Love Me Tender, Love Me True (Love Me Back???)
February 6, 2012 2:22 PM   Subscribe

I'm ridiculously attracted to my wife but her sex drive is an issue. And when we do have sex, the effort I put into the act isn't reciprocated, which to me is almost the biggest issue. We've talked about it but nothing's really changed. What next?

I love my wife and would happily make love to her every day but her sex drive isn't very high. Still, to her credit, before we had a baby (back in November) she was making the effort at least once a week, which was certainly appreciated and did not go unnoticed.

And while she certainly enjoyed herself, and I would get her to orgasm pretty quickly, her interest in doing anything 'fancy' made sex pretty unenjoyable for me.

Fancy, though, isn't how I would label what she didn't want to do. To her, a blowjob, a different position other than missionary, or even getting her to kiss me anywhere other than my mouth is what she classes as 'fancy'.

Basically, I put a lot of effort into my love making. I give her massages, kiss and touch her all over her body, go down on her, use my thumb in "amazing ways" (her own words) and when I'm thrusting, even though she doesn't want to try other positions, I manage to spice it up a bit by moving myself around while she stays on her back.

But that effort is not reciprocated, which for me is the biggest issue. She'll usually give me a handjob, a blow job if I'm lucky, and then she'll lie down on her back and expect me to just get in. I'm usually not even really warmed up at this point. So lately, I've found it hard to come when we have sex. I usually end up just getting her off and then going off to my computer to finish myself off.

After we had the baby, things did taper off, which is natural and understandable. After about 11 weeks we finally started having sex again. And it's been nice being close to her again but after 11 weeks, I really, really wanted to have an orgasm I wasn't responsible for. And just as before, I put in all the effort, got a token jesture in return, and then went to my computer to finish myself off to pornstars fucking.

Basically I'm frustrated. I want her to be into it as much as I am, which would help get me off, but when I'm essentially making love to a motionless object, that's not easy.

To answer some questions you will surely ask...

* Yes, I help out around the house. She has often commented on how I do more chores than her.
* Yes, I help out with the baby but since I work during the day and work long hours, she does do the majority of the work during weekdays. I take over a lot during weekends to give her a bit of a a break.
* Yes, I shower every day and keep myself well groomed.
* Yes, I show her affection outside of sex and tell her I love her every day.
* We are both overweight, but we were both overweight when we started dating too and she was a firecracker in the sack back then.

So I'm not sure what to do next. I've voiced my frustrations, I've told her I'd like it if she could do more and show more affection when we have sex and that her lack of movement and affection makes it difficult for me to cum.

Her response, summarised, was as follows.

* Because she's a larger girl (she's not vastly overweight but she is overweight) she finds positions other than missionary to be difficult and moving around a lot to be too difficult, which is why she stays mostly stationary.
* She also doesn't feel sexy because she's overweight, despite the fact I'm constantly telling her how sexy she is (and given my instant erections when I see her naked, she should know I'm not making that up!)
* My penis is too big, which is somewhat painful for her (we tried using lube, but she doesn't like it much and it lessens the sensation for me)
* She likes what I do to her but she doesn't want it to go on too long because she just wants to cum.
* This is also part of the reason why she doesn't do much to me... she just wants her orgasm.

She's admitted she's a selfish lover and once, before the baby, she said she would try and put in more of an effort. And she did, for a short while, and it helped. But then she basically returned to form.

I'm now in a strange situation wherein I want to have sex with my wife but at the same time I don't, because I know it won't end up being fun for me and I'll just wind up frustrated and annoyed.

What should I do next, AskMe?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (45 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

what was the situation like before you were married?
posted by violetk at 2:26 PM on February 6, 2012

Couples therapy. Sounds like she doesn't like/is afraid of sex. Add to that the fact that she sounds incredibly selfish. Couples therapy.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 2:31 PM on February 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Man, I don't know. 11 weeks after a baby is still horrendous exhaustion land. It's also OMFG I AM SO SICK OF MY PARTNER land. Things take on epic proportions when lack of sleep, lack of privacy, and lack of free time are involved. So I suggest that this really be taken off the table for another few months.

In terms of you having trouble with orgasming, would you be willing to avoid masturbating, or avoid looking at porn for a while? I know it's frustrating.

Good luck.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:32 PM on February 6, 2012 [15 favorites]

"we tried using lube, but she doesn't like it much and it lessens the sensation for me"

This does not compute for me. Unless by "sensation" you mean that you like it a bit rough?

If it's even a little painful for her, I bet that wears down her desire for the act after a while, wouldn't you agree?

Also, I don't think you mentioned birth control, but if she's taking something hormonal, that may play a BIG part in diminishing her desire for sex.
posted by jbenben at 2:39 PM on February 6, 2012 [9 favorites]

I also had a baby this November and am breastfeeding. I don't know is she is, but if so, it's very relevant that it affects estrogen levels (making sex dry and uncomfortable to say the least) and also libido tends to be drastically reduced. Basically it's the body's way of discouraging another conception before it's ready as its already overwhelmed with looking after one.

I guess what I'm saying is talk to her and find out what's going on. She's probably exhausted and sex is the last thing she feels like. On top of that as I said, she maybe fighting biology in order to sleep with you and keep you happy when hormonally, it's just not there. I recommend patience. I think this is pretty normal for most couples with a new baby.
posted by Jubey at 2:40 PM on February 6, 2012 [14 favorites]

* She also doesn't feel sexy because she's overweight, despite the fact I'm constantly telling her how sexy she is (and given my instant erections when I see her naked, she should know I'm not making that up!)

It doesn't really matter how you view her. If she doesn't like herself, she's not going to feel sexy. She just isn't.

When you've got a baby demanding nearly all of you (holding, nursing/feeding, carrying around all day), the very last thing you want is someone else touching you. This will eventually go away, but I'm afraid this:

She's admitted she's a selfish lover

probably won't without some work on her part. You say she put in effort previously but then stopped. Why did she stop? If she stopped when the baby came, see my first sentence. If not, that's the question I'd try to get answered.
posted by cooker girl at 2:42 PM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Couples therapy. Sounds like she doesn't like/is afraid of sex. Add to that the fact that she sounds incredibly selfish. Couples therapy.

Ding, ding, ding, winner!

Seriously, this.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:42 PM on February 6, 2012

Yeah, couples therapy might be a good idea in the future--like, when you've all been sleeping through the night for a while and the baby is weaned. Right now if you take her to a couples' counselor for sexual selfishness (while she is not even 3 months postpartum), it will be an asshole move.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:46 PM on February 6, 2012 [35 favorites]

Oops, and I agree that 11 weeks is super soon after a baby to be feeling all sexy times! Geez.


Your wife doesn't selfish, it sounds like something is going on for her and maybe she doesn't even know what she's feeling or why. You do sounded a little naive to think she'd be up for resuming sexy times while trying to make the HUGE adjustment that motherhood commands. I gave birth to my first last year - I am not the same person inside, and it took me a loooong time to find myself again after my son was born. It's just like that for some people (fathers and mothers) children are total game changers for some people. Very deep. Very emotional.


Back to the hormonal thing I touched upon in my first answer ... Is she breast feeding? Depressed? You do know that a woman's body is still going heaps of changes in the months after labor and delivery, right??


Your question isn't problematic, except I think your timeline is off and you're sorta blowing past the fact that your wife recently grew a person inside of her for 9 months and now she's caring for that infant full time.

Maybe she just needs some physical and emotional space, a breathing period?

I suggest you re-visit this issue in 3 to 6 months. I missed it the first time I answered your wife had only given birth just 11 short weeks ago.

Goo luck.
posted by jbenben at 2:51 PM on February 6, 2012 [6 favorites]

Yeah. This is an old issue for you two that was very unlikely to be improved by a newborn in the house. I, too, am going to suggest you table this for awhile. I'm guessing that with all that your family is going through that you're eager for a little adult closeness. Totally understandable. Unfortunately, I don't think your wife can help you right now. If you can, just mentally (and actually) take sex off the table. Try mutual massage. Give her a spa day where she can relax and be tended to. If the two of you can get away somewhere with a hot tub for a weekend or overnight - that would be great. You gotta get creative to find that outlet right now.

After 3-6 mo, she should be more in a groove. Her hormones won't be quite so wild. Baby will hopefully be sleeping for longer stretches and you all will too. Only then does it seem like a good idea to try to tackle this. Lots of marriages break up after babies come. Tread carefully, a lot of this craziness will pass.
posted by amanda at 3:07 PM on February 6, 2012 [7 favorites]

Still, to her credit, before we had a baby (back in November) she was making the effort at least once a week,

Dude, your wife deserves a medal. The first year after birth is a time of great change, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Your wife is doing great, but a not inconsiderable amount of women stop having sex during pregnancy, and for a while after giving birth.

Give it some time, show your wife that you love her, and eventually (it could be a few months) you will have your old wife back.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:10 PM on February 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

When you say before the baby -do you mean generally earlier in the marriage? Or do you mean before she was pregnant? Is this a change related to wanting/having a baby? Or did things change after you married but before baby-making was part of the equation?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:11 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't cheat.

I'm with the folks who say give it time, I would say at least 6 months, before you make this An Issue. Truly, postpartum and early motherhood are so overwhelming that pressing it is just going to backfire.

Ultimately this is a situation where you both have a problem because you have a problem. (Bear in mind she may find your approach to sex to be a problem too, which is equally valid.) the two of you need to both be on board to find a workable solution. Sounds like she's not invested in that at the moment, understandably--but if that doesn't ever change, that's a big red flag. Therapy, yeah.

You say she was a firecracker in the sack when you were dating, and then things changed, even before the baby came along. Can you guys think about what happened to effect that change? Take it from there?
posted by Sublimity at 3:24 PM on February 6, 2012

you should go through the dan savage lovecast/savage love archive and look for advice for people in similar situations.
posted by cupcake1337 at 3:31 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

The fact that she was a 'firecracker' before seems odd, because 'not feeling sexy', not liking to move, and feeling your penis is too big are all long-term problems. For example, I imagine your penis was always equally big (in the time you've known her). However, hormones do impact how sexy one feels. The real issue that I see isn't that she's not having enthusiastic sex but that she's not theoretically enthusiastic. If I wasn't feelin' it for the guy who loves me and whom I love madly, I'd want to feel enthusiastic and be quite apologetic and bothered by my own lethargy, tiredness, exhaustion, and my body's limitations (were I genuinely movement-inhibited).

So there's some motivation-level issue here; she doesn't seem exceedingly motivated, and this is something to explore on a deeper psychological level, as facilitated by a psychologist (I'd say you could also just have a long and intimate talk, but I don't know if that's something you're good at as a couple-- but you should put in more effort in that direction).

Something that bugs me is that you go off to use porn afterwards, so I want to address it. I assume she's fine with it, and you mostly note it as unsatisfying but necessary, but I think it's a much bigger issue than it may seem, and it may relate to whatever complex she has that's not allowing her to feel sexy (if she ever did before). Not feeling sexy is a huge thing, especially for overweight women (and for pregnant/nursing women as well), both hormonally and emotionally. As an overweight woman who's had some positive relationships, I do remember what a huge impact my partner's desire for me had on my self-image and understanding of myself as 'sexy'-- it was that 'firecracker', in that it just lit me up. It's amazing, 'cause I have a pretty low self-image, but the other's desire lit a fuse in me-- I could feel myself as amazing through their eyes. So if that current's not flowing for you two, it's a really big problem you need to actively work on-- and the porn thing is making it worse. Yeah, you say you get an instant hard on for her, but then you literally go from her straight to (what she may think of as) 'more attractive' porn stars to finish. Maybe not rational, but I can easily see that going through her mind. Just after, during, and just before sex are times where you're especially intimate and vulnerable, and where you'd be especially conscious of your partner's attraction, behavior, emotional state and so on. Even though I'm very pro-porn and don't mind it at all (and in fact I'm all for it), if my partner went from me to porn 'cause I wasn't 'enough' in any way, I'd be crushed. Seriously. Stare at her and masturbate instead? Masturbate while being back-to-back with her? That's a much better solution than leaving.

Anyway, on some level she is rejecting you (just wanting an orgasm, letting you go, all of it) and you have to present it as such and not tolerate brush-offs but instead insist on in-depth communication about her emotional issues and yours. It's not just sex.
posted by reenka at 3:37 PM on February 6, 2012 [12 favorites]

Mod note: From the OP:
Yeah, I totally accept and understand that following birth the rate of
sex will be slower for a while. I'm fine and down with that. The issue
is that she had virtually no interest in sex before the baby as well,
and both before the baby and after her participation level during sex is
and has been minimal.

I mentioned that she wasn't always like this. Back when we first started
dating she was amazing in bed, and very active and adventurous. Things
changed after about a year or so. She started taking some
anti-depressants which pretty much killed her libido, even after she
stopped taking them (because she was better). She's never really
recovered her sex-drive since.

Due to the time delay between submitting an anon question and it
actually being posted, I'll update you on what's occurred during the
interim. We had another heart to heart last night about this. It went
rather well. I said that her lack of participation in sex is an issue
that's making things difficult and frustrating for me, and she said she
would try and be more of an active participant in sex in the future.

Of course, as I stated in my initial question, she's said that before,
and did try for a bit, but things changed back. She says it's because
she just wants to cum when we have sex and so she doesn't like it when
we go on too long. I pointed out sex would probably go a lot quicker if
she participated more because I'd get off quicker and in turn, so would

We've not had sex since last night discussion, so at this stage I'll
have to take her at her word, and I'm inclined to do so because she's my
wife, after all. If she doesn't, am I allowed to remind her what she
said last night or does that make me a jerk? Obviously we could try
couples therapy too, but what do I do if she changes and then changes
back again?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:39 PM on February 6, 2012

She's just 11 weeks after giving birth? Most people's bodies haven't gotten back to normal at that point, so I think that listening to her when she says certain positions feel "uncomfortable" make sense. And most people's libidos haven't gotten back to normal at that point, either.

I think talking with a couples' therapist sometime down the line about how you can negotiate things and get her to be more attentive to your sexual needs makes sense. Her saying "I'm selfish" doesn't give her a mulligan to act selfish.

But maybe ask around with your friends who also have children to get a reality check about when the sexytimes go back to normal, because 11 weeks seems early to me.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:40 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Whoops, I posted before you shared that communique with jessamyn. Maybe you guys need to meet with a sex therapist (again, probably down the line) to see if they can help her pinpoint when she lost her libido, and dig into why.

If she was doing fertility meds, for instance (you don't mention whether that was an issue), that could have a big impact. Or if she is taking blood pressure medication, or has untreated high blood pressure.

Still, I think that any lover who says "Well, I just want to come and I don't care about your orgasm," even when there are real physiological and/or psychological issues around sex and libido for them, is being a jerk. I can sympathize with your impatience with that!
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:43 PM on February 6, 2012

No, you are not allowed to mention your conversation for a few more months.

Seriously, I sympathize with you so, so much. I, too, am a once-a-day person. I have had somewhat, er, not enthusiastic partners, and it can be really frustrating and feel like a deep rejection. And I know that you're probably sick of the status quo. However, right now is a really bad time to be making a stand about this and it's a bad time to be "reminding" her of things.

And yeah, the porn thing mentioned by reenka is a great point. It can't be making her feel sexy to have you be like "nope, not sexy enough for me to get off, I'll go look at unrealistically attractive/enthusiastic porn stars! Hope you can measure up next time!" It's a bad cycle.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:49 PM on February 6, 2012 [7 favorites]

My mother told me that it took my body nine months to get to the point of being able to accomplish the incredible feat of childbirth and I shouldn't demand it get back to normal in much less time than that.

This is not helping you right now but having a baby is a major event for both of you. You're going to need to have a lot of patience, kindness and wisdom to get through these years and keep it together. Get counseling for whoever can benefit and make sure you both are in good health--you need to be for the baby and for yourselves.

Now is when you learn about loving. You both are learning. That's something you can share. Become a good team, the best you can be. Help each other and hold hands across the crib if that's the best you can do right now. Give it time. This is a difficult thing for you and maybe she is not understanding of that but by the same token, maybe you are not understanding of what is so difficult for her right now. That's the way it is and that's why you have to learn to love each other. Future good is built on the trust and love you learn now.

When a little more time has passed, get some help with the baby and take an overnight or weekend time away for romance and rediscovering your sex life. Then if you find you need couple's counseling, go for it. I wish you the best.

UPDATE-- Man, she can't promise you she's going to feel like being sexually responsive and active if she's depressed or exhausted or hormonal or just pissed with you because you are one more body hanging onto her and demanding something. Sorry, but the physical part of being a new mother is incredibly difficult. (Cautionary tale: When my husband planned a weekend trip with the fellas and our baby was 2 months old, I found out about it because e told me which young lady they were taking along so I made very seductively sure he would stay at home instead. We had a second child 11 months after the first. The following years were not fun times. Be careful what you ask for.)
posted by Anitanola at 3:50 PM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have another suggestion: you say you're both a bit overweight, how about going on some fitness kick together, like joining a gym that has babysitting, or taking long walks together with the baby in the stroller. You'll both get more comfortable in your bodies, and healthier. You're responsible for a baby now, you need to be as healthy as possible.
posted by mareli at 3:51 PM on February 6, 2012 [7 favorites]

If she's not feeling it, she needs the lubricant more than ever. Dry sex not only indicates (barring a medical/medication issue) but also -- unless your wife is an exception to the rule -- begets a lack of anticipation, if not active anxiety and/or reluctance, which begets further dryness. It doesn't sound totally crazy to me that maybe her antidepressant-induced association of sex with insufficient lube (which is unfortunately all the more necessary with an oversized partner) could have kept her stuck in a vicious circle of discomfort-anticipation after she stopped taking them.

Just to address the sensation question (which I didn't know some guys objected to; interesting), have you tried slicker/thicker/less thick varieties, even on your own? If not, it would honestly be worth seeing if you could get yourself used to one, because while I of course can't speak for your wife, it's rare for women to prefer the dryer end of the scale. If she wants to get it over with and isn't feeling inspired, that's the first non-psychological, non-baby thing I would look at. There's a fair amount of variation, and you do get what you pay for most of the time. Fancy legit adult stores (you know, "classy" ones) usually sell single-use sample packs. Apparently Good Vibrations also sells one that tastes like bacon, if upon further reflection you think that the problem may actually be that the lubricants you have tried have not been sufficiently bacon-like. I guess it probably isn't, though.
posted by Adventurer at 4:39 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have to agree with reenka; our situations are very different, but if my husband pulled out and went to masturbate to porn without me - instead of nearly anything else, including inviting me along, or masturbating while still in bed with me, alongside me, ON me, WITH me - I would be very hurt.

Maybe it would go faster (for her) if you started first (possibly alone, then joining her) rather than finishing alone?
posted by Occula at 4:42 PM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Hmm. I don't know. Being a woman myself, and divorced twice (not bitter, no) I read questions like this and it's usually pretty clear (to me) that the husband is unrealistic/selfish/kind of a jerk. But you? All I am getting is a desire to be close to your wife -- also inside her, but primarily close to her and loved.

That's why the lying-back-and-thinking-of-England on her part doesn't work for you, even as well as your hand + porn, because at least you could fantasize that Chesty McBoomBoom wanted you. God that is so sad. I am so sorry that you should have to feel so alone, when you have a new baby with the woman you love.

Well, you owe it to your child to tell your wife this: if a committed relationship is an omelet, sex is the eggs. There many be many other important and satisfying things in your omelet, but without eggs... no omelet. (Obviously assuming people are in the same bed, and are not both happily asexual.)

Why? Because biology. Also, it is a simple thing a person can do for another (and for himself/herself too) to make that person feel cared for and loved. You could pick up her favorite beer at the market, you could give him a back-rub, you could make her a cup of tea, you could jerk him off, you could copulate the exact way she likes it, this time, even if it does nothing for you. These things, they're pretty much the same. I wonder does she do the other ones, the nonsexual ones?

I guess its pretty common for women to get all the bonding they need from their new baby -- that was true for me: Oh, Mr. Socks, you still here? -- and for men to feel left out. Well, it is also common for women to see that this is the case, and go through the motions even if they aren't feeling it, because they do intellectually at least want their partner to feel loved. And going through the motions doesn't mean passive-aggressively lying there and waiting for him to come. It means not sitting pretty on the moral high-ground but stepping down from there to make the tea, to send the baby to mom's (even though you breastfeed and it is a huge hassle) so you and some other adults can play Kettlers of Satan, or just sit around and talk to each other.

If she knew how lonely you felt, I am sure she'd at least try. At least with the tea. And that is a foundation you can build on.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 4:43 PM on February 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Note: This may not apply to you, but given the way you have explained her issues, I think that it is worth mentioning.

Are her orgasms real or just a reward so that your ego isn't shattered after you have given it everything you have got?

You say that you can get her to orgasm "pretty quickly", which is a rare feat that very few woman's bodies are capable of threw penetration. The infamous "fake orgasm" is usually a method employed to get the act over quickly without devastating someone.

What I am saying is that she may have started faking it a long time ago in an effort to save your ego and to see the utter joy on your face from the feeling that you are a god in bed. Then after the first year, the unsatisfying sex became a frustrating chore for her (since she knew that it was now entirely for your benefit), but she was so wrapped up in the orgasm lie that she couldn't bring herself to tell you the truth.

This is vital. I would highly suggest asking her in a loving and non accusatory way if she is really getting off or if she was just trying to protect your feelings. Mention that you really do want to pleasure her and are more then willing to work on this issue if it is really what is going on. Show her that you wont be devastated, that your ego is stronger then that, and you main desire is enjoying lovemaking together.
posted by Shouraku at 4:50 PM on February 6, 2012 [13 favorites]

Married woman here - I agree with Socks but practically speaking, complaining about quality is unlikely to result in the maintained increase in quantity of sex you want. In fact, I wonder if the "selfishness" is a way of technically fulfilling your request for more frequent sex without giving you what you actually want.

Eventually you guys need some therapy, but you are in the New Baby Transition Zone and things are hard enough. For now, you might see if you can reach some arrangement where you take the pressure off her and just cuddle with her while you finish yourself off instead of going off to your computer, for the sake of closeness and intimacy and not ending up with her refusing to play altogether.
posted by gingerest at 4:56 PM on February 6, 2012

Are her orgasms real or just a reward so that your ego isn't shattered after you have given it everything you have got?

You say that you can get her to orgasm "pretty quickly", which is a rare feat that very few woman's bodies are capable of threw penetration. The infamous "fake orgasm" is usually a method employed to get the act over quickly without devastating someone.


I used to feel like a martian reading questions that involve women coming from just penetration, but now I've sort of realized that most are faking it. Like, 70% are faking it. Although it's unclear from the question if you're getting her off other ways, as well.

But mostly, your timing is terrible. Bring this up again in a few months. You're not going to solve this problem by badgering your wife when you have a brand new baby. It doesn't sound like your intimacy issues came with the baby, but I don't think that now is a good time for you to really tackle them. Improve intimacy without sex for now, and just wait and see. If things don't get better, start taking the steps that you and others have outlined to improve your sex life.

But you're kind of beating your head against a wall right now. Living with a newborn is survival mode.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 4:59 PM on February 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

You don't say how overweight you are but ask her if that is uncomfortable-because that might explain things.

Other than that, counseling might help. Because there is an issue. Even if even she doesn't know what it is.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:13 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Mod note: From the OP:
People seem to have gotten the idea she's faking it. To clarify a few

* She isn't orgasming from penetration. It's coming from me using my
thumb or by going down on her.
* I had considered she was faking it. She's not. She has both told me
and also the amount of liquid "down there" after she tells me she's had
an orgasm pretty much confirms it.

I should also say, regarding the pr0n, that I have tried finishing
myself off while laying next to her. But she just lies there and watches
while I do it. If she kissed me, or touched me, or said dirty things
while I did it, that would be great and much more preferable to the
pr0n. But she doesn't. So pr0n it is.

We'll see if things change. If they don't, I'll take your advice and not
remind her or push the issue. Couples therapy a few months from now if
necessary. Thanks for your advice.

posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:22 PM on February 6, 2012

My penis is too big

I can personally tell you this can be a really bad turn off. It's mentally exhausting when you have a hot piece of man that you LOVE and HE'S SO HOT but every time you want to do what your body is screaming to do you end up in horrible pain. Not to mention disappointing someone you love. In the end, sex becomes both painful and unfulfilling. Even in the moments when it feels good you're expecting the pain, and that is not sexy.

I'm not saying it's a deal breaker, in my case, we were luckily able to find positions and fun things to do that didn't involve impaling my liver, but it it involved hard work and lots of trust.
posted by Tarumba at 5:38 PM on February 6, 2012 [6 favorites]

FWIW, I have faked many an orgasm in the past (I am a horrible person, you do not have to tell me so), and there is a lot of lubrication coming out of me regardless, so that may not be the best indicator...
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 6:16 PM on February 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Right now if you take her to a couples' counselor for sexual selfishness (while she is not even 3 months postpartum), it will be an asshole move.

I don't have any kids but I am friends with lots and lots of guys who do, and from what they tell me, you are putting too much pressure on her too soon. Even without a new baby problems of sexual mismatch are tricky and take a long time to address; with the baby, you need to slow things down in a big way and expect a solution to come over the long term.

If she doesn't, am I allowed to remind her what she said last night or does that make me a jerk?

Whether or not you sound like a jerk depends on how you say it. And even more so, how much you are doing to hold up your end of the bargain. I mean, are you just demanding that she work harder to satisfy you in some unspecified way, or are you giving her concrete and in-the-moment suggestions? "Face up, ass down!" helps a lot more than "I dunno, can't you, like, maybe do something a little more interesting?"

I usually end up just getting her off and then going off to my computer to finish myself off.

I have what is probably one of the most generous and open-minded wives, sexually speaking, on the planet. I could tell her that I was going to be late from work because I was getting a happy-ending massage and she'd probably just remind me to pick up milk from the store. She will get it on in any position I can describe, swallows, and hasn't told me "no" in years. But if I made a habit of pulling out of her in the middle of sex and went to the computer to jerk off, she'd probably toss my ass out in the yard and throw my clothes out after me. Dude, unless there's a whole bunch more to that story, that is some serious bad manners. Sometimes you can't come, it happens to all of us, totally normal, but deal with it in a way that makes her feel better, not worse.

tl;dr: You should slow things down, and focus on figuring out how to make her feel good. (You know the saying, "If mama ain't happy...")
posted by Forktine at 6:22 PM on February 6, 2012 [9 favorites]

Boo I hate my phone. Wasn't done.

This sounds like a really frustrating situation and I wonder if maybe you two would benefit from a weekend away just to rekindle your chemistry and talk about some of these big things. Maybe she just needs some time to feel sexy again?
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 6:23 PM on February 6, 2012

What I'm hearing is that it's physically uncomfortable while you're fucking her, and then you switch tactics and stimulate her to orgasm at the end (this sounds to me like the message of "she just wants to cum"), at which point somebody who had no overriding issues would still be a mensch and help you out. Supposing this isn't a symptom of selfishness, since this is a scenario we could help with directly:

I can think of a few reasons she might not have cared for the lube before. One is that she thought of it as a criticism of her, or it hurt her self-image. That I don't have advice about. The second is that she didn't like that particular brand, or too much or (more likely?) too little was used. (I don't suppose it could be anything as easy as accidentally buying the "warming" kind, could it?) A third could be that she doesn't want to insist on anything you don't like -- path of least resistance and all. You could test this by claiming that something was ok to masturbate with.

I'm harping on this because if she is actually pretty dry during intercourse itself (I couldn't tell) it's not totally unlike what it would feel like if every time you had sex you had to be penetrated for several minutes with a smallish poorly-lubricated strap-on (so as not to stimulate your prostate) in the middle of it until your partner finally did something else to get you off.

I'm actually wondering if her lack of interest and what COULD be insecurity or conflict-avoidance re:lube plus her failure to look into this herself despite the fact that she used to enjoy sex might mean that she could actually still have a depression problem, or a hormonal one. It's certainly possible for a depressed person to be brought to orgasm, just as it's possible for a depressed person (depending on depression subtype) to enjoy the taste of a meal without feeling able to prepare or retrieve one. Again, I mention this because it's something that can be ruled out before couples therapy (which you really can't bring up for a few months yet).

And I understand about the porn, but unfortunately the timing, right after you haven't gotten off with her and her post-pregnancy body, is doing incredible damage to your making-her-feel-sexy cause. She doesn't know that you can get an erection for her much more quickly than you can for other real live women. (I am not proposing telling her this, no.) For all she knows you're just excited about sex with anybody. After all, you can have an orgasm on account of anybody, right? Except her. I'm not saying this to be mean, just trying to explain the mindset a person can get into when they've been conditioned to think that men can get off so easily that if they can't do it with you, you must be incredibly unappealing. I'm not saying "don't jack off to porn," by the way. Just don't do it instead of doing it with her.
posted by Adventurer at 6:29 PM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, about the lube question: I think it's time to go shopping. There are a million different kinds out there, with all kinds of textures. Plus, if you aren't using condoms, you have some oil-based options, too. Don't write it off because you tried some crappy drugstore stuff once and didn't like it.
posted by Forktine at 6:32 PM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

She may not have vaginismus, but the dilators on this site may be something she can use beforehand to lessen the pain. Pain during sex is a huge turnoff. Astroglide was originally developed by NASA. It's slippery stuff, but no pain is just one step towards her enjoying the sex. Maybe if she's able to do that, she can reciprocate more.
posted by jadegenie at 8:14 PM on February 6, 2012

Have you become significantly more overweight since you met her? Is it possible that she is no longer attracted to you?

I'm sorry to hear about your situation, it sounds very frustrating and I empathize.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 9:01 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

even getting her to kiss me anywhere other than my mouth is what she classes as 'fancy'.

Sit down with her, when both of you are in a good place to talk, someplace other than your bedroom, about why this is. "She says she's a selfish lover?' Well, what does she mean, and why does she think she is, and what could she do to change this?

Did something really bad happen way back? Is there something going on in your relationship that makes sex unpleasant? 'selfish lover' sounds like it could be an excuse rather than an explanation.

But also, don't expect to resolve this in a conversation. And do consider couple counseling for this. And strongly consider shelving this conversation (and sex) for another three months. Your wife just gave birth, dude, whether sexytime was hard or not before, when you've got a new baby it can be really, really hard to contemplate, with the exhaustion and sleep deprivation, for both of you, plus her hormonal and body changes.
posted by zippy at 10:01 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Your wife is still in what we call the fourth trimester. Her body is still adjusting - it may hurt to move, things may not be where they were before, her pelvis may ache, etc.. She's still got hormones coursing through her. The baby is likely not sleeping during the day. And, I'm sorry, no matter how much you do around the house, your job is not the same as taking care of a baby all day. Plus, if she's breastfeeding, that can affect relaxin and how loose her ligaments are, not to mention vaginal dryness, sex drive and so on.

Your wife may say she's a selfish lover, but that doesn't mean she's a selfish lover. She has boundaries around what she's willing to do. That doesn't make her selfish. You may have the energy to try different positions, but she may not be willing to hurt herself to do the same for you. If using a different position is uncomfortable for her, it's uncomfortable for her. It would be selfish to expect a postpartum mother of a 3mo uncomfortable so that she can have sex with you.

Plus, what's with the jumping up mid stroke to go to porn? If it was about being with your wife, nurturing your relationship and so on, you'd spend time with her and worry about getting off later. I can't imagine how crushing that would feel to a woman who just had a baby and is in an emotionally precarious situation.

I would suggest working on your relationship. That will eventually get to the sex. But, right now, it sounds like you guys need to work on all sorts of things. But I would at least give it a few more months. Most SAHMs get more into the swing of things with the baby around 6 months and she might be in a better emotional place at that point to get into couples therapy. Right now, it might actually cause her tremendous upset, especially given that her husband is pressuring her for sex at 11 weeks postpartum and then running off to use porn.

You don't sound like a bad guy. But I think maybe you need to find out what sex looks like in the year after a baby is born.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 10:46 PM on February 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

I hate to say this because it's unpopular at best, but here it is: The fact that she can give you a hand job or blow job and you're just getting warmed up but she's ready to go seems pretty odd to me - most men are pretty hot to go after a blow job and have to hold themselves back. I'm afraid that the biggest problem you're having is your reliance on porn to get you off - regardless of what your wife does, the porn will work; you know that and it's in the back of your mind all the time. Your wife was a "firecracker" to you and you both enjoyed sex in the earlier days - as - before porn. Now your wife is TIRED (you better believe it), probably feeling a little old and overwhelmed with responsibility and like her body isn't the same/as pretty as it used to be, etc. and what's her husband doing? Complaining that she isn't giving him the kind of sex he deserves and trotting off to the computer to get off to porn instead.

There's nothing wrong with porn, but when it becomes, with masturbation, more satisfying than having sex with your wife, you need to see a counselor. I'd also recommend that your wife have an internal examination - a careful one - just to be sure that there's no physical reason for your size to be more painful to her than it used to be. If she tore when she had the baby, sometimes that area doesn't heal properly or, at the very least, it forms stiff scar tissue that doesn't have the stretchability that the normal tissue does. As for lube - keep trying different kinds until you find one that's right - being dry while your being banged isn't exactly a turn-on. Neither being dry nor being sore are her fault - they're just things that will come and go for one reason or another over the years and they can be easily treated.

What really needs the treatment, though, is the marriage. Get a counselor for some new approaches and try it from that direction. I wish you both the best of luck.
posted by aryma at 11:17 PM on February 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

Not seen this question asked -- how's your NON-sexual physical affection? The loving kiss when she's having a bad day, the tender cuddling that stays just cuddling when you're both nodding off at night, the rubbing of shoulders when she says they're achy or if it just looks like she needs it?

If there isn't much of that going on, she could be feeling like she's just a sex object (and honestly, trying to sex her up only a couple months after she has a baby would make me feel that way too), and it could also be hindering you as well. It could help to increase that -- you'll be getting the physical intimacy you need, and she'll be getting the reassurance she needs that she's not just a sex object. Touch and intimacy and physical affection happens on a LOT of levels, and sowing the ground on one level could yield something on another level.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:41 AM on February 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Taking to heart that she obviously needs a little time to get back into the swing of things while adjusting to New Baby- asking for her participation in your orgasm after just ate her into bliss doesn't seem like such a freaking trial. If you hold it back a little- accept that PIV sex is only gonna happen once every month or every other month for a bit- she might be more willing to do be a part of the other stuff.

I'm thinking you should hide the porn for a while, and just tell her "I love you baby, you were so hot when you came. I want to come with you." and then give her specific requests- kiss your neck, hold you, tell you how good she felt, whatever.

It sounds like you've been dealing with this a long time- and maybe you convinced yourself that after the baby is born it'll get better. Which actually sucks because as you can see from upthread- you are in the position of having to suck it up or be seen as a massive jerk. I don't think you are a jerk. I don't think that asking for some love and interest once in a while is too much. It sounds like you'd even be a little happier if she would just say "you are so hot, it's not you it's me." But right now, the only real option is to tame it waaaaaaay back and ask for a few very very specific things to help you get through this until you guys AS A TEAM- can make your sex lives a priority again.
posted by Blisterlips at 6:38 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

You say that you're making love to a motionless object, and others on here are worried she might be faking. Does she make any noises during foreplay, or only during the orgasm itself? Do you ever ask for feedback, if what you're doing feels good, or ask her to tell you what she'd like you to do next?

Do you get the impression she is a selfish lover due to shyness, prudishness or just plain old lack of interest?

I'd second Blisterlips suggest re: giving her specific suggestions.

Do you think she would loosen up if you had sex in a less-pressure scenario, e.g. with the lights off, in front of the tv?
posted by EatMyHat at 1:55 PM on February 7, 2012

I'm going to buck the consensus here, because I think a lot of people are projecting and not really reading what you've written.

To me, twelve weeks after having a baby seems like plenty of time to get back to an active sex life. We're talking 3 months, and barring some serious post-birth complications (like a torn episiotomy or something equally horrendous), which I'm sure you would have mentioned, in my opinion there's no reason why she shouldn't be physically and emotionally ready to have sex provided everything else in the relationship is good.

So, let's look at the relationship. You say the major game-changer was her depression and the medication she took. Birth control, pregnancy and post-pregnancy hormones can certainly trigger depression in people who are prone to it. Does your wife show any signs of post-partum depression? She says she's selfish, she doesn't feel sexy, etc.. She might be just tired, but she could be depressed. If so, she should not feel ashamed about this. No matter how wanted the child, many women to have emotional issues after giving birth, and if she is feeling depressed, that's definitely something to talk to her ob/gyn about. There ARE anti-depressants which do NOT have negative effects on the libido. Even if she is breast-feeding, there are things she can do which might help. Hint: ask about sildenafil cream, which is like Viagra for women. You're welcome.

You also say she's not feeling sexy. This is a given even if she wasn't overweight before; giving birth and breast-feeding can make you feel like your body is just this Baby Factory, more function than form. How are you helping her through the "not feeling sexy" stuff? This should be Step #1 in the New Dad Manual: Your wife needs to hear she is an attractive woman AND a good Mom. It should also come with a caveat: DON'T compliment her just to get sex! So, are you telling her how attractive she is when you AREN'T in the bedroom? That's really important. I mean, it's great that you get an erection when you see her naked (I know I always appreciate the obvious feedback), but she is already feeling like her body belongs to baby; she doesn't need to feel like that's all you want her for, too. Compliment her when there is not the slightest chance of having sex. And don't just make it all sexy-time wink, wink, nudge, nudge related remarks like, "Hey, great ass." She has all kinds of body parts worthy of your attention. Remind her of that.

Also, watch the porn, as others have said. Please tell me that when you are watching TV or movies together, you are not saying how hot that actress's body is, or how big her breasts are. That is NOT cool. In fact, you might want to see if you can find some couples-friendly porn to watch together, especially if it features normal-looking amateurs having hot sex.

Which brings me to where you said that before you were married, she was up for a lot more sexually. You know, sometimes, women have this preconception of what a wife or mother should be. I'm sure guys go through something similar when they take on new roles. When you were dating, she was the hot girlfriend and it was all good. Once you got married, mentally she moved herself into the "Wife" slot, and now she's gone farther still, into the "Mother" slot. You'll hear people say, "once we married, my spouse was like a different person," and wonder why that happened. Well, sometimes the spouses don't know why, either. Most women would be horrified to realize they've become their mothers. But it's quite possible that your wife sees herself as a Mother first, a Wife second...and sadly, the sexual firecracker Hot Girlfriend has fallen into a distant third.

If I could give couples with young children any advice, from someone who has been there and done that, it would be: Don't be afraid to put yourself and your relationship first sometimes. Just because you get married, you do not have to become asexual and baby-centric; in fact, it's healthier for kids to recognize they are part of a happy family, rather than the center of the universe. Happy, sexy couples have well-adjusted kids. After all, they learn about healthy relationships from you. If you ignore your own needs, they will learn to do the same. End the cycle. Give yourselves permission to BOTH be selfish sometimes. Take turns putting your own needs first. And the lube situation MUST change. Seriously. I'd want to cum as fast as I could, too, if sex felt like sandpaper in my vagina (sorry for the imagery), just to get it over with. Using lube is embarrassing if you never had to do it before, but it's hugely helpful once you get over that, and it should not affect your sensitivity whatsoever.

So, TL; DR: 1. Get wife to talk to Ob/Gyn about possible depression and what she can do about that. 2. Make sure your wife FEELS like a sexy woman outside of the bedroom, and she will be more likely to act like one inside of it. 3. Take time for yourselves as a couple, not just Mom and Dad.
posted by misha at 3:30 PM on February 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

One other possibility might be undiagnosed Aspergers. A previous partner had some of the same issues you mention - wanting to just have her orgasm and be done with it, not wanting to do much beyond a few basic positions, not reciprocating very much. Despite me telling her those were problems for me and her saying she understood, nothing changed for very long.

It was only much later that those, and a lot of other issues to do with insensitivity, were somewhat explained when she got a diagnosis on the Aspergers scale (if that's the correct term - maybe Autism spectrum is the term I'm looking for.) The diagnosis didn't solve any of those problems, but it did make things easier to understand.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:33 PM on February 8, 2012

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