could happily do this as part of our recovery period. And it was me that raised the point that I own a bad dynamic as to allowing her initial efforts to be a positive - to hl42's point; creating a positive spiral is necessary if success is going to have any hope.

Im not sure about that my friend... They don't really think they are giving you a gift... they think they are doing you a favor and a big one!!
In my case, the little hope I have in therapy is for him to recover his sexual desire and enjoy making love with me again... I cant settle for les than that... Not anymore.

Take care my friend..

May I para-phrase ? The proposed solution is -

- that she undertakes the role of masturbatory aid. A live blow up doll for you to shoot into now and again -

Your choice.

Personal opinion, that would get real old, real quick.

Tread your own path.

Like! Gift, favor --- who cares a ****? I'd take neither from even a close friend year after year. What happens if she is toting up her charity credits and comes up one day and says "I want to adopt a baby, be my life partner as you promised?" Oh wait, my wife just did that, even without disbursing the "gifts" or "favors"...

Yes true it got old and lead to where I sit. But this part of the plan requires a bit of sucking up if she is to move to where I hope her to get. Dreaming - sure. But I intend to leave knowing I really tried with all I have to give.

"It is a process" LOL

Well...that's something, I guess.

But a gift grudgingly given...