Straight chicks digging lesbian erotica?
January 2, 2009 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Do straight chicks dig lesbian erotica? My wife trolls the net for stories of girl on girl sex. No pics. No videos. Oh, and by the way, our sex life is not so good. Might she be gay? curious? or do straight girls dig lesbian sex stories?
posted by teg4rvn to Human Relations (41 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's a pretty well-researched fact that self-identified straight women are turned on by more than just man-on-woman porn. There are various theories about this, both biological and social. Work filters are blocking the site for me right now, but I know the Kinsey Institute has tons of published research on this topic.

But that's not really important, I think. What you want to know seems to be, "Is my wife still attracted to me?" Only one person in this world can answer that. However, in my experience fantasizing or reading about lesbian sex does not indicate that the person desires another woman or a lesbian relationship.
posted by muddgirl at 8:29 AM on January 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


The last sentence should be "...does not necessarily indicate..."
posted by muddgirl at 8:32 AM on January 2, 2009


Some women might. It's not as if there's a set of rules females are handed letting them know what they do and don't enjoy.

I don't think looking at lesbian erotica necessarily makes her a lesbian, though it's hardly a universal behavior. Either way, we can't tell you your wife's sexual preferences - if your sex life is taking a dive, you ought to talk to her and a therapist about it.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:32 AM on January 2, 2009


I know several straight women who like lesbian erotica but prefer male partners in "real life." It is a cliche that women prefer written erotica to visual porn-- but there is some truth to most cliches.

Agree with the other posters about talking to her about it.
posted by Maias at 8:40 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would look at the erotica reading as possibly a symptom of your "not so good" sex life, not the other way around. Also would agree with previous posters that it doesn't necessarily indicate that she is gay or bi.

But, again, the only person you can talk to about this and get a real answer is your wife.
posted by Captaintripps at 8:44 AM on January 2, 2009


I agree with muddgirl, some women do find all-female erotica interesting even if they're straight. I recall hearing some research about how many women are aroused not by the sight of the activity, but by imagining themselves to be one of the people engaged in the activity - so even if there is a male/female image presented, a woman might more likely be interested in it by imagining herself to be the person in the picture, rather than just watching the person in the picture. For this purpose, it doesn't really matter whether there are men in the images or stories at all - in a way, there are more opportunities for a woman to imagine yourself as one of the women in a scenario if there are more women in the scenario. When you think about it, almost every time women encounter images considered "sexy" in our culture, the image contains a woman. It isn't a far stretch to frequently associate feelings of arousal with sexy images of women, for either gender, as long as that continues.

So there's no way to answer your question about your wife definitely based on her behavior. Yes, straight women sometimes look at girl/girl porn. But that doesn't mean that your wife is straight, or that she's gay, or that she's questioning or curious. Only she knows what's up, so the thing to do would be to ask her about it.
posted by Miko at 8:45 AM on January 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


She may be getting off on an aspect of the erotica that may be hard for her to articulate or may be embarrasing. Maybe she likes the communication style of lesbians. Or the foreplay. Or the sense of the forbidden.
posted by Monday at 8:47 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Plenty of women are bisexual.

Oh, and lots of women prefer text based porn to pictures and videos.
posted by emilyw at 8:52 AM on January 2, 2009


Do straight chicks dig lesbian erotica?

Frequently, yes.
posted by desuetude at 8:57 AM on January 2, 2009


It's probably just indulging a small fantasy without actually indulging it. I'd say you're probably fine, as a woman myself I've been curious about such woman-a-woman escapades but I am firmly straight.

Ask yourself this-- would you be so concerned if she was looking at men and women having sex or reading about it? Would you be more concerned?

In short I think you're probably fine though it sounds like a heartfelt talk is in order. If she's only reading it online chances are pretty good she's not actually partaking.

At least not yet.
Talk to her! Maybe you could role play in bed, though that's obviously depending on your comfort level with wigs and padded bras.

:)
posted by big open mouth at 8:58 AM on January 2, 2009


Also, if the erotica in question is fan-fiction, it may be an aspect of one of the characters rather than the girl-on-girl that is making it interesting.
posted by Iteki at 9:06 AM on January 2, 2009


Okay, as everyone else has said, the real question is "is my wife still into me? might she be gay or otherwise not attracted to me?" but for the sake of an answer.....

Yes, women who otherwise identify as straight can and do seek out girl-girl erotica. I've known at least three or four who do.

The most common reason is pretty simple: 99% of the guy-girl porn out there aims solely to give the male viewer a hard-on. It takes little interest in whether or not the male actor is doing anything that's actually going to be physically pleasing for a woman. As long as she's moaning up a storm and begging for his banana, she's assumed to be loving it, but more often than not his main job is to "pound," "rip open," "hammer," "stuff," or (uh) "rape" some hole-or-other. Let's hope that there are no regular MeFi readers uninformed enough to fall prey to the belief; most of you will recall that "pounding" followed by a money shot is not particularly arousing for a fair number of women.

Almost all of "lesbian" video porn is not too different, what with all the various scenarios in which two women are supposed to enjoy eviscerating one another with double-sided dildos, no fuss, not much foreplay.

The major exception on the Internet is apparently text erotica, which has a pretty healthy number of girl-focused stories (still outnumbered by the ones preferred by guys, but not nearly as much). Try reading a few of them and you might find that it's not as much the girl-girl aspect that's the focus, it's the descriptions of sex acts performed in ways that women find sexy or enjoyable or filthy (in a good way) or tender or hot or gentle or any number of other turn-on qualities that many women like.

Let us all take a moment as well to recall that there aren't a lot of women out there who are just 100% straight or just 100% gay. Sexual identity is a changeable thing in women more than it is in men, and what's more, plenty of women who do identify as solely straight or solely lesbian are capable of being aroused by erotica they don't share a sexual identity with — some even prefer erotica they don't share a sexual identity with — as long as there's something going on that they find enjoyable.

If your sex life isn't good, your wife might be gay. Or she might not be attracted to you, but still identify as straight. Or she might be crazy about you, but find that nothing is happening in bed that sets her heart racing and leaves her sweaty and pleasantly drained afterwards, and there are a nearly infinite number of possible reasons: she finds herself unattractive, she's ashamed to be seen in an aroused state, she's easily distracted or anxious and can't manage to keep the "hot" going, she doesn't know what she likes in bed, she knows what she likes in bed but is too embarrassed to say, she thinks you're bad in bed, she thinks she's bad in bed, she's secretly been in pain during sex and doesn't want to tell you because she thinks she'll hurt your feelings, she hates missionary/doggy-style/giving blowjobs/wheelbarrow sex/being diapered/getting eaten and doesn't want to tell you, she's never had an orgasm with another person, ...and you can keep on Googling if you like.

Stop snooping into her web history, and sit down with her sometime (not when you've gotten into bed) and ask her how she feels about your sex life, if there's anything the two of you can do to make it better, and tell her you miss her and feel like she's not attracted to you. Tell her how much you used to enjoy being with her in bed and how you want to make sure she's enjoying herself. If she wants to talk about something or admit something, keep a cool head and try to let her do so without being judgmental at first. Talk about going to a sex therapist. Maybe you'll eventually find it necessary to ask her, gently, if she thinks she might not be straight. Or maybe you'll end up in a threesome. Good luck, and godspeed.
posted by jeeves at 9:22 AM on January 2, 2009 [18 favorites]


Yes, straight girls do. But I bet she'd dig a better sex life with you than some lesbian adventures. I'd work on the former and not worry so much about the latter.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:23 AM on January 2, 2009


I'm a woman. Well-done gay male porn (almost an oxymoron but not quite) is my favorite kind; two guys together = hot like burning. I'm pretty sure that doesn't make me a gay man.

Talk to your wife. She's the only one that can tell you how she feels about the hot girl-on-girl action and what it means to your sex life specifically.
posted by jesourie at 10:24 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some straight girls, maybe. Stop making these blanket statements.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:27 AM on January 2, 2009


do you look at porn or read porn? is everything you look at or read what you want to do in real life?

for most people, fantasy stays fantasy. your sex life is probably a separate issue.
posted by RedEmma at 10:38 AM on January 2, 2009


It is possible that you are asking the wrong question or making the wrong assumption here. Women--much more than men (much more than young men, anyway)--are turned on by words and description and anticipation. I think this is what she desires. If you want to improve your sex life, learn to verbally describe to your wife how you would make love with her long before you start the physical process. Start with vanilla. As you sit across the table from her in a restaurant, comment on her earrings, then describe how you would like to softly sweep her hair aside to smell and taste the skin on her neck, just below her right ear. Tell her how much you would enjoy taking her earlobe in your lips and ever so gently running your tongue along the edge and around the earring...

The bonus here is that it can be a real turn on for you also, provided that you're not making it up out of thin air. That is, you must genuinely feel these desires. Find things about her that attract you and give them the Harlequin Romance treatment. The anticipation is what builds sexual desire--the suggestion of what is to come. Pauses also build sexual tension and desire. Don't lay it on too heavily; sprinkle the descriptions throughout the evening. You can drive her crazy by stopping and simply waiting for a while when she wants more. If you really feel what you say, I guarantee you'll both be soaking wet before the second course. I also guarantee that the dessert won't be vanilla.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:11 AM on January 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Do straight chicks dig lesbian erotica? Might she be gay? curious? or do straight girls dig lesbian sex stories?

I don't know anything about your wife, but I can tell you that the answer to all of these questions is yes. She might be gay, she might be curious, she might be bi-sexual, she might like lesbian erotica.

Is your real question, is my wife gay and therefore no longer interested in a relationship with me, a male? That is a question for your wife and not interwebs strangers.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:16 AM on January 2, 2009


Jeeves completely nailed it. (But, thankfully, did not pound, hammer, or rape it!)
posted by Nattie at 11:37 AM on January 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I MUCH prefer reading erotica over watching girl-on-girl porn; just think about it.

You use your imagination. Women aren't stimulated visually in the same way men are.

Most of the girls in commercially-produced video porn have had a lot of surgery; I get really grossed out sometimes by the hair/makeup/fake boobs/repetitive sounds, mostly because all of it looks so plastic and unrealistic. The music is terrible. The camera lingers on things like the faces they're making. Who cares about that stuff? Guys, I suppose.

The vast majority of my female friends are bi; in fact I can only think of one that's so straight that she's never kissed a girl, even drunk. Women are sensual creatures. We like things like flirting, kissing, touching... straight sex, after awhile, just becomes intercourse and all the lead-up activity that gets you AROUSED for intercourse seems to disappear. (Note: this is my experience and the experience of people I know; you may be the one couple on earth who still spends hours making out or having foreplay, but who knows.)

There's a good chance there's something she's fantasizing about doing when she masturbates that when faced with the opportunity to do in real life, she wouldn't enjoy or would turn down because the reality isn't the same as the fantasy, as others have noted.

That said, if you guys have trouble talking about this, have her write down all her fantasies on pieces of paper and you do the same. Take turns pulling each one out of a bag and discuss why that particular fantasy turns you on. Sometimes it's easier to write things down instead of blurting them out to your partner. If your sex life is truly not going well, I don't see what you have to lose in being honest with each other. You're already married.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:41 AM on January 2, 2009


There are a lot of comments pointing out that some/many straight women like lesbian erotica, and I'm sure this is true. But it's also true that it is not irrational to suspect that a woman who seeks out lesbian erotica might be lesbian, and I personally know of a marriage that fell apart in a scenario much like this, and now the ex-wife is out and living with another woman. Obviously, you need to be talking with your wife, not asking us for probabilities. Try not to be belligerent about it, and try to do more listening than talking.
posted by languagehat at 12:20 PM on January 2, 2009


Lesbian erotica (read: NOT Penthouse) is usually written by women for women. It makes it MUCH better than the slightly to really crass sexuality expressed in traditional straight pornography.
posted by medea42 at 1:33 PM on January 2, 2009


Do straight chicks dig lesbian erotica?

Sure. Plenty o men like girl on girl porn; why would women, as a group, like it less? Also medea42's comment bears repeating:

Lesbian erotica (read: NOT Penthouse) is usually written by women for women. It makes it MUCH better than the slightly to really crass sexuality expressed in traditional straight pornography.

Having previously published extensive pornography for women, I can tell you that the Lesbian category was consistently in the Top 5, right after a bunch of other categories you might not expect, like non-consent and BDSM.

If this tells you anything, it is that the stories women enjoy reading about are not necessarily refelctive of what they want in real life. Few women yearn to be genuinely raped, and no matter what the stories tell you, nobody I know has ever thought "Gee, you know, I really kind of dig this" in the middle of a sexual assault.

Sexual fantasies are just that: fantasies.

If you want an overview of the most common fantasies in the Western female population, I suggest Nancy Friday's My Secret Garden.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:16 PM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


sorry ex-hubby, I'm gonna spill
Hubby and I had sex almost everyday of our marriage however our poor sex life (from my persective) eventually broke us up. He wasn't listening / couldn't hear when I tried to talk about what was not working for me. He made me feel that issues about my sexual wants and needs were not that important and he would forget (not uncommon - see this ask-me) any guidance I had given him earlier. After a while I started drifting off into fantasy.

And that fantasy was girl on girl sex. I'm not a lesbian. I love men and their bodies. But the girl-on-girl fantasy for me was actually about a lover who knew and valued and got-off on my pleasure. Girl-on-girl sex fantasies do away with the need to please a man and become solely about pleasing women (self). They do away with the male 'gaze', negate the need to feel insecure about our sexual attractiveness to men, they allow us to concentrate and enjoy female sexuality in both a giving and receiving way. Girl-on-girl sex fantasies (for this hetro at least) allow us to give ourselves over to the pleasure of our own unique female sexuality without the imposition of having to please the penis. In the hetro general world, vaginas are mostly viewed as being the pleasure palace of the penis. In girl-on-girl stuff, female erotic pleasure is the means and end in itself.

After our marriage broke down my sister-in-law gave me The Intimate Marriage (available in full text online). For fuck's sake (literally) I wish she'd given it to us as a wedding present.

We hetro women have lots and lots of guides and media and social constructions that tell us how to please a man sexually. Society has taught women that sexuality-wise, men's pleasure is paramount; that it is so important and driving that it's almost beyond their control. And after a while, as we grow up and live in our marriages, we women may realise that we resent how our sexual needs have much less currency in the social sexual dialogue than those of men. How many men's magazines have articles like: "10 ways to get your lover dripping wet" or "How to please and keep your woman" or suchlike? Articles like this for women about men are in every Cleo and Cosmo. Where is the parity?

My advice?
Tell your wife that your new years resolution is to give her the most fantastic sexual year she has ever experienced. Tell her that you plan to learn all about her sexual needs, pleasures and desires and that her pleasure is going to be paramount in your sexual relations. Make her feel the centre of the sexual experience (yep, your lower brain may have trouble with this one). Read the book linked above (hey it's free!) together and separately. Schedule times outside the bedroom to talk about it. Schedule times inside the bedroom to practice.

If you follow through with this plan, you may have one very very happy wife and one hell of a sex life. Or maybe not - but at least you know you have tried. I'd would definitely 100% still be married (and most likely blissfully happy) if someone had given my ex-husband this advice.
posted by Kerasia at 5:29 PM on January 2, 2009 [13 favorites]


For all those who say, "Talk to her about it." I say thanks, but if this is a thing she enjoys on her own, I want her to have her own self-sex life. Frankly, this was not a snoop (to start). For those who know Firefox, the "AwesomeBar" will light up with previous URLs even after inputting just one letter; but to be fair, since the marriage has been a bit rocky I have snooped since to see if there were any sites that reflected a hope for a meet-up such as a personals site (there hasn't) In fact in the past four months, she has visited these sites only 4-5 times, so I figured so what the heck. We are in therapy, but the issues we are working on are about communication ("You tune me out.") that goes both ways. I will feel more comfortable bringing up sex issues when the communication improves. The therapist did indeed ask about sex and my wife says she just can't be sexual with me without her emotional needs being met. This I/we are working on but it's not the time to look at the girl-girl stories as the cause, maybe more as a symptom. thanks for The Intimate Marriage recommendation. Currently, we are using Getting The Love You Want.

Quick follow-up though...my wife has become more of a feminist over the years...the variety that doesn't celebrate women and their accomplishments, but rather a more uniform man-hating variety. Frankly, i think a part of the/our problem is that anything submissive (e.g., a woman pleasing her partner) is unappetizing. ANd if you're wondering, I do >90% of the laundry, cleaning of the house, but none of the cooking. I work out of the house and she works in the house as a stay-home to two kids under 10.
posted by teg4rvn at 6:17 PM on January 2, 2009


my wife has become more of a feminist over the years...the variety that doesn't celebrate women and their accomplishments, but rather a more uniform man-hating variety.

I'm not defending bitchery for no reason or using newly feminist consciousness as an excuse for a free snipe pass, but a lot of women do go through a sort of phase of snark-as-empowerment. A sort of turning the tables of the worst of what you've politely endured over the years. Ideally, you keep going into something more constructive. So please know that grousing about "how men suck" isn't really what feminism means.

Kerasia, your reply is fantastic, and hits the nail on the head in some very cool ways about the appeal of lesbian erotica for straight women. I'd also add that curiosity can play a big role in what we seek as stroke-material. Nthing above that what gets you off isn't necessarily what you want in real life.
posted by desuetude at 7:56 PM on January 2, 2009


I don't, personally, but I wouldn't think it odd if some of my straight, female friends liked it. In matters of sexuality, the lines often get blurry.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:57 PM on January 2, 2009


another follow-up if anyone cares...

our therapist (a woman) thinks it is entirely reasonable that my wife's refusal to have any kind of sex until our *communication* improves is, well, reasonable. Being, I guess, a *typical* guy, I voiced personal difficulty with being able to work on the relationship as effectively on the emotional level without [some] sex. The therapist basically asked if I was willing to *get my wife were she needed to be emotionally* for the benefit of the relationship. Of course I said yes....it has been four months of a sexless marriage since.

Alert anger-filter! I'm fairly certain that if Tom Cruise walked through the door tomorrow and my wife were single, she'd be taking it in every hole [sorry for the crude reference, but it's how I feel] if offered the chance. But the guy [me] who's been faithful 10+ yrs., provides for the family, and plays the happy husband in the happy couple while in social circles, doesn't deserve a little *marital duty* ? Women, what is my wife really not telling me?
posted by teg4rvn at 12:27 PM on January 12, 2009


Women, what is my wife really not telling me?

That the concept that "sex is a marital duty" is sort of offensive? There has been much criticism of a recent article that states just such a fact. You can read some of that criticism here. And are more hostile critique here.

I can tell that you are having a hard time separating the need for marital intimacy from the need for sex. Perhaps you should discuss this with your therapist.
posted by muddgirl at 12:46 PM on January 12, 2009


I agree with muddgirl. It sounds like your relationship really isn't healthy enough for your wife to be interested in sex - it's not a duty at all, and you absolutely don't need to be having sex to do emotional work. Sex is an expression of intimacy, not a producer of intimacy in itself. And you don't need to have sex to be intimate or do emotional work. It's just not necessary for that. Four months is a longish dry spell, but you'll survive, even if it continues.

It sounds like your relatinship problems are about much more than sex. The sexual problems are likely just symptoms of a larger communication problem, or distance, or other issue I couldn't possibly know. We can't tell you what your wife isn't telling you, because we don't know what it is. There's no secret knowledge that all women share that would tell you what's going on. Your relationship with your wife needs work - but then, you knew that already. Your sex life is unsatisfying - and it looks like it might be for her, as well - but then, you knew that already. There are no more answers available beyond what you, your wife, and your therapist come up with - together or individually.

Besides, do you want your wife having sex with you out of 'duty?' Isn't the problem that you want her to desire you again, to want you again, to feel like you're the one she most wants to be with in life? You can try to figure out how to restore that feeling, but it does take work. The anger and resentment you feel because your wife is uninterested in sex are important, but counterproductive. They are best seen as important issues you talk about with your therapist - not as any kind of justification for your behavior. It doesn't matter if you are imagining that your wife would rather have sex with someone else, does it? That is a distraction for you. The world is full of potential partners for those who want to seek them. The problem is she doesn't seem to be interested in having sex with you, and there are reasons for that, and that is a problem for the two of you to solve.

But definitely get beyond the idea that you're owed sex because you're married. I don't know, but I suspect that attitude may actually be part of the problem. Give this some time and genuine effort. In the meantime, there's your hand.
posted by Miko at 1:27 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


But the guy [me] who's been faithful 10+ yrs., provides for the family, and plays the happy husband in the happy couple while in social circles, doesn't deserve a little *marital duty* ? Women, what is my wife really not telling me?

I understand why this makes you angry, and I also understand that men and women get different things from sex. I realize that, at least for some guys, sex is a very important part of their emotional attachment in a relationship.

But - I've been where your wife is. I've been so angry and disappointed with my husband that the idea of having sex with him was out of the question. I want to warn you that in my case, I was pretty much finished with my marriage at that point. If my husband had come to me at that point and told me that he "deserve(d) a little *marital duty*," I would have seriously considered shooting him.

I think you really aren't grasping how upset your wife is. This isn't a "battle of wills" situation. If you push this, you will very likely lose your wife, and then you can get laid all you want.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:38 PM on January 12, 2009


I guess the asterisks around "marital duty" were viewed as emphasis rather than sarcasm. I have not even attempted to hug my wife or attempt even more than a peck on the lips goodbye/goodnight based upon her request in therapy. This has not been four months of me saying, "You owe me sex." I have not brought it up even once. I feel like we have been making progress, but I am still waiting for the door to be opened. Frankly, the longer this goes on, the more I feel like sex is being used as a tool to manipulate me.

For the sake of conversation, I don't entirely agree with the notion that sex is exclusively an expression of intimacy. There have been a number of studies (mostly anecdotal) that show that couples are more intimate *because* they have sex more. here's one article describing such effect:



With that said, in my own experience, with my wife, she is a lot happier with our relationship for about 2 days after we have sex [bubblier, less argumentative, more likely to initiate non-sexual physical contact such as hand-holding and hugging], so in fact sex can be a producer of intimacy. I always thought what mature women found very sexy (among a million other things) is a faithful husband who wants to have sex with his wife
posted by teg4rvn at 2:56 PM on January 12, 2009


Let me try that link again:

link
posted by teg4rvn at 3:03 PM on January 12, 2009


Some quotes from your post and followup:

Oh, and by the way, our sex life is not so good. Might she be gay?

my wife has become more of a feminist over the years...the variety that doesn't celebrate women and their accomplishments, but rather a more uniform man-hating variety. Frankly, i think a part of the/our problem is that anything submissive (e.g., a woman pleasing her partner) is unappetizing.

Frankly, the longer this goes on, the more I feel like sex is being used as a tool to manipulate me.


Have you brought this up in therapy? I'm not even a therapist, but I see a lot of anger expressed here, and not just over the lack of sex. I wish you well, but it sounds like you guys have a lot to talk about.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 4:37 PM on January 12, 2009


she is a lot happier with our relationship for about 2 days after we have sex [bubblier, less argumentative, more likely to initiate non-sexual physical contact such as hand-holding and hugging], so in fact sex can be a producer of intimacy

This doesn't show causation. It's likely to be a lot more complex than that.

She may be happier after you have sex not because of the sex act, but because your interest in her changed her feelings about you or her sense of being close to you. Have you tried being affectionate and gentle with her, kind and giving to her, at times when you are clearly not petitioning for sex? Does she see your interest in sex as interest in her, as enjoyment of being close to her? Do you connect better before and during and after sex than you do during the rest of the day? If sex has this positive impact upon her, why should she be wanting to avoid it? Does she feel that same kind of emotional connection to you outside the bedroom?

I know that, for myself, regular sex may keep me in a better mood in my relationship, but it's not that sex flips some magical switch in my head to make me feel good about my partner. It's because all things in the relationship are good, and sex is the expression and the evidence of that as well as a way to maintain intimacy.

If your wife wasn't getting enough attention from you, or enough of the right kind of attention, or was feeling rejected by you, she may earlier have viewed your interest in sex as a renewed interest in her and a positive step that your relationship was beginning to heal. Sex isn't just about the few minutes that the intercourse takes place. I too understand that behaving sexually can increase intimacy, but it does not increase intimacy in and of itself, and that seems like something you might want to think more about. It increases intimacy because there are other, parallel forms of communication going on. Consider that there are kinds of sex that don't create intimacy at all - forced sex, for instance, or sex when one partner is mentally absent. So it's not the power of the physical act that you are seeing when you see an improved mood in your partner after sex. It's the power of your connection to her - which isn't dependent on the sex, however nice that might be. That seems to be what you most need to be working on.
posted by Miko at 6:42 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, I just looked at your link. I'd heard some coverage of these happenings. Keep in mind that couples who both agree to to have sex every single day for a year are already, by definition, operating at a level of cooperation and intimacy that is unusual. I wouldn't reason too far from them and certainly not in your situation.

Look for solutions that make your wife feel like she wants to approach you again. I doubt that involves pressuring her to be sexual right now.
posted by Miko at 6:51 PM on January 12, 2009


<>when you are clearly not petitioning for sex?>>

Obviously, this is not therapy, but in 10+ years I've never once petitioned for sex, so that is not the issue. I've initiated every single lovemaking session we've ever had, except for the ones when we were trying to get pregnant. So, in essence, when I've "made a move" over the years I would be rejected like I'm a new lover going too far or too quickly....if I didn't read her right.

Not to be too simplistic but people with a great sex life are the ones that take care of their partner even when their not in the mood sometimes. It's the guy following hernia surgery who take care of his partner because he doesn't want to pop his stitches (ahem, me). It's the girl "that time of the month" who gives the amazing BJ to her partner...just because. The point I'm driving at is that sex is part of the maintenance of a relationship, not always the romance novel-like culmination of perfect emotional bliss.

This is all being written very late at night, so it may read poorly in the AM. Aw, heck..time to click [post]
posted by teg4rvn at 11:16 PM on January 12, 2009


Not to be too simplistic but people with a great sex life are the ones that take care of their partner even when their not in the mood sometimes.

...And that's how sex dies in a long term relationship! It sounds like you've had differences in libido from the very start - turning sex into a duty isn't going to help that.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 7:24 AM on January 13, 2009


Obviously, this is not therapy, but in 10+ years I've never once petitioned for sex, so that is not the issue. I've initiated every single lovemaking session we've ever had, except for the ones when we were trying to get pregnant. So, in essence, when I've "made a move" over the years I would be rejected like I'm a new lover going too far or too quickly....if I didn't read her right.

This says to me that you two weren't necessarily communicating very well from the start, if you have always felt like you needed to "read her right." Which means you two, BOTH of you, probably have a lot of bad habits to unlearn.

If you met your wife right now and you had the same sort of discussions that you have now about the same sort of things with the same attitude, would you be revved up to take her home?

The point that several people in this thread is that no, sex is not always the culmination of perfect bliss, it's part of your everyday ordinary intimacy as a couple. Without developing a reinvigorated sense of emotional intimacy, sex can seem like a ludicrously strange thing to do.

I don't want to read too much into one portion of a comment, but can I show you something you did? Miko used the word "petitioning" and you seemed to get all sidetracked and defensive about whatever connotations you felt were associated with this characterization of your relationship. And then in your next paragraph, you're treading close to marital duty, again. It's really, really (really!) easy to fall into arguing and being bitter about semantics instead of working on the root issue.
posted by desuetude at 9:27 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's really, really (really!) easy to fall into arguing and being bitter about semantics instead of working on the root issue.

This is totally true. Replace "petitioning" with "asking"or "requesting" or "hinting." Doesn't matter what the word choice is - the sexual advances aren't welcome, and that's the problem. You're right that this isn't therapy and I'm not sure you're going to make much more progress here - arguing with strangers on the internet about what sex is for won't get you closer to redeveloping your own understanding of its role in your relationship, or closer to your wife. Whatever the basic issue troubling your marriage is, it probably doesn't originate entirely in your bedroom.

sex is part of the maintenance of a relationship, not always the romance novel-like culmination of perfect emotional bliss.

Absolutely - believe me, I certainly don't consider it a romance-novel event - but relationships can deteriorate to the point where sex is no longer a tool in maintaining the relationship but an irritating demand, a drain, an unpleasant task, a distraction, or even an area in which interpersonal problems are magnified in painful, up-close detail. Because it's intimate it carries a great deal of weight, and it can be very, very unappealing to want to be sexually close to someone when sex ceases to be a pleasure and starts to become a chore or something to be endured.

In other words, having sex in itself isn't going to fix your relationship. It sounds like there are other areas of the relationship in need of mending before you can expect a healthy, functional sexual relationship of the ideal type you describe - a way to maintain intimacy. It could be that you find a way to do some of the work using sex along the way, but it doesn't sound like you have managed to arrive at that stage of trust or communication. I don't know how to relieve your frustration and I'm sorry you're in such a difficult place, but this seems like a really very serious crossroads in your marriage, and it's not all - or even mostly, necessarily - about sex. It sounds like it'll take a lot of goodwill and effort for you to really, really try to understand what's going on with your wife - not rebuff her statements, or argue with her point of view as you've been arguing with people here, but honestly try to understand where she's at. And listen. And consider the fact that you have some important differences with her in your attitudes toward sex. And consider the fact that she seems to be changing - she may be going through some real questioning of her choices and her role in your relationship and whether it supports her in the ways that she wants. I can't emphasize enough that it is serious business and that you could lose your wife if you're unwilling to work with her along the way. Whether or not that is an outcome you could accept, I don't know. Your needs are important, too. But I also think you could do some growing and develop a bit greater sympathy for your wife's perspectives in the relationship, and I suspect that you won't see much improvement until that happens.

Have you asked her yet about the erotica?
posted by Miko at 9:46 AM on January 13, 2009


thanks Miko and deseutude. Both well said.
posted by teg4rvn at 10:17 AM on January 13, 2009


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