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I want my husband to want me.
November 9, 2011 1:34 PM   Subscribe

I want my husband to want me.

We have been married ten years and he was a virgin (at 26 years old) when we met. When we have sex, it's pretty great, but I spend days and days waiting for him to want to have sex with me. I initiate most of the conversations about sex; sometimes I will tell him how great it was the last time we had sex and that I would love to do it again, sometimes I am blunt as fuck and just ask for it. I get rejected an awful lot and it hurts my feelings. He's a constant masturbator and I feel like I'm shoved aside while he goes off with his death-grip handjob that I can't compete against.

I understand that for him, masturbation is a lot more convenient than having to attend to another human's needs . He doesn't have to shower, he doesn't have to try to pleasure someone else, he can spend that time being as narcissistic as he wants regarding his own desires, he can splatter the walls and fall off to sleep with no obligations. I feel like it's intruding into my own personal time with him though, and I am incredibly sad and depressed.

I initiate more contact than he does, whether it's hugging or kissing or a backrub. I have tons of lingerie to show off to him and I send him dirty pictures and texts. When we're in the bedroom for sex, he's never initially sexually excited. He never has a hard-on when we begin. I work hard and put a lot of effort into making sure he's happy and satisfied. I ask him about what he likes and remember to include it during our time together. I will do anything he asks of me in bed.

We don't have health insurance, and therapy in any form is not affordable right now. I just want to know what I can do to have him want me as much as I want him. At this point I'm feeling self-destructive and I want to do whatever it takes to feel sexually valued by him. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (39 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
I suggest you have such a discussion outside of the bedroom. Have your points written out. Avoid any urge to be accusatory if that comes up for you.

The key is to get him on board generally and then move that into the specific.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:39 PM on November 9, 2011


This is very very sad. Have you told him that this is a problem for you? You need to initiate a conversation about your wants and needs in this department to see if he is willing to work with you. Please don't do anything self-destructive. If he is a guy worth your desire, he will be eager to help you get what you need.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:41 PM on November 9, 2011


So sorry to hear that you're going through this. If you would contact one of the mods, it would be VERY helpful to know a little bit more about this:

I get rejected an awful lot

What are the kinds of things he says to you when he rejects you? What are the reasons he gives?

Also, what is his relationship with pornography? Given that he was a virgin at 26, I'm guessing he has one. Strikes me as possible that after 12-14 years of imagining that the stuff in porn is how sex really is, then finding out that real life is different, might have been a disconnect for him.

Finally, nthing Rock Steady's point about please, please, don't do anything self-destructive.
posted by jbickers at 1:47 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


You both sound rather unhappy in this relationship. You cannot make someone want you - that person has to willingly want you. You need to have many conversations with him about this. If you are not feeling as if this is complete relationship for you, you really need to consider whether you should remain in this relationship.
posted by mleigh at 1:48 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I guarantee you that you're not doing anything wrong. Let's just get that out of the way.

It's impossible to say why he's doing this. He could have trouble maintaining an erection around someone else. He may be self-conscious about his appearance. He may have a secret fetish. He might be gay. He might have no idea. I say all this not to scare you, but that nothing will happen without further communication. You will not find some magic switch.

Therapy might not seem affordable but it may be the only thing that will save your marriage. Check into therapists that offer sliding scales. Get rid of your cable, your cell phones, whatever you can. Your marriage is more important than these things; your self-esteem is absolutely more important. If he won't go, go for yourself. You are not doomed to a life of feeling rejected and self-destructive.
posted by desjardins at 1:48 PM on November 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


Aw, honey. I am so sorry. Five years ago, I was you. Not feeling desired was TORTUROUS. You need to make sure your husband understands this, fully, and is willing to level with you about what the issue may be, no matter what. In my case, my husband and I simply weren't very compatible and wound up splitting. A few years later, I found The Future Second Mr. Julthumbscrew, and he's been happily bending me over every object in our house ever since. You seem to have a very positive, healthy, enthusiastic attitude about sex, and if your husband won't get on the stick, there are PLENTY of men out there who would be completely delighted by you.
posted by julthumbscrew at 1:53 PM on November 9, 2011 [12 favorites]


You sound very angry and resentful of your husband. Regardless of your insurance situation, you need to think very carefully about how much value you hold in your marriage. There's affordable, and then there's necessary. Sometimes you make allowances for what isn't affordable but necessary for the health of yourself and your marriage. If you don't feel your marriage is worth that expense, then you have an even bigger problem.
posted by litnerd at 1:55 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna backtrack here. There is one thing that you can do differently. Back off, completely. No dirty texts, no lingerie. Kisses and hugs, but no touching below the waist. It's possible he feels so pressured that he can't perform. It's also possible that a woman who will "do anything for him" is paradoxically not what he wants. I'm not saying you are, but in these few paragraphs, you come off as kind of needy and clingy, so you may want to consider that.

He never has a hard-on when we begin.

This is really quite normal. Are you disappointed? He can probably sense that.

This approach may take a looong time to achieve results. One of two things will happen: he feels more comfortable initiating if the pressure's off, or he'll never initiate at all, in which case you're faced with a sexless marriage or a divorce. It's a huge risk, sure, but what you're doing now is is definitely leading to either a sexless marriage or a divorce.
posted by desjardins at 1:58 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


You're hanging on to a lot of hostility. Don't bring that to the table when you have a conversation with him that people are suggesting. Exercise, go for a run, cry, do whatever you need to do to get on an even plane, emotionally, before talking about this.

In certain ways, masturbating is a lot like smoking pot. Some guys can get away with doing it all the time with few (if any) effects to their daily life. Some guys end up stuck on it, and it totally saps their drive to do other things. It depends on the dude and on the quantity. I can almost assure you that you've got a guy whose masturbation is sapping his sex drive.

Ask (again: ask) him to stop masturbating. No, not forever, but if he's doing it daily (or even several times a day), ask him to be honest and stop for a week. And that includes just looking at porn. Have him absolutely remove the concept of sex-but-not-with-you from his life for a little while. Again, you'll want to get rid of the hostility first so you're not addressing him with the same terms you're talking to us about it -- the death grip and the splattering and so on -- because that will get you nowhere fast.

Also, I just want to talk about one specific point, which you may have just thrown out off-handedly but just in case:

He never has a hard-on when we begin.

Don't concern yourself with this. Every guy is different and unlike what, I don't know, television and movies want you to think, having an erection isn't always an immediate/primary response to erotic stimulation once a dude is out of his teens and definitely as he gets older.
posted by griphus at 1:59 PM on November 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Sometimes you make allowances for what isn't affordable but necessary for the health of yourself and your marriage. If you don't feel your marriage is worth that expense, then you have an even bigger problem.

Yup. If you needed $200 worth of medications or you'd die, you'd figure it out pretty quickly.
posted by desjardins at 1:59 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


He doesn't have to shower, he doesn't have to try to pleasure someone else, he can spend that time being as narcissistic as he wants regarding his own desires, he can splatter the walls and fall off to sleep with no obligations.

You sound really angry, which makes perfect sense, but it's hard to find common ground when you're really livid at someone so it kind of sounds like you need a real clearing of the air in your house.

I just want to know what I can do to have him want me as much as I want him. At this point I'm feeling self-destructive and I want to do whatever it takes to feel sexually valued by him

That's not sustainable or healthy, for starters, but the deal is right now, he's not into it. Maybe he's depressed. Maybe you guys have a lot of ways that you've stopped being intimate (non-sexual ways). Maybe you have to work on that. Maybe he's feeling cruddy for some reason. Maybe he's stressed out from work.

It's hard to tell, because you're not talking to each other.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:01 PM on November 9, 2011


Its not you, its him. Stop thinking of this as something you fix it you just try harder or find the right trick. Its highly unlikely to be your fault or something you're doing wrong.

You mention showering - do you require him to be freshly showered before initiating sex or does he just not like showering? Is it possible he's depressed? (I know when I'm depressed, personal hygiene is the first thing to go!)

Its also unlikely that this is something you can fix with a conversation or communicating your needs. From the sounds of it you've made your desire for more sex quite clear already. I'm not saying you shouldn't talk to him about the issue but don't expect that to magically fix it and make him attracted to you again. Its possible, if not probable that he doesn't know why isn't attracted to you any more. Hopefully, a frank discussion will make it clear to him that there is a real problem in your marriage.

How is your relationship in general? There are so many things that could have caused him to lose his desire to have sex with you but one of them would be problems outside the bedroom.
posted by missmagenta at 2:02 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


N'thing "you must talk"

Sex drive doesn't appear to be an issue. Is it possible he has some kind of dysfunction? Solo play doesn't require the erection to be sustained for as long as couples play.

Is there affection and other signs of involvement in the relationship outside of sex?
posted by epo at 2:04 PM on November 9, 2011


Wait you're assuming the masturbation is the problem. You've decided that and it sounds like have even made up a set of rationales behind it. Did he tell you those things or did you just do some guesswork? Instead of being the problem, the masturbation could be a symptom of the problem or could be unrelated, as in, it's just what's left after whatever the main problem takes its toll. He may not even know what the problem is. You need to have a sit down. It needs to use that model of non accusatory dialog in which you say "When you X, it makes me feel Y." And you lay out what you want and need and think and feel. And you ask him what his actions mean. And you ask him what his wants and needs and thoughts and feelings are. He still may not know and may not be able to articulate it, but that's the way to start. If you do wind up being able to pay for therapy in the future, that can really help. I've seen it save marriages by clarifying the wants and needs and interpretations of the other's actions.
posted by Askr at 2:09 PM on November 9, 2011


I understand that for him, masturbation is a lot more convenient than having to attend to another human's needs.

I really doubt that this is the equation he's making in his mind--and I don't think you should be setting this up in your own mind as a kind of "competition" between masturbation and you ("why does he love his hand more than he loves me"). I think most men see a pretty stark void between masturbation and fucking. They're not two different routes to the same goal (orgasm). If they were, why would anyone bother making love? Masturbation would win on a purely "efficiency" basis every time.

You make love because you want the orgasm plus. You want the romance, the tenderness, the playfulness, the giving-pleasure-to-another etc. etc. Which does, yes, mean it's a much bigger and more complex production. You need to be in the right emotional / physical mood etc. etc. You can have performance anxieties etc. None of that applies to jerking off--but then none of it applies to having a glass of wine or sitting down and watching the telly, either: things he also presumably does more frequently than making love to you and which also give him pleasure--and which you don't, presumably, see as him "choosing" over making love to you.

At a guess (and it can only be a guess, not knowing you) I would say that you may have got yourselves into an unhappy dynamic where he feels pressured that he "should" be performing more and that that is putting him into the wrong mood. It sounds like you're working hard at being the "seductress"--which, hey, for 90% of guys would probably be a great idea--but inevitably the "seductress" role also sends the message "I really need you to be able to perform for me right now!" and it's possible that for a husband who obviously wasn't an Errol Flynn before you married him that equates to "OMG, I have an exam to sit and I haven't studied!!!" kind of anxiety. The biggest boner-killer of all is feeling pressured--there's a reason that certain not-at-all-attractive men become big stars in the adult film world, and it's often because the ability to get hard and stay hard on cue is simply not in most guy's toolkit (so to speak).

The best answer here is probably couples therapy, but you can't afford that, alas. In the absence of that I think it's just the old painful standby of talking it through--trying to get it clearer in your minds what you each want and need out of physical intimacy. You need to find a way of getting any hint of pressure out of the equation for him while still encouraging more frequent intimacy between the two of you.

If he does have a porn habit, I wonder if you could explore sharing that with him (if that's not something you'd find upsetting or a turn off)? It may be that the pressure-less context of "now I'm watching a dirty movie" might make for an easy space in which to move to sex with you? In particular, if he could feel that the porn was doing the job of getting you both aroused it might take the problematic "seduction/performance" question off the table. Just a suggestion, of course, which for myriad reasons might not be suitable for your situation.
posted by yoink at 2:14 PM on November 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


I think most men see a pretty stark void between masturbation and fucking. They're not two different routes to the same goal (orgasm). If they were, why would anyone bother making love? Masturbation would win on a purely "efficiency" basis every time.

Oh, yes, I want to emphasize this and amend my answer to mention that even though the masturbation may be sapping his sex drive, he's not actively replacing you with his hand or preferring it to sex. It's the difference between -- and I swear I can't think of a better analogy -- shooting someone in the head and strangling them to death. Yes, you end up with a dead body either way, but if you're intent on doing the latter, you're not going to settle for the former.
posted by griphus at 2:20 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ask (again: ask) him to stop masturbating.

He's reallllly got to be on board with this, or he's going to lie and this will be ten times worse.
posted by desjardins at 2:26 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll say a couple of things here. First, usually the role is switched and it's the guy who wants more sex and wants to feel needed by his wife. I find it interesting that many people on here are saying the problem here is him not you. In no way am I saying that you're the problem, but I truly believe that if it was your husband or any man who came on here and said his wife didn't seem to want him or sex with him, they'd probably lean more towards the problem being with him. Maybe his wife doesn't find him attractive. Maybe she's on birth control. Maybe he isn't "doing it" right. But when it's the woman who wants more sex with her husband, he's the one in the wrong. Now that I've gotten that out of the way you should know....tons of guys out there would KILL for a wife like you. Someone who actually seems to love sex, and goes out of their way to make it fun and frequent. Now as far as masturbation goes, I don't know why your husband or any guy would prefer masturbation over sex. For me, there's no comparison. Masturbation is fine, but sex is soooo much better. My guess is that there's something wrong in your relationship. And that could be so many different things...he may feel pressure from you, he may no longer be attracted to you, he may be depressed for reasons having nothing to do with you, he may have erectile disfunction, he may be cheating on you, he may not enjoy the sex with you....it's so hard to say. I actually agree with desjardins here in that you should try totally backing off from your husband. Stop initiating sex, sending sexy texts, or talking about sex. Do wear sexy lingerie, and do act like a sexy women. But beyond that, I'd see what happens when you turn off your own sexual iniating. I'd be very surprised if within a week or two he doesn't immediately start initiating sex with you. If this doesn't work, I'd do what you can to try and get some counseling. Sex is important in marriage....very important. Eventually you guys are going to need to have a very open conversation about all this. Again, I'd try backing off first, but then the talks need to come, followed by therapy.
posted by ljs30 at 2:33 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Next time you know he's in the other room jerking off (watching porn?), don't say anything, just go in there and start sucking his dick. Maybe masturbate with one hand while you do it. Once you get him off, then leave. No pressure.

I'm not saying this is a long-term solution to your communication problem, I'm just saying, this is what I did sometimes when I dated a guy who jerked off a lot, and it worked okay and helped me to feel less lonely about it.
posted by milk white peacock at 2:43 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've skimmed the other answers, and I disagree with most of them. I suspect that, more than masturbation, porn is the problem. This is based on how similar your description matches up with my own situation.

There seems to be a recent trend of young (under 40) men with sexual problems -- low desire, erectile dysfunction, delayed orgasm. A common thread is internet porn.

Argh, I don't have time to write more right now. Check out http://yourbrainonporn.com, read up a bit, and if that sounds like your husband, maybe bring it to his attention. The solution is to quit porn and masturbation cold turkey for a couple months. It's not easy, but maybe he'll see that it's worth it. There's a subreddit for people going through the same thing at http://reddit.com/r/nofap.
posted by mad bomber what bombs at midnight at 2:46 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have tons of lingerie to show off to him and I send him dirty pictures and texts.

Writing on here, unless you say something TOTALLY asinine, everyone will support you. I sometimes see the OP saying things which may be misleading...just so that they get the support of mefites on here.

I don't think this is the case AT ALL here.

1. People are saying you are being hostile...What? Sounds like you're frustrated to me. Hostile makes it sound like you are the problem, frustrated is about the problem affecting you badly. I think you are frustrated. Its ok, dude.

2. We, the mefites, don't know anything else besides what is presented here. Is he having an affair, did you have an affair, does he beat you, do you steal from his family coffers...basically, we don't know ANYTHING besides what is provided here. It could just be something else that you haven't thought of...and we will never, in a million years, think of it because we aren't nearly as close to the situation as you are. And because of that, I propose #3.

3. Go up to your husband and say "Dude...I'm pretty horny and you aren't. Do you see this as a problem or condition? Whose problem is it? What should be done about it? Do you think its symptomatic of something else...in our relationship...physically?"

4. Keep up with the horniness. There ain't nothing wrong with horniness.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:58 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


There seems to be a recent trend of young (under 40) men with sexual problems -- low desire, erectile dysfunction, delayed orgasm. A common thread is internet porn.

Hmm. There's a pretty strong correlation between having a connection to the internet and looking at internet porn. I'm sure there are people who have genuinely troubling "porn addictions," but there are also plenty of people in mutually satisfying sexual partnerships where one or both partners enjoys porn. (And it's worth noting, by the way, that OP made no mention of porn whatsoever).

Also, that "yourbrainonporn.com" site is produced by a couple, one of whom is an amateur neurologist and the other is a lawyer. I'd be a little more inclined to take it's information seriously if either of them had relevant expertise.
posted by yoink at 2:58 PM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Next time you know he's in the other room jerking off (watching porn?), don't say anything, just go in there and start sucking his dick. Maybe masturbate with one hand while you do it. Once you get him off, then leave. No pressure.

Thats great writing and all...but it brings up a question in my mind.

Would this guy rather masturbate than have sex with you in reality, or is it an exaggeration?

I am not an expert at the Kinsey or anything, but I would think its reasonable to say that if it actually is the case then this dude has a problem with having sex with you. Something needs to be talked about.

And nobody here can answer that for you.

Good luck. For real.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:01 PM on November 9, 2011


Sometimes you make allowances for what isn't affordable but necessary for the health of yourself and your marriage. If you don't feel your marriage is worth that expense, then you have an even bigger problem.

Yup. If you needed $200 worth of medications or you'd die, you'd figure it out pretty quickly.


I can't believe this even needs to be said, but some people really don't have $200. At all. Might as well by $200 million, because it's not happening. Living day-to-day and worrying about how to pay the rent plus meager amounts of home-cooked food is how some folks live, and yes if they were absolutely desperate they could steal the cash but... I don't think that's warranted here. The poster is already feeling pretty low, so I don't think we need to drag her even lower by making light of her financial situation.

I'll offer that you can't really change people, but you can change yourself. You are miserable because you want something from him, and you can't make him give it to you. What you can do is change what you want. You could have a serious daytime conversation with him about your needs and frankly your expectations as a spouse who is only supposed to get sex from him. Ask him flat-out if he can meet those expectations. If he's not willing to try, then you can stop wanting it from him.

I know that sounds pretty harsh, but many divorces are had over sex issues. He might as well acknowledge that. You are human, you need sex. From him or not. If not from him, then from someone else while married to him, or not. I think it's only fair that if you are driven to this level of despair that he at least be aware of the damage he's doing to you and to your marriage, and the common outcomes.

And, you aren't doing anything wrong.
posted by Houstonian at 3:25 PM on November 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


Why is masturbation/porn the problem in the face of this:

He doesn't have to shower, he doesn't have to try to pleasure someone else, he can spend that time being as narcissistic as he wants regarding his own desires, he can splatter the walls and fall off to sleep with no obligations

Face it: you don't like him. Why on earth would he want to fuck someone who thinks he's a narcissitic slob, resents him, and holds him in contempt? DTMFA and move on.
posted by aquafortis at 3:27 PM on November 9, 2011


It sounds an awful lot like your husband is asexual, in which case the problem is not you, or him, or masturbation, or porn. The problem could just be that he's just not into sex. Unfortunately you probably can't "fix" asexuality any more than you can "fix" homosexuality. It's just who he is.
posted by shponglespore at 3:29 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


My wife felt the same way at one point. It turned out, much to her dismay, that I was completely and totally addicted to porn and phone sex. She didn't even *know* about my problems until I finally broke down one night and told her. But those activities, enjoyed whenever she wasn't around, sapped my attentions.

The odd thing: I had plenty of desire for her, but (as you said) my narcissism found it easier to do my own thing and not bother with the "work" of trying to please someone else. I had to cut that part of my life off cold-turkey to make things better.
posted by tacodave at 3:39 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Face it: you don't like him. Why on earth would he want to fuck someone who thinks he's a narcissitic slob, resents him, and holds him in contempt? DTMFA and move on.

You've said a lot there...unfortunately, I don't get most of that from what the OP has said.

DTMFA? What? Where did you even get that from?

Would you be so keen in giving the OP a DTMFBitch response if a male said the exact same stuff about a female?

I don't understand the response at all.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:03 PM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


On a different forum, there was a poster who didn't want to ever have penetrative sex. He had little desire for it, and preferred to masturbate. I am pretty sure with him it was an emotional thing, but it can be physical. Or both.

Does your husband think you have a satisfying sex life (together)? If he does, no amount of doctoring or therapy is going to make this go away, if he doesn't see it as a problem. To add onto other great questions above, has the sex life always been this way? How often do you have sex and how often does he reject you, and why? Do you feel valued and loved in other ways?

I don't think you are necessarily doing anything wrong, but the two of you may not be compatible for various reasons -- and this is not something you should harm yourself over. It would not help.
posted by sm1tten at 4:32 PM on November 9, 2011


I disagree with the idea that the OP doesn't like her husband. I would think being on the wrong end of this kind of conflict, and not able to easily leave the relationship, would be very stressful and lead to bitterness and contempt. Fix the problem, and that contempt dissolves.
posted by mad bomber what bombs at midnight at 4:42 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you really can't afford any therapy, no matter what the cost is or how much of a sliding scale it's charged on: do you belong to a church/synagoge/temple? If so, try asking your pastor for counseling.
posted by easily confused at 4:50 PM on November 9, 2011


First off: ouch, what a painful situation. I'm sorry you're in it.

This is a sexual problem, and lots of folks are offering sex-related answers, but man, the way I see it, that's the trees and not the forest.

*You* have a problem, which means that *your marriage* has a problem, which means *your husband* has a problem. It could be (and almost certainly eventually will be) money, housework, kid responsibilities, everything else. If he won't take your concerns seriously and address them, because you are a team, because he loves you, because you presumably have intention to stay together forever--THAT is the fundamental problem.

Two really good books that could help you (the collective you) sort out problems, if both of you are willing, are John Gottman's Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, and Terry Real's New Rules of Marriage. If one of you is on board to sort out the problems and the other is not, well, you can lead a horse to water...

The thing is, it's not that you have problems--every marriage does--it's how you solve them, or not, that really is key.

Been there, done that, thisclose to divorce. Good luck.
posted by Sublimity at 5:13 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do you know what he is masturbating to? That seems like a very important question - what exactly is his fantasy. Can you figure out the answer by just checking his computer history?
posted by Flood at 5:23 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


First off: your love language is probably physical affection. What is his? Time, words, acts? It can make a difference sometimes. Often people say "i'm giving him all this physical touch, and he dosen't feel loved. Hes not touching me, so I don't feel loved"

Second: I love my girlfriend. I love sex with my girlfriend. However, I've been masturbating many years before she came around. I know exactly what I like. I don't have to hear her complain I smell like a wombat or that she has a headache or worry about her orgasms. Its less physical exertion, I orgasm every time, its simple, fairly mindless pleasure. Sex is HARD! Masturbation is... well, less. So I can understand why he might have issues with masturbating over sex. Do I think he has a porn addiction? Probably. Would less masturbation help his relationship? Almost certinaly. Are there other issues? Oh yeah.

Third: Nthng therapy if at all possible... I've had good therapy for $10, $5 and free prices. Church authorities are often surprisingly good. Heck, haircutters are often great therapists without a degree. But I do think you need to vent steam and get advice from someone.
posted by Jacen at 6:21 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ummmm, is this totally about the sex?

Do you love each other? Respect each other? Hug and hold and tell each other you're the best?

Can you sit on the couch and cuddle when you watch TV, go for walks and hold hands, and spend time rubbing each others feet and just talking about your day?

Does he tell you you look good in that dress, he likes your hair, you're beautiful, baby? Do you thank him? Reciprocate?

Stuff like this isn't sexual, but it leads to sex.

If you don't have this, the sex is the least of your problems. Talk to someone. Take the advice of the smart folks above about who to see. And talk to your guy. Go somewhere and drink coffee, hold his hand, tell him you love him and you want to work this out.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:41 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is he going through a tough go at work? You say you don't have health insurance; are you guys having money problems. No offense, but there are a lot of people who tie their self-worth to their job and how much money they make. If he's not feeling good about himself, he's not going give a shit what lingerie you wear to bed.

Also: Tread lightly about making demands on your husband. The only time demands are usually made are in hostage situations. This is your marriage too. Putting all of this on your husband (as you seem to be doing) is not exactly owning your end of the marriage.

Talk to your husband and partner with him on a solution.
posted by PsuDab93 at 6:32 AM on November 10, 2011


The reasons for this can vary so much, I agree you both have to be willing to talk for real, really hash things out and be brutally, painfully honest with each other to figure out the mechanics at play here. All the possibilities desjardins threw out there upthread are viable along with a million others, and some are fixable and some aren't. As others mentioned, he could be stressed out or have erection/anxiety issues but still love you "that way" and just need help, orrr he could just not be that into you physically and unwilling to admit it to you or himself because everything else is good enough for him (been there, done that--as someone already said, it sucks and if you leave that situation and find someone way into you without you having to race around and try so damn hard for naught, you will be flabbergasted how much better life gets). Looking back the only thing that still makes me angry about the relationship I once was in like that was not that he wasn't into me per se, but that he refused to admit it for years, wasting time for both of us when we could've been happy with someone we wanted who wanted us back. If it IS like that, you have a right to know sooner than later, so be proactive.

So it could go either way. But you won't know until you talk to him, and tell him how much resentment and second-guessing this is causing you, make it clear it's serious.

Oh, and I agree across-the-board ultimatums about masturbating or whatever likely won't work and will just make things worse. What you need is to find out what's going on, not give him more reasons to be secretive and isolated from you.
posted by ifjuly at 8:50 AM on November 10, 2011


Frankly, there isn't nearly enough information in your question for a real answer. The reason therapy gets recommended so often is that in addition to the whole professional training thing, a good therapist will get to talk to BOTH of you and extract what's really going on. We can't do that.

What I can do is share two sad realities about your oh-so-common situation:

1. You're feeling furious and entitled and he knows it. Whether or not this is the sole issue, it's adding to the problem. Although I would normally support demanding a minimum level of sex even if he's not in the mood, what you asked was how to make him want to do it. He's never going to want to if every come-on smacks of "Perform or you're in trouble." Once that mindset appears every verbal come-hither, every lingerie photo, every sexy look becomes a threat. Who wouldn't rather masturbate than deal with that?

2. Sigh. Take a look through the responses in this thread. Then search through a few of the hundreds of other "sex-starved long-term relationship" threads. Try to find an answer that says, "I had this problem and I did X, Y, and Z, and now things are way better!" Go on, I'll wait.

Find any? What you probably did find is a lot of wishful thinking and some very insightful explanations of why someone might have a low sex drive. But as far as I can tell (not just from mefi but from the real world), no one ever fixes this. They just live with it, or move on. Those may be your only options.
posted by hayvac at 10:02 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd disagree with the post that starts with "Next time you know he's".

My bet is that he's super unhappy about something in the relationship - maybe the relationship itself. He may be thinking of leaving, and that this may be an unconscious attempt to sabotage the relationship by making it absolutely miserable.

Sex (or the lack thereof) isn't the problem - it's a symptom.
posted by StrictlyVague at 3:49 PM on November 12, 2011


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