Perhaps An Insight Into the Guy's Problem...

All of the stories here are all too familiar. What's frustrating is that they all reflect a fundamental change in the relationship early on in a marriage...which fortunately, is something I might be able to help out with. Many guys get married before they really understand what it is to PARTNER with someone. I'm not talking about the same-sex "partner", but the real joining and combining of lives that is absolutely necessary in a marriage. This kind of change takes a lot of courage to enter into - if you're not ready or aware of it. What typically happens is that within the first few years, the couple who has previously been on individual paths and decided to get married, now finds that they are having to be on the same path - and that means compromise, a lot of it. For many people, that kind of change becomes associated with a loss of the self. I had wanted to be a police officer, but my wife convinced me that a dangerous career was going to cause us problems together, so I gave that up. I no longer regret that, but it took time. The same went for her having to give up living in a big city to live a more suburban life to follow my job. In all of that, you can start losing your personal identity. Sex is an expression of identity, of the self, and it's best when you aren't thinking about change, aren't worried about bills, responsibilities, or whether or not the sheets you just purchased represent an emasculation. Married sex has baggage just like all sex does - but it's different baggage. For men, the loss of independence in life can be a bedroom killer. If they don't feel in control of their destiny any more, and they blame that on you, then why would they feel sexual? They don't . I'm not saying this is good, or that anyone should just lay down and never change. What I'm saying is that it's everyone's responsibility to recognize that change and compromise MAKE and DEFINE marriage. You don't stay married for 13 years without fights and disruptions, and you don't weather those times without compromises both big and small. The problem, then, is to remember that your sexuality, virility, and "manliness" is not an expression of your individuality or independence as much as it is two people in love sharing that moment, or just scratching an itch. For the guy, however, if effort is no longer being put into sex, if his partner isn't "showing off" as much, or both have become less-attractive to each other as a result of "relaxing" - you're no longer dating, so you don't have to try as hard, yeah? No. But that's a common pitfall. What can really help is to help your husband find and clarify the parts of his life that are still absolutely his - how he dresses, his routines, how he works out, what his job is, whatever... - and then show him how absolutely essential he is to the functioning of your family (with or without kids), then he can start building a solid sense of self and individuality within the context of the marriage partnership. We're babies for life, most of us, and we need to be told a lot of things to make us feel good about ourselves - not that we're pretty, but that we're strong, capable, your hero, and all of that. Once we lose the feeling of being the hero in the relationship, it's hard to get that back, and it's doubly hard to recover from it. Hope this helps. Good Luck
TheTreeIsMe TheTreeIsMe
36-40, M
95 Responses Feb 13, 2007

Amazingly insightful! I'm not sure I got it all the first time thru. How can I file this away for future reference?

Wow, your analysis was spot on for my experience. While dating, my husband's sexual appetites were voracious, and he loved to spend at least an hour with very intense foreplay. With marriage, his appetites diminished seriously and eventually pretty much disappeared. The few times we did get intimate, he could not achieve a full erection. Refused counseling, etc., saying he knew it would get better eventually. I put it off to his relationship with his highly manipulative mother, subconsciously transferring his defenses to her now to his wife. In every other respect he was a great husband, and I developed a deep attachment to my Wahl vibrator! But our lives became more independent, even separate vacations.

And then: 25 years later and out of the blue, HE decided that we should be doing more things together, including reinvigorating our sex lives. By this time I had rearranged my life to not need him. I resented his snapping his fingers for sex when he was ready and the thought was a big turn-off for me. Until...

While seething with resentment, I happened to come across the Taken In Hand web site, a place for committed married folks who enjoyed husband-dominant relationships. At first (feminist that I am) I was disgusted-- intellectually. But there was something powerful reacting in my libido to these stories. I let the concept steep for about a week until finally, with incredible anxiety, I confessed to my husband that I was drawn to the idea of surrender to his masculine authority, and shared the site with him.

I thought he would think me disturbed or sick. Not at all. He immediately embraced the concept 100%, after asking me many times if I was really really sure. Indeed I was. Our sexual relationship has been red-hot since then for both of us, and the passion has brightened every aspect of our lives, It's crazy, isn't it?

My friends would be aghast at my submission, but what I've found is that now that he is totally in control in our relationship I have given up nothing. He now makes decisions for me and us with my best interests at heart first. Where he might have resented my going away on a weekend retreat with a girlfriend, he now encourages me when he feels it is good for me. He carries my photo on his cell for the first time ever. Emotional walls have come tumbling down.

I'm convinced that joining in marriage to me -- a marriage of equals-- made him put up walls and be subconsciously defensive of the demands of the need to capitulate to the needs of the female: especially with the manipulative Mom history. Once the marriage was not of equals, but with him in a dominant role to my submission-- with equity of value -- EVERYTHING changed.

Not for everyone.

But I've never been happier, and even at age 61 never had such a vibrant and satisfying sex life. Wish it had happened years ago.

You must be the webmaster for that website. Great commercial, doubt this is true.

Silly you. The web site is UK based, I think. It's kinda dormant now. A more active community including the same theme is at, less skeevy than this site here but very real. And oh yeah, every single word is true. But I don't blame you for doubting me. I keep pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. And I'm writing this after ...gosh, a year from when I wrote this previous post. Better than ever.

Would you please define "skeevy" for this American?

Hey, I'm an American too, it's just my made up word for ... I don't know, this site is more into sex in a way that's kinda party-play kinky stuff. Skeevy! I'm more into living the life 24/7. Real life total power exchange, submissive to a dominant man with discipline, living this way at all times, every day, no exceptions.

OK...I get your meaning. But it strikes me as a little snobby. Like these peoples lives aren't serious because they aren't as "non-skeevy" as you. And, by the way if you have never been happier in your 61 years, why does your profile say you are 41-45?

Ha! When I first signed up here, ages ago, I distorted my profile for two reasons: one, absolute anonymity (I just celebrated my 104 birthday on Facebook, by the way) . Second, because I sense that older women are not taken seriously. Oh shut up, you know it's true. ;-)

I'm sure it sounds a little snobby. I'm very judgmental. Play acting has it's place, and that's fine, but it personally doesn't fit my nature. I'd feel like an idiot pretending. I don't need to insult people who have different outlooks and preferences, I'm just not personally interested in .... skeevy. But I'm a pretty much live-and-let-live type.

Hello kayemkay. It looks like you found your mojo. It reads like NEITHER of you had this preference before you married and that this orientation is unique to this relationship. Who could have guessed it would work for you when neither of you demonstrated an inclination towards it previously? Was it just luck that you discovered this? I'm curious that you say 'even at age 61 sex has never been more satisfying'. Your profile reads 'kayemkay 41-45, F'. That looks like a 15-20 year discrepancy to me!

On second thought kayemkay I'm not sure I can believe anything you say.

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When he has killed the love you had for him, sex is the last thing you want with him. Some women will take the easy way out and cheat, but what about the woman who refuses to cheat (be the dog), and can no longer gain employment because no body will hire her....makes it a little difficult to leave, right! These bastard men need to burn where the sun does not shine....but no, this society supports this treatment of women, hell this country will exploit the child, build the mans self confidence and tear down his childs all in one stroke!

<p>N2troubleagain are right in what you said below:</p><p>"Just because two people get married doesn't mean you have to lose your identity for the sake of marriage. It is that identity that each partner had fallen in love with in the beginning."</p><p>So, why after they marry, and the baby comes along, do the men try to take away and change the very things they were attracted to, and try to change and control the woman/wife? Does something better, more attractive come along and they want their cake and eat it 2?</p> Take a working, woman with her own goals, and make a housewife/ mother out of her. No job/income renders her dependent on him. Right. And why do the bastards hide their selfishness until she has taken his last name and had the baby.

My wife banned sex 27 years ago. "All men are animals" including me. I stayed in the hope she would change but she hasn't. OK we manage to get along without fighting but the "Love" has gone so far as I am concerned.

"Many guys get married before they really understand what it is to PARTNER with someone."
TheTreeIsMe, nothing that you have said is particular to "men".

It's a common pattern for anyone is a partnership - man, woman, straight or gay.

There is nothing that can possibly prepare anyone for the kind of partnership that marriage entails *over the long run*, except marriage.

That's a good story Trees, and I like the insights. Personally I don't think a man and woman need each other enough anymore. We come together with the physical attraction, but later on it's only the kids keeping you together. Beyond that, well, I'm not at that stage yet...

Please stop reading this. I was an idiot. The **** wrong in my marriage is my ****. I'm an unfit husband blaming other things on my failures. No one is responsible for anything to do with our lives other than ourselves. I wrote this post 6 years ago. Why the hell is anyone still reading it. It's idiotic.

No one is responsible, sure - but in a relationship, you are not just responsible for yourself, but also your significant other. It's not about "needing" things from your partner, but it sure has hell helps a lot. People are people, we all get in downers now and again and i helps when your partner can remind you who you really are. I don't need for my wife to tell me I am caring, intelligent and charismatic - but in times when i feel and think of my self as a piece of ****, it helps a LOT. Don't **** on what you said because of peoples negative responses. You know yourself and your **** well enough to hold an opinion and view.

Maybe if you edit the post with the information in your update, it will quell any further comments.

The fact that so many are responding to your post may be because some of us find some real truth in it, even if your own thoughts have changed. I can't comment on your fitness as a husband, and I hope you're in a better place. I found your comments to be profound. I agree that we are responsible for ourselves, and hope that you were able to make changes that restored your sense of being her hero.

I actually think it's quite spot on. I'm sorry 6 years (7 now i suppose) has changed things so much for you. It's not idiotic, maybe it no longer applies to your situation but it certainly does make other members think about their situations.
Reading your story here has actually made me think a little from my hubby's perspective. I guess I have been emasculating the dude a bit. Something to think about :)

I'm confused, Tree. Are you disavowing your original post from 2007?

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they are looking at you as the problem we are running a legal check right now...

Its just sex, its suppose to be fun if its not fun then there is a problem. if it turns in to this be fight over sex every day all day long then there is a problem. if one partner does not have relations with his wife or husband for over 2-5 months a year there is a problem. my male friend needs sex and he needs too feel alive again can you imagine a 46 year old hot looking man who can have anyone he wants has become awkward and shy towards other women....the marriage is not good and he has too do something outsource or leave.

Maybe sez has become too intellectualized..... After all.... It's just feels good, it's fun, what's the big deal?

Wearing The Pants--he will not make anyone feel safe if he is feeling rejected.

look...i need a true lover not a platonic male in my life....i have those...we eat together we laugh we platonically hug and head lover is my lover and i will do anything too make the time wherever it is too be with him...that's the way it suppose too go in life....there is nothing wrong if you do not want sex but do not expect the other too feel the same way...everyone has different needs we cannot control sexual needs --

When you're hot, you're hot. When you're not, your not

my new lover and I will treat each other the way lovers are suppose too be... you just poured your heart out In your previous message and your answer too that now is when your hot, your hot when you not your not?

Oh no no, please do not mistake. Just from what you had said made me think of what someone else once told me before. I just found it interesting and wanted to share. Not to dumb down or conflict what I had typed previous.

When I first started dating my wife, she was so obsessed with me. I couldn't be out hanging with my family without getting constant texts from her - it was overwhelming and insane. And yet I felt extremely important to her (a hero, as you put it), and found myself wanting to be with her more - in some strange fashion. It fueled my ego and let me know that I was "doing good." Just before we got married I had her come to terms with her co-depentantness and now she doesn't communicate anything of that sort anymore - the clinginess is gone. She has become a self reliant individual and yet separated into her own world. I feel like I've done good as a husband and boyfriend in the sense that I've challenged her and supported her growth as a person. She doesn't need people to make her happy now, she does that on her own. She doesn't need to keep an constant eye on me, she knows I'd never stop loving her or ever leave her. Yet I'm now at a loss of if I'm "doing it right" anymore. She communicates nothing to me (relaxed relationship) and everything from our texting to sex to dating to ANYTHING is gone. I don't get the sense of "hero" anymore. I feel like the overused toy that has become boring now. And this has killed for me, every ounce of passion and interest. It is hard to even think of a sexual encounter now. Everything I've compromised and have given up - my identity - is long gone. And the partner who use to remind me of who I am has stopped. I'm at a point where I don't even know the difference between my butt and the whole in the ground. The point being, let your partner know who they are for you - in your life, in your relationship, in the world. We aren't boys anymore, we aren't individuals anymore, we are your other half. And new identity that takes time to understand and it helps a lot when you take a moment in your life to let us know how we are showing up for you in your life. Am I still your superman?

You shouldn't have tried to change her. I dumped a guy for thinking I was too clingy. IN fact it was just LOVE. I am now married for 10 years to a man who LOVES how attentive I am and boy how much sex we have. You are a fool for pushing her into independance. SHe probably agreed to keep you and then found her own life was better than a man who didnt appreciate the love she had to offer.

There's love - which I give her - and there's clingy which comes from someones paranoia that the other person is going to leave them for another woman. My wife - gf at the time - was always afraid that I was going to go off with another person. And so she would do everything she could to try and "keep me entertained." If she had any suspicions, she would spam my phone with nasty texts. I could barely hang out with my parents without her thinking I was lying and cheating - it was insane. I love attention, I don't like lack of trust from my partner. Especially when I'm a loving guy.

great post....the bottom line is we cannot stay without sex...if we are without it it should only be because we choose too be without is a part of who we are. if your not sharing that then something is wrong...sure you may love the person you are with but if your not into them but remaining for the kids you may have too find a FWB as long as both agree on it.

So well said and so true i have seen this happen in relationships lots of times. If not they divorce or separate. It is a give and take situation though both have to put 50-50 into the relationship. Men have to do their share as well. Loosing touch with what is important can be fatal in many circumstances. Also people often take for granted what they have. Rule number one a relationship takes working on always from both sides. When circumstances happen it is vital that people do not loose their full focus in that, that they find a resolve. It is about finding solutions, and dealing with issues and how people deal with conflict overall, that determines the outcome. Some people have no sex drive due to medical issues there may be other issues at play, menopause, hormonal and such. Men may have issues in that area, before they admit it and seek help that can cause issues, not many men are reluctant to admit they have a problem, many blame everything else before they admit it is them really. I find that couples need to experiment not with others but in other ways with each other, that often helps keeping the excitement in the bedroom. Also it is recommended that when choosing a partner you find someone who is more like you. If one is more sexual, and one is not that is an automatic fail.

"If a man wants to feel in control of his marriage, he needs to make his wife feel safe enough to let him "wear the pants."If she doubts that you are mature enough, she won't let go of the control she has."

^^^this in a nutshell is what saved my marriage. I'm going to generalize a bit here, but I've seen this push & pull in too many marriages and the problem is summed up perfectly in the quoted statement. I tend to not talk about it too much because there are too many new age dogmas surrounding male female relationships & to try to talk about the "old fashioned" (they are not really old fashioned because relationship were just as messed up back then too) ways can bring up a debate that I really don't care to have.

In today's world a woman doesn't need constant physical protection, but she still needs emotional protection. It takes a long time to regain that emotional trust once it's lost & helping out around the house isn't what is going to provide that for her. That's why the list of chores so many men are given when they ask for sex doesn't really get her in the mood when they are completed.

Well said.

Thank you for this insight. Not many men will go into such depth and honesty to try to express there feelings on the subject to help others so thank you.

Is it not about give and take and finding the balance that works? Both parties have to be committed to finding that 'common ground' that is mutually beneficial. I believe that we are meant to be married for a lifetime simply because it takes quite a lot of time for a relationship to mature. However, it is my belief that one can deduce at any stage (after appropriate intervention) when their spouse's character is enduringly destructive and their spouse is not willing to change or, worse still, is unable to change. Marriages may thus end because hope for a mutually beneficial and tolerable future together is lost.

Very well said.
I still want a blow job from my wifes niece

Hold your breath for that one....

Much of what you've said makes sense ...But any woman could have made alot of the same complaints.....I read an excellent book recently called "The men we never knew ". It explains many of the reasons men struggle with the life they are living. Many men feel they were born into certain roles that they never sighed up for( expected to work hard , protect and provide etc. ). I am a long time married woman with 2 sons. It made me cry , when a thought about how men feel about all this pressure...
However,women feel the same pressure to carryout a role that we were born into too.No one asked us either!
You said most men are "babies for life "! This is the real problem.....Us wives never signed up to be your mother and we don't like it . If a man wants to feel in control of his marriage, he needs to make his wife feel safe enough to let him "wear the pants."If she doubts that you are mature enough, she won't let go of the control she has.If you want something done properly, do it yourself mind set. It would be heaven to be able to say to your spouse, "go for it ....i trust that you will do it all well and i resign from all the **** that i have had to manage all these years. I'm going for a swim . Bye. " When we no longer have to juggle life for everyone under the roof , we might also have more time to think about sex..and the energy to thoroughly enjoy it !!
Re. baggage ...everyone has some ..we would all be empty shells if we hadn't experienced life. We would also lack the wisdom we have gained along the way. Good luck to you.

HWSX. Well said. Men you should pay attention to this. Your wife wants to be your girl friend sometimes and she wants to feel cared for and not alone in all of life's task and responsibilities. Sometimes it goes the other way the man does it all, but I would say the majority leans more toward the wife, IMO. Some share life's duties well, do you? Just something to think about.

One more thing,sometimes men say woman or my wife is controlling, well, if you actually took some of the responsibilities and made some decisions then the wife could step back, breath, relax and let you take it for a while and would be glad too believe me. Then, we might not seem so controlling. Another, just for thought, and is my opinion based on some experiences I've had.

Thanks RRRW.
I did not intend to belittle men, or imply that only women do this.
It can go both ways. However, where the husband is the main breadwinner , and the wife has stepped back from her working life to raise the kids and run the household , she can end up doing more than she should .
She can end up Micro Managing everyone, including her man. Some may do this because they like to control, others may do it because they feel that it's necessary. None of us get be babies after we marry.

You takin' to me ? !!!!...LOL

I like what I read and think it is true and good to talk about. But rightfully commented..where is the female version? I would like to give my version. This is what i have seen in many of my friends relationships.

Except for everything that is already written... just some food for thought for the other side. I believe that if a woman in the relationship is not treated with respect towards other woman by her partner....e.g. her partner looks too much or too often at other woman and or tries to get a smile out of them (which might make him feel like he is still wanted or in the market) or he even gleeres at other woman when his partner is around, or his head turns to girls whilst driving the car, or finding **** hanging around the house, or just that little too much interest in another woman when his partner is around? Maybe it is a combination of all of the above, what kind of message is that sending to his woman and the subject woman? How does this make her feel? Or how would she feel towards the other woman?

Sounds like a bunch of bullsh*t to me.

Is it because this makes you realize that you are partially responsible for being on this forum as you controlled and changed your H so much that he lost himself and lost interest in sex with you. For you it's easier to just put all the blame on you H by not trying to understand the issues.

Thank you for the insight. It is helpful to hear from the other side.

Thank you. I feel sooo selfish right now.

I am actually very shocked at many that disagree with this. I mean surely this is not the case for everyone. However, part of being a spouse is growing together. Many of the red flags were there from the beginning. Most get caught up in the fairy tale or the selfish reasons to marry. Whether you are a man or a woman, it is your responsibility to at least try to understand your spouse. If not, what's the point? Get a divorce. I don't see anything with a husband wanting to be his wife's hero. I think people are getting hung on the cliche of it. However, the hero is the protector. The one you come to and feel safe with. If your husband doesn't feel needed, what the hell is he there for. Granted, he could be the reason that you no longer feel safe. We also have to be responsible for our own growth. However, is marriage about sharing everything. Building one another up. If you sit in a corner scorned because you no longer respect your spouse, what are you going to do about? Are you going to step up and help them regain their sense of self. Or sit and blame them for being lost, hence losing your respect. Maybe your spouse has lost a piece of themselves. Is it now because you are so indifferent that it is just their problem. My question is, why stay? If you don't at least want to try to help another that you claim to love. When you talk about the hero complex, it is more than just feeling like the king of the castle. It is just as equal to a woman wanting to feel safe, or be his queen. Or be the only woman that he adores. It makes you feel special! Sometime in relationships we give gifts that others are unable to receive. In that you expect something back. However, the gift you gave is sitting in a closet. The receiver doesn't even now you gave it. Because they are not in that place. You feel resentment because you think they should get it. Help him get! If it can't be fixed stopped wasting both parties time. Because when you sit like a bump on a log you too are just as guilty!

I thought this was a brilliant response!

Very well said, we are not that complicated.

I am not my husband's therapist. I am not his mother. And I sure as hell am not a damsel in distress any more. The moment I ceased being a hysterical pile of fear and insecurities who could not even be bothered to eat, that was the moment he ceased his physical attentions. Being a partner is incompatible with establishing a "you are my hero" power imbalance.

Awesome analysis and insight, TheTreeIsMe. Thank you for giving me a few answers to questions I've had about some previous relationships and cluing me in on some issues that are happening in my current one.

your advice is predicated on his inability to be intimate ba<x>sed on a lack of sense of self. And, you recommend the refused develop a plan to elevate it. Sorry, but that is his work. And, no one can do it but him. And, besides the point that women in this situation pretzel themselves into knots trying to change it, it NEVER works anyhow. Refused women don't need some lecture to help empowere men who you claim are just big babies. In my experience, refusal was just another extension of control, complete self-centeredness, and emotional abuse. Your advice is harmful as it puts the onus on the refused rather then the refuser. Believe me, women in this situation get every part of themselves blamed by the refuser for their lack of both emotional and physical intimacy. I have two kids, I don't need another to raise!

Hmm, I kind of liked this guy's post AND your response to it. I found the post insightful, but perhaps the remedy was lacking, and that's what you point out when you say "that is his work." You are right. However, as a partner who is more concerned with solving the problem than with placing the blame, how do I get him to do "his work"? It's like an impossible boot-strapping situation: If I ask him to work on his problems so he can plummet. Do you have a solution for the problem you've identified? I would be grateful if you did. I will say though, I am not too sure that my experience is quite like yours-- that is, I don't know at this point that the sex withholding is about control or emotional abuse. It might be, but it seems to be either physical, lack of confidence, or both-- so it could be that I identify with the main post because my experience is more like that.

I meant to say, "ask him to work on his problems so he can gain confidence, he'll take it as criticism and his confidence will plummet." Got cut off.

You can't change your partner. All you can do is let your spouse know what you need and want in a intimate relationship within your marriage. If you are honest and direct with your spouse, and they do nothing to address the issue, you can't really do anything to make them change. The usual dynamic is that the refuser promises to change, they do absolutely nothing to facilitate the change, and then the refused gets upset and brings up the lack of sex again....and the refuser promises to change, they do absolutely nothing to facilitate the change, the refused gets up sex and brings up sex again....on and on and on. Total vicious circle. No amount of lingerie, extra help around the house, cooking special meals, weight loss, fitness, new clothes, hair color, or gifts change the cycle. (Done them ALL....note to women....I lost 40 pounds, got in great shape, and I am considered very pretty and it did NOTHING to change the situation...I was available any time and he went to internet video sex)! So, what do you do? You get a sense of self, tell the refuser that while you respect their right to not engage in physical intimacy if this is their preference, you are not going to stay in a relationship that completely ignores your right to have a healthy fulfilling intimate relationship. You set your boundaries. Tell them what you need and if they don't do it, you leave or look elsewhere. Unfortunately, this usually begins phase 2 of the vicious circle. You set your boundaries. They try to buy time. Give a tiny bit or just enough to convince you they are trying. They can't keep it up. You remind them of the bargain. They try again, but can't keep it up. Unless you hold your set boundaries and leave or find a new sex partner, they will keep up the procrastination indefinitely. In the end, I did all this and I had to leave. He was NEVER going to change. I had to stop listening to his meaningless words and look at the meaning of his actions. The last five years were totally celibate, I was particularly dense. Looking back, it astounds me how much of the obvious I overlooked. What a waste of time! I should have left ages before I did. But, I did get out and I did find another guy, and sex is a nearly everyday event. Life is too short for this ****.

Couldn't have said it better myself, rosedl!!

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R u happy or unhappy? Just wondering ...

I would love to ask you a couple of things if you ever have the chance to listen.I posted something before and would like your Insight if you would not miind.

Outstanding post. I have never been married for a lot of the reasons you speak of. It is my choice, but I believe this post will give great insights to a lot of people. Thanks for sharing.

How disappointing that your comment is aimed squarely at men. Doesn't it take two to tango?<br />
<br />
Many of the comments here make the stereotypical assumption that early marriage is some kind of sex-filled nirvana. Well, hear this: it ain't always so.

I think the resentment due to compromise is a major part of marital discontent. The problem appears because it can be perceived as a zero sum game, ones gains is the others loss. So in your example if you decide to stay in the suburbs making you happy maybe you need to explicitly concede something in return. Unfortunately many people make a concession with the intent of revoking it later. The thought is :”Sure I’ll move to the suburbs but eventually convince you to move to the city”. But when those efforts fail there is resentment because the person never really accepted the concession, never really came to terms with the “I will live in the suburbs” part. So you have frustration because the “convincing” efforts have failed and anger because the partner is the perceived reason for the unhappiness (ie I don’t have what I really want / dreamt of). <br />
<br />
BTW Before your marriage you should have a good idea of what your future spouse’s ideal / dream life will be. If it is not common with yours, you have a problem. I can tell you that when I got married, the church obliged us to take a pre-marital class. We did ours last minute, as a check in the box, and that was a big mistake. As part of the class you are given a workbook that you fill out separately with things like: Do you want kids, where do you want to live and many other basic but important questions. When we compared answers I was shocked in how far apart we were in most of them. Looking back it should have been a red flag, too much compromise was needed to make the marriage work.<br />
<br />
One last thing. When you do compromise you need to see it as your decision, ie you take ownership of the compromise and make it yours. If you perceived it as “giving in” you have not really compromised, you have just temporary yielded and will always get frustrated and angry trying to revert.

Holy crap! Was my first thought and so started reading comments on this. We all want the answer to the so called reason for our problem but the reality is everyone is different and unique which would suggest so are the reasons. Maybe if couples discussed sex problems as they would any other problem might find there are some fascinating reasons. But usually one partner refuses to discuss it. Maybe out of embarrassment .

I really enjoyed reading the "other" part of the equation. Very well thought out, honest, and frankly gave me some food for thought.

This is a reasonable definition of a problem between couples -- men and women. Not just men. It is, aside from defining independence and propriety through the proxy of masculinity - almost verbatum what my wife has said, in defining her own loss of connection to her sexuality - getting lost in married life. Here is, for many couples, the elusive "why". Especially for those where it slips almost directly after the wedding day, and again after the kids. Don't get caught up in trying to pose masculinity definitions around this. It is about a connection to self-identity and sexuality first --those things can be expressed as masculinity or femininity later - or simply as sexuality.

Wonderful post - so true.<br />
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I've tried with my husband. He's just too damaged from the false accusations. He's given up.<br />
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He won't even listen to genuine compliments.<br />
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It's tough. I'm very giving but he doesn't want any of it. Not the affection, praise, compliments, or sex. <br />
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Sucks to be me. ;)



Well written, and great insight into a common problem.

this actually made me start thinking deeper about my problem. My husband and I have been married for 17 years and we haven't gone through anything like this before, but I just went back to school about 2 months ago and that is when our real problems began. He uses a different excuse for his lack of sexual drive, but some of the things you've said makes me wonder if maybe somewhere inside it is bothering him that I am going back to school? I don't know, but it is something to think about and I am glad that you posted this. :)

Thanks for the male insight I do see this to be a factor in the not feelin like a man thing. But have to say if you truly love someone you do not make them feel like this. Cut the I am man or woman BS. Just be open all the time either tell us ur not attracted to us anymore or stand up and make it right. Be willing to seek help be it counseling or meds or just even be willing to have your T levels tested. Dont give us excuses give us a solid reason.

Aha! So *that's* why all my, "God, you are SOOO sexy!"s haven't worked... I'll give the strong/hero business a shot and see how it goes, thanks, hon!

Well, as a man that the wife refused to let call the shots around her house after marriage, and after repeated thefts by the wife's son and his friends, I started becoming angry and resentful towards my wife. At that point in our marriage my wife had already lost her sex drive, so my marriage quickly became one of A) little to no sex, B) little to no say-so on security at the house we shared, and C) but I better do 95% of the chores inside and outside the house AND pay the mortgage. Gee, wonder why my attitude towards my wife became angry and resentful!!!!!!!! Thankfully my wife kicked me out a short time ago, that probably saved me from a nervous breakdown.

That is a shame. There was obviously terrible communication from the beginning. I do think men really need to learn to be proactive and brave about communication in relationships.

If DeadbutAlive had a wife like mine (before she got sick) then I understand why the "communication" was broken....I say something like "hmmm could we perhaps try this my way - since your way did not work last time? She says - Do you want a divorce .... total avoidance of the issue and escalation of the tension results. My reaction is to grow sullen and fearful to start a conversation ...because it will always turn into a blow up where she pushes every button I have and the only recourse I have is to remove myself to another room and be quiet ..I am brave...but I am not stupid.
If discussion always escalates into an attempt to make me lose my temper so that the unreasonableness of my character can be pointed at - then there is no point in starting the discussion. This way she always wins. Since I have learned to deal with that by cutting off the route of starting a circular and temper raising argument, she now is uninterested in intimacy and characterizes even my comment to another drive on the road - (like the idiot that passed me in a school zone) as proof of my angry nature.

I would not be so touchy and angry if there was a let off valve here...but she closes the lid and directs the discussion into an indictment of my character rather then admit there might be a different way to do X. Then she decided to also close the sex lid as well. Bravery ? I have discretion in it's place ..but love is draining away because of it.

"Thankfully my wife kicked me out a short time ago, that probably saved me from a nervous breakdown." Why couldn't he leave on his own? Why wait for the wife to take action? Sounds like he should have left much, much earlier. You can't blame the wife that he stuck around for so long while he was so unhappy &amp; felt so badly treated. And keep in mind, you're only getting one side of the story here.

Wolfy1, why even stay in such a depressing pointless situation?

1 More Response

self esteem plays a big role in everyday life.

if u find that u no longer fancy ur hubbie its cruel 4 both of u 2 keep tryin. it wont work and the feelings dont come back

Thank you so much for this! This as given me a lot of insight to some of husband is might be reacting and as lost the interest in sheet time :o) Awesome Story!!

this is very insitful

Marriage is a two way partnership. There should not be more emphasis on one partner to validate the other partner's identity. You are still the same person whether you have to pay bills, run a house or raise children. This is all part of growing up. If you are not willing to grow up then you should not get married. End of story. It is ridiculous for men to think it is the woman's responsibility to make him feel more like a man. I gave up a lot of things in this marriage because it wasn't what my husband wanted and I still am called selfish, vain and bossy. You are supposed to be two people in this together for better or for worse. When does the better happen? After almost 19 years I am still living in the worse and hoping one day it will miraculously become better. I think the only way to live peacefully in this world is to be completely alone and leave the men out. They are far too much work to keep their precious ego and "sense of identity" intact. Take the responsibility on for yourself and stop blaming it on the wife for not making you feel like a man. We all go through the ups and downs of life together and most of us still would like to have sex at the end of the day. It is a stress reliever not creator, or that is how it is supposed to be.

What a bunch of hooey. A man doesn't need a woman to validate his maleness. What's this "individuality" nonsense? A bunch of touchy-feely rubbish from the scrap heap of pop-culture psychology. Your man wont make love to you because he lost his maleness by stepping into the role of husband and father? Poppycock! Husband and Father are definitive male roles. When you step into them, you leave off being a man-child. You step into full maleness. What Mr. Tree is spouting is a childish longing to cling to his Peter Pan ways; to have Wendy and keep Tinkerbell too. You want to be his Tink? Go ahead. Enjoy "raising" the perpetual adolescent.

Thank you for your story. It has helped me already understand my husband more. My husband of 4 years won't make love with me. He is 48 and I am 40. I come from an abusive background. His first love died from injuries from being gang raped and beaten. I've asked him if this is a reason for not having sexual intimacy. His replies are always vague. I've gained 100 lb.s over the last 3 years. He has told me he feels inadequate around me. He won't go to the doctor. Meanwhile I'm in therapy. I cannot get any answers or plausible reasons for why there is no intimacy. Yet your story has given me some more insight. Again, thank you.

I'm sorry but I'm tired of stroking a man's ego! I'm tired of my hubby having complete control when it comes to sex, and always getting rejected! In my mind there is NO excuse to always say no to sex.

It was a very poinent commentary; today I am married twenty years, however, my wife informed me that we will no longer acknowledge the marriage that took place way back when. The reason? That is up for debate, but the facts are such--we stopped having a healthy and fulfilling sex life. It was almost right after we got married and I actually didn't remember how far back my displeasure was until my old buddy reminded me that I started complaining to him about a year after our wedding. Instead of the conventional affairs or indiscretions, I *********** and fantasized; when the internet matured, I utilized chat rooms and web-cams to share sexual experiences with other women. At any time was there ever any thoughts of crossing over the line into a physical and emotional affair; what I did was scratch that itch and I felt that it was safe and within a tolerable acceptance with my wife. Of course I kept it secret until she recently found out and went ballistic. I thought she would scold me and reprimand my behavior---wrong- it turned out into a full blown catasrophy that is resulting in what looks like our final times as husband and wife- I'm not living at home and life is upside down. If I could take it all back and be miserable with no sex I would gladly exchange it but we all know that things can be undone- this is a final event in our relationship; the trust is gone- all that is left is disdain and scathing commentary of what an adulterous scum I am that betrayed her trust.

Women & men have a lot more in common that people usually assume. "Loss of independence in life" is as much "a bedroom killer" for women as it is for men. <br />
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When you write that a woman should "help your husband find and clarify the parts of his life that are still absolutely his - how he dresses, his routines, how he works out, what his job is ... and then show him how absolutely essential he is to the functioning of your family " you are putting a lot of responsibility on the woman for the man's feelings. So, in order to feel independent the man is dependent on his wife to point out his independence? Sounds like this guy might need some outside (psychological) help to be truly independent.<br />
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You also wrote that "we need to be told a lot of things to make us feel good about ourselves - not that we're pretty, but that we're strong, capable, your hero, and all of that". Women/wives also want and need to be told by their partner that they are valued for being strong, capable, and their partner's hero as well. Telling us merely that you think we're "pretty" wears thin very quickly, and reflects very shallow values on the part of men. <br />
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In reality (looking past all the superficial barbie doll/princess crap that abounds in our culture) women, like men, have similar psychological needs, and need (and deep down, want) to be valued for thier competence, intelligence, bravery, and (non-cosmetic!) abilities as much as men do. Believing in (and acting on) all the essentialist gender stereotyping garbage that's out there does hurt relationships because it tends to result in men believing that women are some kind of different species to men.<br />
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It's really important to see that the similarities are far bigger than any differences (unless, of course, you are with a brain-washed barbie doll).

ok I get the postive feedback, the building of ego, the stating he is important to every day life etc...but what if... he is never and has never contributed to the house hold financially, He refuses to discuss anything of importance, he spends all his free time getting as drunk as he can? what then is his excuse? He chooses to detract from life. and yet he still insists he is in the marraige ...kind of seems that he is his own distractor and there is no amount of verbal afirmation that can correct it.

i am women and i can relate to this story, i was always independent, looking out for myself, always had a strong sense of who i was, and what i wanted to accomplished in life. i am not married (soon to be) but my boyfriend and i lived together for 1 1/2 year (so be were practically married) i felt like i had lost myself, my individuality. to compromised, for the things he wanted or compromising but loosing either way. i had to come to realization i cant win them all, but i can voice my opinions and compromise in a way where we both win and loose.

Great story with some really important insights. I appreciate having male insight given so lucidly. I am most often refused because he is tired. My husband will say he works long hours and he does it all for me and the kids. It makes me feel like a worm hearing that because I see sex, making love, whatever word you choose as a way to connect, relax, express yourself, be loved and love back. I see it as a welcome break from the day-to-day but I fear he sees it as an exhausting chore. He often accuses me of not having a life and that I need to get out of the house more so I am not so reliant on him for my social interactions. I always thought it was him misunderstanding my motivations or needs. Maybe it is more as you say, that he is the one feeling out of control and suffering from loss of self-identity. That's a very intriguing reversal from how I have been approaching this. I have never viewed him as weak or anything other than a great guy, a good provider, a good father. I think I will tell him that. Thanks!

same here. my hubby said "you need a friend" cuz i want to cuddle with him while we watch a movie n stuff like that. and if i were to complain, him bing into anthropology n stuff, says that love and marriage is abnormal for couples to do stuff together and romance and stuff. he says theres no evidence that people of the bible and stuff did that. yeah . . . oh joy.

I can relate to a great deal of the dialogue in this blog. I have been married for less then a year and my marriage is slowly becoming sexless. It's neither of our first marriages, but we are still relatively young (under 40). I have tried not to push the issue with my husband as he shuts down and becomes defensive, but it really is starting to make me angry. We had a very normal sex life in the beginning and during our courtship. It seems like once we said i do he started saying I don't... want to have sex with you. <br />
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I know rationally it is not my fault and there is some deeper issue at hand. He refuses to go to counseling and I am going alone... a very sad situation. The strangest part is that he is extremely affectionate with me... constant hugging and cuddling, long deep kisses which just make me weak in the knees and interactions which suggest a happy and loving relationship. The spooning in bed, however, rarley turns into "forking" and I feel let down and frustrated. I just wonder if I or should i stay or should stay I go. I love this man deeply, but I didn't sign up for a sexless marriage. Any advice that doesn't involve a hostess?

You know, I've been with my other half for a long time. And I've stayed at home with the kids for many years, thereby losing my identity, self esteem, femininity, independence and so forth - and I still wanted sex. So tell me why, now I work and he doesn't, won't he come near me? His masculinity is damaged, his caveman impulses, whatever? Well, sorry, I too think it's selfish bs and I've had enough of that thank you. I believed that being a couple meant taking the rough with the smooth, working together and all that; I was wrong. And believe me, I have tried everything I can think of to awaken what seems to be dead. What's the answer? I guess give up the job - become less than I am - turn back time?? Sorry, no. I think moving on may be the only way - then maybe he can find someone who doesn't emasculate him.

My husband is exactly the kind of man you speak of...constantly needing validation that he is "the one" "the leader and breadwinner" of our happy family..If anyone is not happy for any reason he wonders why when he has done all he has for our family damnit!!! How dare anyone not feel utter joy for what he does for "us"!!! I and the children have to fake constant gratitude most of the time so he dosnt get "pissy", for he will surely hold out on me or make me pay for my ungratefulness in some way...<br />
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Screw him being a hero..what about me? Why am I not the ******* hero??? I worked 15yrs as a nurse and then stayed home with the kids once they got to be older so someone was always home for them..Why am I not the shiz-nit for shaping and molding our children to becoming what they will become..1 is in Honors College of Engineering and our daughter is in all AP classes and a merit scholor...Where the **** was Mr. Hero as I helped to prepare our kids for life after high school..Oh stupid me he was saving the world until 7p every night so it is safe for all mankind!!!<br />
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I so understand a mans need to be looked up be appreciated and yes on some occassions to be the hero..but the wifes or at least I need to feel wanted, needed and appreciated as well..It has to go both ways for a marriage to work..I am sick of everything being on his terms including sex..For the first 7yrs of our marriage there were no rules...we would screw just because, I knew if I went with no panies and showed him that he would pull the car over and we would go at it..There is nothing I have not done for him or to him..I dont know what has changed for him..I am still attractive and I have an incredible body. I am 13+yrs younger than him..I get looks all the time..I know I arouse him just touching his leg but he resists me now..Why? The answer he gives me is he dosnt want to be a slave to his libido..Has he lost his mind? Hes not religious..Everything works in that dept..I dont know what to think and after 3yrs of this treatment I have started 2 affairs so I can get what I need.<br />
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I will not be made to feel unwanted anymore. I know he loves me but its not enough not for me..You can read my full story in I had an affair..So take note refusers we will not put up with your bullshit reasons anymore..Im done and if you need to feel like Mr. Macho Man to even get it up you will be disappointed..Your woman might humor you for awhile just so she can get some but even good sex is not worth making yourself feel stupid putting up with some guys childish ego needs..<br />
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I have told my husband if he dosnt give it up more frequently that I will leave him..I have given him 4yrs by then all the kids will be in college. He will try for awhile but then stop..I always have to remind him and it will get better for awhile again. I know most of you dont get any at all and while its horrible I still dont understand it or why my husband wants to "tame" his libido..Like I said I only have to kiss him or touch him and he is aroused..I feel it so I know he is but I get refused..Why? Why? Why? Why? Why does it have to be when he wants it? Is there anyone out there that has a clue????

My best friends are in a sexless marriage. I find that I want to have compassion for both of them. Your insights have helped clarify my perspective. Thank you.

Thatsit!! I'll never married again!! What for..What a trap!! My boyfriend is a handson 37 year old men, own propety and business I ALWAYS COMPLEMENT HEM and Thank hem even for spending time with me. I got my own business too, help hem with hes, I am a singer and very popular good looking woman, guys keep asking me out etc, but my men the one Iam crazy about always have an scuse to avoide sex with me wich is very depresing, I cant understend it.He wont let go of me even do I have breake up with hem 2times...Thank you to all of you for this amazing and very helpful storys, now I can see the future with hem and there is no way I am going to give up sex for the rest of my life to cover hes *** from loneliness while doing all the hause work at the same time.FREEDOOOOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!!

I think this is a common problem, maybe we look at other peoples relationships through rose tinted specks, my husband never approaches me for sex, i have sex with him about 3 times a year, and thats if i approach him, its over and done with in seconds, he suffers with premature ***********, so i guess that is the route cause of our problem> he also needs to take viagra, which doesnt make me feel lusted after, to be with somebody who has to pop a pill to have sex, is just wrong, but im married to the guy we have kids , what do i do, have an affair, leave him, no im not happy, quite sad and lonely, but he is dependable and pays the bills, not sure i could cope withut him, i dont work. were would i go, ive spent years telling him how unhappy i am, he *********** himself in the bathroom, so its not that he has no urges.

Familiar stories huh. An insight into a guy's problem is great. Thanks. Familiar stories help us get through life. They also help us dissemble notions that we have that hold us back from life. And life includes sex. If you take a familiar story and dissemble it you will find truths but mainly find yourself. I guess.

To Thetreeisme: Wow you would make a great writer and or marriage counselor. You really can capture the reader. Many good fortune............

very insightful... I was beginning to feel like I was alone. Married 5 years and have (sadly) come to accept that sex is just not going to happen.

very insightful... I was beginning to feel like I was alone. Married 5 years and have (sadly) come to accept that sex is just not going to happen.

I only have one LTR on which to base my comments about sex. People who say that after the 7th year it is boring/infrequent/etc. are just doing it wrong. <br />
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We are in year 20 and easily connect 2 times a week, on occasion 3-4 and when wifey goes off the rails we have the double daily. And it is great sex - not quickies - not passive. <br />
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A LONG passionate marriage is an incredible gift. If you marry the right person, and both make the effort to keep the passion high - it will work.

I can appreciate that youth and inexperience may account for some of these stories, but I am his third wife, and he is 56. The sex was great at first (until I accepted his marriage proposal). He denied the fact that he only ever wanted sex about six times a year, until we were married more than 2 years. Until then he insisted that he had never had a problem before, that it used to be once a week. Why not tell me the truth before the wedding, when he said he was just feeling insecure?

some people, both men and women, never grow up. it doesn't really matter about their chronological age. you will be aware of this type because, when they going gets tough, they get rolling.

You are so right!!!!

I have been married to the same person for 20 years and have slept in a bed by myself for at lest 12 of those years. I am an exremely romantic, emotionally and physically intimate person. The problem is that my wife married me with basically no real understanding of what a marriage is about. What she really wanted was someone to play house with. She is extremely sexually repressed, and has no idea what intimacy really is. It took me a very long time to even begin to figure out what her problem was. I used to do everything that I could . I would bring her flowers, hug her , kiss her, tell her how much I loved and wanted her. But all I ever got in return was rejected. She used to play this game where everytime I would initiate sex, she would say NO, and then about 10 minutes later she would come to me and let me have sex with her. Notice that I said LET me have sex with her. I could have been having sex with a blow up doll. She would do little more than just be there. No participation of her own at all. I love foreplay, and touching and the emotional closeness that sex brings with someone who you care about, but she was pretty much wham bam , just get it over with. I remember one time that we were doing a little foreplay and she actually told me that it was boring and could we do something else. Now before you think that maybe I do boring foreplay, I should tell you that I never had any complaints from anyone else, just the opposite. I love long physically engaging, giving, foreplay. <br />
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Her problem is that she is not in touch with her own sexuality. I am not sure that she has ever even ***********. She has a very puritanical view of sex and sexuality. Its like someone told her when she was a child that you shouldnt touch yourself down there, and she believed them. <br />
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So, you are probably wondering why I am still married to this woman. Basically because we have 2 kids who I love and adore more than anything else in the world. I guess that I have told myself that their happiness is worth more than my own , and so I have pretty much , until recently just figured that I was gonna have to be miserable in order to keep my kids in a stable home. <br />
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That was until recently. About a year ago, I met someone else. This girl is everything that I ever wanted . She is everything that my wife is not. She is uninhibited. She has a healthy view of sex and intimacy. She loves me and I love have fallen in love with her. <br />
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My problem is obvious. I love someone else, but I also love my kids. I think that 20 years in a sexless marriage is enough, but I cant bring myself to break up my kids home. <br />
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I also love my girlfriend enough to not want to lead her on. If I cant leave my wife because of my kids, then I dont think that it is fair to her to continue in a relationship with her. <br />
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I guess my question to you all is " how important should sex and intimacy be in life ? ". I can tell you that when I am with my GF, my stress level just drops to nothing and am as calm as a bowl of yogurt. But when I am not with her, my stress level goes through the roof, and I can actually feel the physical changes in my body from not being in an intimate relationship on a daily basis ( not just sex, but just being around someone who I am intimate and loving with ) . <br />
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Is it the wrong thing to do to stay in a crummy marriage for the sake of my kids. I love them so much, its not a sacrafice that I wouldnt make for them.

Well, Tree, I suppose I could accept your explanation of what made my husband stop wanting to have sex. It is as plausible a reason as any and he absolutely positively refuses to talk about it. Problem is, he has no insight such as yours and mine. He doesn't want insight into the problem, either. He just wants me to leave the subject (and him) alone. There have been times when I have wanted to tell him that I don't really give a rat's a** what the problem is, GET OVER IT already!! <br />
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And Tidepool, what you said really struck a chord. I want my husband to be my hero. I want him to be manly. I honestly believe I do my best to stay out of the way of that and encourage him as I would want to be encouraged. <br />
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My #1 Rule for Marriage: Always do your best to be loving and kind.<br />
#2 Rule: Treat him the way you want to be treated.<br />
Those are my cardinal rules and very rarely are they broken. When I do get too frustrated and blow up there is always an apology forthcoming. <br />
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So, Tree, how is he supposed to get his identity back?


Ah...what tidepool had to say really struck a chord with me. What about the man putting forth the same effort? Why is it that I am responsible to babying him and boosting his ego and making him feel heroic when indeed, he is not doing anything heroic? He says he doesn't feel appreciated. In the 5 years I have known him he turned my life upside down, has had 2 back surgeries and some other mystery illness and has only brought in income for maybe 15 months out of 5 years. When I met him, I was healthy and slim (had lost 200 lbs) and had all of my debt under control. I am now in SO much debt I have just about stopped caring, I have a husband who doesn't have sex with me, doesn't feel that I am justified in believing that even if we divorce he should feel an obligation to get me out of the debt his illnesses have caused and basically now that he is finally back to work, feels that that should be HIS money to do with what he wants. I find it very hard to appreciate this man and boost up his itty bitty fragile ego. I don't see anybody running to my aid because he has ruined my life. I don't see him lifting me up. Why is it that womans job to do all of this? It shouldn't have to be this hard. In my opinion...if he wants respect, he should act in ways that are deserving of such a thing. In his view, if he doesn't get respect, he will TAKE it by being mean and bossy and doing whatever he wants and then I will HAVE to respect him. I don't think he has any idea what it's really all about.

Regarding the male validation/hero concept in this thread - I think many women enjoy a certain level of hero in their man as well, a level that originates within him naturally. If they're not seeing it, they might push him and challenge him with what could be considered emasculating actions/verbage, hoping to get a response. A man who stands up for himself and his decisions and doesn't allow his partner to take unfair digs at him in this manner is much more attractive to women in general I would imagine, and this may be what these women are trying to make rise up in their men through these emasculating actions. Their men are not showing these qualities naturally so the women are trying to force them out through incendiary means. I am not defending this behavior, just stating why I think this pattern might be common.<br />
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OP and others in this thread suggest that the women in these low-intimacy marriages need to guide the men toward self-actualization while simultaneously putting in effort to make themselves as interesting and attractive as they can. What about the man putting forth this same effort? If he feels that he is getting railroaded by the woman all the time in her words and actions, and he is allowing it to happen and simply getting sad over it, then she likely considers him somewhat pathetic on some level. It is not at all sexy to have to gently baby someone into liking themselves and understanding the compromise concept in a partnership. That is really more of a mothering type of situation than a wife/partner thing. <br />
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Considering mothering actions and lover-type actions don't really go together, why then can't the man be expected step up and act like the hero he wants to be, if it's true most men respond to/desire this? His wife is much more certain to act respectfully toward him and genuinely want to validate him if he's taking charge and at least acting self confident. (Even the very act of projecting self confidence can help to generate it genuinely.)<br />
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I suppose the bottom line is that I think it is unrealistic to expect her to guide him to this mental state through her careful babying (using OP's term here) and compliments, and then go on to switch gears and consider him a hero and worthy of awe. This scenario may sound great for the man but it is unfair and emotionally taxing (if not impossible) for the woman, who like others have said is 50% of this important equation. Real change in the man's self-image (and by extension his sex life) should occur primarily within himself and via his own reflections on what he needs and what he's good at. His wife's support and compliments will help of course but she is not responsible for him feeling good about himself.

I agree with Treeisme in regards to a man's point of view. He also explains how a woman can motivate a man's feelings for her. That being said...<br />
Wow scarlet! It sounds like you solved your own dilemma without learning a thing. "Even if I am emasculating you"? Why would any sane man show you love and give you intimacy if you're engaging in verbally castrating him? This equates to the Fraternity pledgling getting beat on the butt with a paddle and saying "Thank you sir, may I have another?"<br />
Men respond best to awe, admiration and affection. I guess the hostess must have already learned this.

I really do agree, and you're dead on about loss of self. And it works both ways. The way you described sex as an ex<x>pression of the self and identity hit it right on the head. It's one of the few times when I feel truly free and creative. As for my husband, I've been working the validation angle for years to no avail, though I keep trying. I try to find at least one thing per day to compliment him on - like the fact that he's a great athlete, that he's a genius for being able to fix up a collector car, that he did an amazing job with the kitchen tile, etc. etc. It's sincere and he thanks me, but propping him up hasn't done anything for us in bed.

All well and good but as the saying goes, it takes two to make a marriage work or fail. One of the reasons I like listening to the infamous (in some peoples opinion) Dr. Laura is that she calls women on the carpet for what they do to create a sexless marriage.

what exactly does she say that women do to create a sexless marriage? i try to dress nice but i have always been more interested in sex than he is. it seems like the hungrier i got for sex the less he wanted it. so please tell me, what exactly am i doing wrong?

darktippedrose, I have no idea what, if anything you do to create a sexless marriage. My comment addresses the general causes and is aimed at women who refuse their husbands, not those who try to initiate.
One of the most common is women being or saying they're too tired, over and over. It tells a man he's unimportant to his wife. He gets the sense that he's just a hired hand and a paycheck. The next most common issue is always placing children first. Now he's just a ***** donor and a babysitter. There are many others, but again, they speak to women causing the issue, not attempting to resolve it.
I also hesitate to point this out, but many women take my posts just as you just did, personally. I never say in my posts that "all" women or "all" men do this or that. I state them in generalities. It's likely your only contribution to the problem may be a poor choice in a spouse. It happens to the best of us.

I have been married for almost two years now (together for four) and find that thetreeisme has stated something worthy of consideration. Not only am I less attracted to my wife from self loss but I also find that after a period of time in a relationship, the deepest, most true representation of the woman I have, has come forth and that woman varies in many degrees of difference from the one I fell for. It seems more obvious now, that we hurt the ones we love, due to the relaxed sense of stability and being when your with someone for a long period of time. No one in this word would put up with the treatment I am subjected to unless otherwise married, and I have seen this in other marriages. I think the ritual of courting is a snowball effect in a sense that eventually you learn how to shovel your driveway and get your car out. It might work for a while but it becomes obvious and laziness kicks in leaving room for bad habits and poor treatment which may also lead to lack of desire to be intimate with your significant other. Also, maybe lack of intimacy should not be such a major consideration in the signs of how is and how isn't your marriage. Brand-new is always better than same old same old, and unfortunately, marriage becomes routine and I think in many cases gets extremely boring, especially when you ad children to the situation. When sex becomes a step by step square dance and you have mastered the dance, you start finding less worth in the act itself. I am sure that many of you are now thinking that it is up to us now to spice that up, change things, experiment and so on, I am aware of this but seriously, interest in doing any of this starts outside of the bedroom and with self and if you are happy with self and all else, the bedroom becomes far more inviting!

and you think you didn't all of a sudden do this change-into-the-person-you-really-are, post-courting behavior? don't snow yourself....


Ehl, he might be content, but that feeling is almost the opposite of passion. Someone who is content has all he needs, you want him to be hungry for more! If he ravages you regularly, you will be happy too! I think this guy is really on to something big. Some men just lose themselves in the marriage. <br />
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"What can really help is to help your husband find and clarify the parts of his life that are still absolutely his - how he dresses, his routines, how he works out, what his job is, whatever... - and then show him how absolutely essential he is to the functioning of your family (with or without kids)," Great stuff. A beginning to expand on. A way to go, anyway.

thetreeisme? I think I love you.

I appreciate this story - mine differs in the fact that I am the one who has lost myself in this marriage. He seems completely content, or at least that is what he professes when I confront him about it. If I'm not happy - and he knows it, how can he be?

This is the mother lode of stories.....(oops, the father lode! the manly, in control of his destiny, and his self, father lode!!!!!!!)

My. My. My goodness. I am so glad this story popped up. Very thought provoking. Wonderful..I am going to read it a few more times.

All of you seem more typical and I agree with the main point of "the tree". My story is more abnormal- female sex abuse, rapes, many brothers and domineering dad who taught them to abuse. Just in the last 3 years ( married 20) I have begun to see my needs sexually. My training from above experiences was that men's needs are my focus- not my own. This led my hub to think everything he did was fine. Sometimes it was fine- especially the dating and b4 sex- more foreplay I think for females is welcome. Then after kids, he was still amorous, even obsessive but it became unhealthy for me- fetishes, too much dressing up required ( no thanks v-secret), and sneak attacks at night triggered my memories of sex abuse. I became less interested and just doing what he liked- needing alcohol to make it fun. Then I started counseling and I had to tell him "NO"to more of the things he liked and this made him less interested in me. Now I have to initiate it and do everything, he lays there basically. When I ask him if and why he is not initiating, and if he is not interested in me he says something sarcastic like" Oh that reiki massage really helped you." i do reiki to heal the abuse in conjunction with counseling.<br />
My style is intimate, touching, tantric, massage, super close, talking deeply after wards and before if healing is needed- (he can be abusive with words easily and this turns me off- talking thru it sometimes can help if it doesn't inflame him more or make him a sour pus) foreplay of all body not just the private areas. This all seems to bore him. I am thinking after 20 yrs and my finding myself that we are not sexually compatible. I am not a Betty Page type and I think thats his sex type. <br />
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I also get less patient and feel cheated that I didn't get my sexual needs met due to my suppressing them and want them met starting now. When I try to talk to him he may try more of my ideas, but forgets them, and doesn't try them again. Sometimes he'll ask " what is it that thing you like?" but feel in general he is not that excited to learn nor remember my likes. When I guide him - he gets frustrated and I fear saying too much as he'll just gt turned off and stop. We are both attractive, exercise, look good and get lots of compliments on that. Our kids are 17 and 19 so we have more time for fun, but it just isn't. I am going thru the 'change' but we always had no problem with making adjustments to that. I think it's psychological that I am not his demure, little girl to do what ever he wants, dolly.<br />
I will dress up on occasion,and allow some fetish stuff but not sneak attacks and all the time dress up- it is too uncomfortable and feels less close and intimate. Your thoughts. It's hard to dump a 20 yr and we both love our kids and don't like that thought.

your husband needs to grow up, and grow a pair.

nothing you do or do not do can change that.

he likes 'dolly in a box', and you are now a living, breathing woman with wants of your own.

i suggest marital counselling as a last-ditch attempt. sounds like both of you need individual counselling as well. but, unless he's willing to 'do the work'...

Everyone's comments are so insightful. I am a young adult, just graduated college and in a new relationship. While I am not married, I see the beginnings of a lot of these themes even in my very new young relationship. The beginning was magical and the sex was the icing on the cake but not at all the glue holding us together. Now it seems as though it is routine and less emotional and less of a connecting force between us. Maybe we've just reached a point of diminishing returns, but I miss the initial feeling of making love that has oddly been reduced to having sex. Isn't it supposed to go the other way around?