My wife and I have been together for more than 7 years, and we've always had a caring, affectionate, low-sex relationship. We have sex once every month or two, and we enjoy ourselves, but it's generally pretty quick, then doesn't happen again for another month or longer. My sex drive is decently high, but hers seems very low. We've talked fairly openly about this mis-match, but there seem to be a long list of issues. This is where I'd like input, insight, or ideas.
posted by plato beans to Human Relations (21 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I realize the short answer is "get therapy!" but I'd like to hear how people might have dealt with this sort of sex drive mis-match, and the related issues we face.
My wife is my first sexual partner (though I had an ex who gave and received oral sex), and my wife has had a few past partners, so we don't have a lot of personal references with "normal" sex drives, beyond what we've read about.
When we were first dating, we were horny 20-somethings, and we probably had more frequent sex, but it's been a while so I can't really recall how often we had sex. However often, it still wasn't as frequent as weekly, let alone daily. When we first noticed that I'm more aroused (by my wife) than she is (by me), she'd say that she was failing me, which sounded like she felt really guilty about her lack of sex drive. I'd respond that we'd be married forever, so we had time to catch up later.
We've had some significant life changes - my wife gave birth to our kiddo, we moved to a different state where we took new jobs, all of these things bringing their own sets of stresses and distractions. But I think we're pretty stable now, and our son is over 2 years old, so we recently talked more frankly about our sex life.
My wife said that I'm always horny, or easily aroused. The latter is true, and I restrain myself from being overly physically affectionate with her, because she usually isn't in the mood, or there is obligation to see to. My wife recently described this aspect for her, saying that she thinks of all the things she should be doing, or that she'll want to wash after we have sex, not because sex is a "dirty thing," but because she'll smell of semen. And then she said she felt like a bad wife because she didn't want to have sex more often.
Another data point: my wife doesn't masturbate, and has never owned sex toys. Earlier this month, I mentioned buying her sex toys because I thought she might enjoy that, and she seemed interested that I brought it up, but hasn't discussed since I brought it up. On the other hand, I masturbate between a few times a week to a couple times in a day. She enjoys sex when we have it and says "why don't we do this more often?" She suggests I bring it up more often, but when I do it's the wrong time, or there are things we should be doing, or she's not in the mood, and she says she's failing me, which makes me feel guilty. So I don't really bring it up all that often, hoping kisses on the neck and shoulders is suggestive enough to imply my mood and interest.
Add to all this: she has had panic attacks in the past, and was taking a low-grade daily dose of something (I forget the name of the medicine), which helped her get her anxiety in control to the point that she stopped taking it before she had our son. She's had some near panic attacks in the time since then, but one or two at most. I wouldn't say she is generally anxious, though she'll think about forthcoming deadlines until they are met, making her somewhat distracted or less focused on other topics during that time. And she does spend most of her day on her feet, so she's usually pretty tired by the end of the day, making her less interested in having sex.
I love my wife dearly, and I think she's sexy in most things she does and wears, but I don't suggest we have sex too often because I assume she realizes I'd like to have sex a lot more often than we do. The last time we had sex was some time early in January (I think .. it's been a while), and I want to discuss this more, but I'm looking for more ways to discuss our issues.
So here I come to you all: how have you dealt with mis-matched sex drives in monogamous long-term relationship/marriage? Have you dealt with thoughts of sex being displaced by other things you can't stop thinking about? How do you suggest sex in a timely and un-pushy way? Thanks!