Does making love twice week for decades while married realistic?
September 28, 2019 12:23 AM   Subscribe

I've been in multiple relationships with the same sexual frequency trajectory; Hot to cold within 2 years. Is it just the fact of life or am I the problem?

History: I found someone I want to build life with but the sex frequency + passion from her side (I initiate most of the times) has been steadily declining. We've been together for 2 years. Living together for 6 months. Before making any major changes I wanted to do some deep thinking.

I'm in my mid thirties. Ive been in 5 different multi year relationships that followed the same outline. Very hot and frequent sex (multiple times a day, she initiated, being tired/too late/too early didn't matter) the first 1-3 months, then almost daily sex for a year, then around a 2-3 year mark, sex interest and frequency drops from a hill. 2 times a week becomes 1 a week, once every two weeks and so on. My first 5 year marriage broke down from various reasons but the lackluster sex was a major source of stress/resentment and contributor. With my first girlfriend I lost virginity to? Same. 3 year girlfriend after my divorce? Same. My current serious live in partner? Getting there.

About me:
I am relatively good looking, fit, very muscular, dominant in bed, love going down on my partners, always open to explore sexually various kinks and etc. Often get my partner off first before we have piv sex. I would say I'm definitely sex positive. Not saying this to toot my own horn, but just to eliminate any maybe she's not attracted to you any more physically advice.

Now, I know I can't demand sex. I also know that I don't "deserve" sex. I also think that passion cannot be negotiated. Its either there or not. Doing various versions of "Choreplay" seem very humiliating and makes sex transitional instead of a mutual beneficiary passionate activity.

Because it keeps happening to me, I also understand that the problem might lay within me and not my partners, but can't figure what it is...

I understand a popular advice will be: Find someone with compatible sex needs, dummy! But it always starts hot and heavy then comes down to a trickle. Is it just bad luck, 5 in a row? Do I attract a certain type? Is it perhaps something in my behavior? Is it normal?

When I was in my sexless marriage, I used to browse,
The stories there described my situation to a T. If you haven't been at that type of situation its hard to understand how hard and frustrating it is.

To summarize,
1. Is declining passion just a part of life? How do man manage it?
2. Do man and women have intrinsically different sex needs?
3. If 2 is correct, will those needs need to be comprised, met in the middle and negotiated?
4. If that is the case, isn't duty sex "sad", passionless and creates resentment?

I know this is an unsavory topic and might attract some heat but it keeps happening to me and I'm at a loss.

posted by anonymous to Human Relations (29 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

Have you lived with all/most of these women? At what stage have you moved in with them? Are you doing plenty of housework and emotional labour?
posted by EatMyHat at 12:36 AM on September 28, 2019 [18 favorites]

Couple of things come to mind:

(1) People's libidos do wax and wane over time. I was experiencing a down round myself until fairly recently, when suddenly there's been, ah, a resurgence of interest. Why? Honestly, I couldn't tell you. I don't think you can expect anyone to have a consistently high level of interest of sex over an extended period. There will be ups and downs. You'll experience them too, sooner or later.

(2) Nothing sucks the passion out of a relationship like finding that you've been turned into someone's mommy/housekeeper. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you, but your reference to "choreplay" makes me think that you conceive of housework as something you might, optionally, trade for sex, rather than your basic responsibility as a grown adult who ought to die of shame before relying on someone else to take care of his own messes. You can't expect your partner to be enthusiastic about sex after she does a full day's work at work and then another shift of housework while her partner wonders why she's not ready to bone already.

(3) Are you sure your partners have wanted, or want exclusively, a guy who considers himself "dominant in bed?" Some people like that. Some people don't. Some may enjoy it at various times, but don't want an exclusive diet of it. Discussion on this point is key.
posted by praemunire at 12:39 AM on September 28, 2019 [51 favorites]

2. Do man and women have intrinsically different sex needs?

not qualified to answer all of your questions but hi this is your local genderqueer person popping in to give this one in particular a very firm no.
posted by Gymnopedist at 12:56 AM on September 28, 2019 [37 favorites]

You don't mention how attracted you are to her, or how she makes you feel. If you're focused totally on her feelings, then she's missing a key delight: seeing you genuinely thrilled by her.
posted by amtho at 1:28 AM on September 28, 2019 [6 favorites]

Have you asked her all this? How she feels about your sex life?

If you haven't -- or if you have, and she won't give a straight answer -- or if you've asked in a half-assed way, where you're not actually being vulnerable -- then I'd say the problem between you is communication and trust.

Which is what carries you through and enriches you when carnal lust fades, or domesticity presses in.
posted by aw jeez at 1:50 AM on September 28, 2019 [3 favorites]

I have a hunch here (as a woman). You sound like a giving lover who cares about your partner's needs. But just in case this fits: I sense you might be getting caught in a cycle. First, normal passion wanes with domesticity. (This is probably something you do have to accept to a point.) Next, because of your past experience, you start to fear the decline will continue into real sexlessness. Somehow your lady starts to sense you fearing or getting anxious about a shortage to your physical needs. Sex to her starts to feel like she's meeting your physical needs more than something relaxed happening organically between the two of you as a relationship thing. Feeling even slight pressure to be having sex this way -- because one's partner is concerned about their physical needs going unmet -- could possibly make the woman less into it. If this seems possible, try (counterintuitively) to forget about your concern of declining sex (even though it's understandable since your first relationship experienced this.) I wonder if you stop unconsciously communicating your fear of a shortage if you'll give your lady more "space" to step towards you. Give it a little time being very careful not to communicate that you're worried about your physical needs going unmet to recover the better more mutual dynamic.
posted by barnowl at 2:25 AM on September 28, 2019 [12 favorites]

My first marriage broke down in large part due to my husband not meeting my emotional needs in between our physical encounters. Then he'd come up and grab me from behind, when I was doing dishes, for instance, and expect me to just go from zero to 100.

The rest of the time, he took me for granted. Was kind of stingy when it came to things like taking me out to dinner, planning dates, keeping track of the social calendar (family birthdays, etc., all of a sudden I was in charge of remembering his relatives' birthdays, etc.).

Women are like ovens: they need time to heat up, and you can't cook anything in a cold oven. It's the every day little gestures that make it work. Leaving notes, doing chores unasked, bringing home treats or flowers, listening without interrupting or offering advice, giving foot rubs or back rubs with no sexy times expected, picking your dirty clothes up off the floor, rinsing your plate, bringing her dessert if she cooked, things like that.

It's also possible someone may have other things going on, underlying depression, or issues they aren't telling you about. You just have to ask.

Sorry if you already do all of those things, that's all I can think of right now. Good luck!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:11 AM on September 28, 2019 [69 favorites]

I don’t know what this “choreplay” business is, but it seems unlikely that you’re both going to be on the same page all the time. Discussing or planning sex doesn’t make it transactional or joyless, but after a number of years the element of novelty is going to wear off. So if you want to maintain a sex life you probably have to let go of some assumptions and get more practical.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 5:29 AM on September 28, 2019 [6 favorites]

Having been in several multiyear relationships, I think it's a little bit of everything for why sex ebbs, and that on-going honest communication, delighted friendship, and true teamwork carry you through those ebbs until you reach a common flow again. A flow that can be as erotic, satisfying, and fresh as new relationship sex. That can happen, but when sex evaporates and the other elements are not in place, or not recognized, or not valued mutually as much as sex is then, IMO, the downward spiral starts and it's hard to recover from, and people bail. And sort of...rightfully bail. You need to be partners on the more mundane mechanics of relationships (which, as pointed out several times above, must to take into account for het couples, the power dynamics of a capitalist and patriarchal culture) and if you're not both all in on that, it's a painful slog.
posted by cocoagirl at 5:31 AM on September 28, 2019 [5 favorites]

Often get my partner off first before we have piv sex
This sounds like something someone would want in theory, but think about how much you want sex after you're done. Maybe things are slowing down because sex with you is demanding, exhausting. If it's a Whole Thing every time demanding a high level of passion and performance, she might need some time to psych herself up for it and recover after.
Try being chill. Try being done when she's done. Try that thing where you're cuddling and kind of having sex but then give up because nap. Domestic sex can be good in its own right, kind and fine and cozy, and maybe then more frequent. 7 years in, still averaging daily.
posted by Freyja at 6:22 AM on September 28, 2019 [37 favorites]

I also think that passion cannot be negotiated. Its either there or not. Doing various versions of "Choreplay" seem very humiliating and makes sex transitional instead of a mutual beneficiary passionate activity.

Maybe you can expand on what you mean here. To me this reads like “when my partner says she needs help/attention from me outside the bedroom, I don’t see how it relates to sex.”

I can only say that for me, it all relates. Say we’re talking about hiking instead of sex. If my husband is like “it’s a gorgeous day! Let’s go for a hike!” And my head is full of the unwashed laundry, the food going mouldy in the fridge, and the weeds in the driveway, adding a hike on feels like not just another to do list item and I know I’m going to come back and have to stay up to 11 flipping loads of laundry. So I’m pre-exhausted. If, on the other hand, he says “it’s a gorgeous day! Let’s clean the fridge out and I’ll stay up and do the laundry tonight,” then I can both focus on the hike...and frankly, even if the weeds stay in the driveway, I feel close and warm because we are a team.

From your post it sounds like you are treating sex as if it’s distinct from your whole relationship- a “mutually beneficial activity” rather than a connection and closeness. And it sounds like you see bids for help/connnection as transactional.

Married 25 years, no bed death yet.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:25 AM on September 28, 2019 [56 favorites]

This Often get my partner off first before we have piv sex.

And your use of the word ‘choreplay’ suggest that you’re possibly not actually listening to why your partner wants or needs.

For me, sometimes when I’ve had an orgasm, I am done. Other times, I want more. Every time I have ever felt like my partner having a good time was contingent on them feeling like I had ‘orgasmed enough’ (whether intensity, duration, number of times, or enthusiasm of uh, performance) was not a great time for me. This is a tough one, because there are also lots of partners out there who are totally unconcerned about the pleasure their partner takes in sex.

My suggestion is to move the needle to checking that your partner is having a good time. Ask how they want you to touch them. Suggest ways for them to touch you. Tell them what they’re doing feels good on your [body part].

As for the choreplay.

Make a list of everything you think needs to be done in a home. Start doing all of those things. Do that for a month. Don’t mention to your partner that you’re doing it. Don’t be disappointed that your partner is not mentioning what you’re doing. If your partner tells you that you’re missing a spot on the grout, using the wrong tool, burning their shirts with the iron, whatever, thank them for letting you know. And this is the hard part. Do not make your partner show you how to do these things. Get on the internet. Order the right tools or find them in your home. Watch how to videos. Learn how to do the thing.

Continue doing the housework. All. Of. It. No time? Hire someone at a fair wage.

Ask your partner what else needs to be done. There are filters that ought to be changed at specific intervals and things that need dusting (fan blades!) and hair to be pulled out of drains so they don’t run slowly. So much of housework is invisible until it’s utterly disgusting. Do the jobs before they are gross.

Social calendar has been mentioned above. This falls into stuff that needs doing around the home. Do you invite people over/entertain? Figure out how to shop and prepare for that. And then clean up after.

I’m not promising these things will improve your sex life, because every relationship is different.

Grab a copy of the Five Love Languages. Read it seriously. There’s a bit of Heteronornative stuff in there that isn’t right for every relationship so take what works for you. The most important part of the books is this: show your partner love in the way that they tell you they feel loved. Might be hand holding, or back rubs, or small pats on the butt as you walk past. Could be you organizing a night at the movies followed by dinner somewhere you know she loves. Could be small gifts like a leaf or a rock you saw on a walk that made you think of her. Could be regular flowers whose water you freshen daily, taking the spent stems out so the bouquet stays nice. Could be telling them every day without fail that you find them attractive and strong and brave. Could be getting their car filled with gas so they never have to pump their own.

Don’t decide that the things your partner likes are shallow or too time consuming or irrational. Figure out a way to make it work. I’m guessing from your attempts at choreplay thy your partner feels very strongly about acts of service as a love language, but I can’t guess in which direction.
posted by bilabial at 7:02 AM on September 28, 2019 [14 favorites]

In the past, when I was sexually active, my libido pattern with a new partner started off incredibly hot 'n heavy (like multiple times a day) and gradually declined over time until 1x per month would have been plenty.

Part of that was relationship stuff, and part of it was the normal decline in interest that I think most people go through when a previously unmet desire becomes regularly met (no matter how hungry you are when you get to the buffet, eventually you are going to stop wanting to fill your plate- your appetite is satisfied). But also, part of it was just plain boredom. Regardless of the skill or quality of the sex itself, the thrilling adrenaline rush of novelty does wear off and people become, if not necessarily predictable, then a known quantity, and all of the day-to-day life stuff starts to feel a lot more important than the sex stuff.

For me, the best way to deal with this was to simply not have access to it for a while. My ideal relationship is with someone who is away a lot, or who is willing to have periods of time when sex is purely off the table, to restart that adrenaline. A bit of fast-then-feast.

Another thing that shakes things up for some folks is doing new, and sometimes adrenaline-inducing, activities together. Not necessarily new stuff in bed, just- new or different stuff in life. Shaking out of the ordinary rut a little. The day-to-day can be a grind; if sex is only part of the day-to-day it can get associated with the grind.

On that note- when the day-to-day is a grind, some people find it easier to prepare themselves to get in the mood if they can have a little time to get ready for it. For a lot of people, this means scheduling sex and/or scheduling a period of alone time/ rest time/ date time beforehand. It may not sound exciting or romantic but having an hour or two to yourself to put all of life's stress out of your mind and get in the right headspace for intimacy can be really helpful for some people. I know this sounds like the opposite of all that adrenaline stuff I was talking about before, but it really isn't; it's still about having the mental and emotional space to change gears.

I am relatively good looking, fit, very muscular, dominant in bed, love going down on my partners, always open to explore sexually various kinks and etc. Often get my partner off first before we have piv sex. I would say I'm definitely sex positive

That's great and everything but it sounds like you read a manual about what makes a man desirable and started checking stuff off the list. Which is fine in theory, but in practise, in a relationship, doesn't mean much. Sex is a mutual, relational activity, not an A grade you can earn. Maybe you need to rethink the way you concieve of sexuality a little. These aren't hookups, they are relationships. Do you know that these things are specifically important to your specific partner? What is important to your partner? That's what will make or break your sex life, not how muscular you are.
posted by windykites at 7:51 AM on September 28, 2019 [15 favorites]

This is normal and you should expect it in the long haul of life, tbh. When/if your partner gets pregnant and gives birth, you will by necessity and doctor’s orders have to go at least a couple months without sex. This goes for each kid. So yes, you will have multiple months without sex in a LTR with kids. Same for any major surgeries, health issues, etc. The idea that sex will happen twice a week or more for the rest of your life and this is normal and good is wrong. What will happen is dry spells followed by “catch up” spells. Honestly, it may be better that way because twice a week sex becomes routine, while dry/hot spells tend to be more hot during the hot phases. Eventually your libido will slow down with age, too.

Instead of being saddened by this, just expect it and go with it. There are work arounds, but they generally involve throwing money at the problem. Hire a maid, hire a babysitter, book a fancy hotel in a charming town for a weekend getaway. Outsource as much as you can so you have actual romantic time.

You probably don’t remember, but I’m almost certain at the beginning of these relationships you were putting in more effort. Nice dinners out, cleaning your place before she came over, working hard to impress her. Flowers, that sort of thing.

You will almost undoubtedly still get more sex in a LTR than you would switching partners all the time, because there will be dry spells in between partners with the later strategy that over time will even out to longer time without sex.
posted by stockpuppet at 7:52 AM on September 28, 2019 [7 favorites]

If I were with someone that considered equitable distribution of labor (domestic and mental load) as "choreplay" then sex would quickly become another obligation on my to do list and I wouldn't enjoy it so I'd do it less, because I doubt someone that thinks this way is proactive about sharing those responsibilities.

Also, leisure gap is a thing for me. I'm less likely to be in the mood if my downtime has to be filled with family concerns while my partner's downtime is filled with relaxing fun just for him. Taking over extra family concerns so my downtime can also be just for me is a great thing. It's not about tit for tat. It's about I can't feel sexy in maid/parent/personal shopper mode.
posted by crunchy potato at 7:55 AM on September 28, 2019 [36 favorites]

Kudos to you for realizing that you are the common denominator here.
You mentioned your looks and how you’re a giving partner in bed - and that’s great! In a Tinder date and Friends with Benefits scenario. But in a long term relationship, those aren’t the long-term turn-ons. It’s the non-sex related everyday things that keeps someone attractive in the long term. the things you do for your partner and your relationship day in and day out without even considering sex. Being considerate and attentive, bringing home their favorite food/drink from the store without expecting a prize in return, taking them to their favorite restaurant (again, no expectation of sex afterwards), giving them lots of attention, etc. That is what makes you attractive.

As far as sex drive, women vary just as much as men in the “amount necessary” camp.
posted by Neekee at 8:00 AM on September 28, 2019 [15 favorites]

I cannot favorite this enough times.
Also, leisure gap is a thing for me. I'm less likely to be in the mood if my downtime has to be filled with family concerns while my partner's downtime is filled with relaxing fun just for him. Taking over extra family concerns so my downtime can also be just for me is a great thing. It's not about tit for tat. It's about I can't feel sexy in maid/parent/personal shopper mode.
This is what I mean with my instructions to take on the house stuff. All of it that you can find. Forever. If your partner notices you doing all the dishes and the laundry, say, with genuine affection in your voice and body language, "hey, wasn't there a show you mentioned wanting to catch up on?" or "Would you like me to run a bath for you?"

You will likely (Likely! Do not come at me with "not all men" or "actually I do 75 percent, we timed it") still not even be doing one half of the things needed to run a home.

For instance, are you wiping out the sticky spots in the refrigerator at least once a month? Ever taking every single thing out of a fridge or cabinet, checking expiration dates, tossing things, making a list of what to cook this week to use up things? Can you say off the top of your head about how much is left on the roll of garbage bags for your kitchen trash can? (I bought a new box three weeks ago, which means I've probably used 7 to 10 out of a 40 bag roll, I can visualize how it rattles in the box now). If your partner asked you to pick up new underpants for them, could you even guess which store to go to? Could your partner make such a purchase for you?
posted by bilabial at 9:36 AM on September 28, 2019 [24 favorites]

Lots of intimacy problems are exasperated by communication problems, for instance, relying on non-verbal cues instead of conversation. "How about sex later?" is not in everyone's lexicon.

Also, I know that some couples assume that spontaneous desire is the best, but it make work out better to plan ahead. A schedule may seem calculated, but "every Tuesday" is a lot better than "never".
posted by SemiSalt at 10:12 AM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

2. Do man and women have intrinsically different sex needs? NO.

Have all of these relationships involved cohabitation? Because, in my opinion, nothing kills desire like living with someone.
posted by HotToddy at 10:27 AM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think human beings of any/no gender have sex needs that vary widely, not just from person to person but moment to moment and circumstance to circumstance.

Everybody's touched on the big emotional labor issues, those are a huge deal, so I'm just going to touch on an attitude you present in your post: do you know for sure every time whether she wants to be gone down on? Do you know every time whether she actually wants piv sex at that time? Are you just operating from a script that doesn't take feedback or require reading the room? How much active ongoing consent is there in your "dominance"? Have you crossed lines with your partners and not recognized it or refused to make amends/do better? Do you expect them to provide you sex on your timetable with or without warning, regardless of whether they can or want to make the gear-switch at that time? Are your partners given enough alone time to pursue their own interests and actual relaxation, so that there's room to fill themselves up so there's something to share with you?

Duty sex, as far as I'm concerned, is rape. Someone having sex with you not because they want to but because you want some is not really a vibrant kind of consent and should not be a thing you want another person to do. Negotiating someone into giving you sex is wrong. Set yourself up a nice little masturbatorium for when a body needs release and you don't want to demand it from someone who doesn't want to be a release-supplier at that moment, and then go for a walk or have a nice dinner without screens for connection and intimacy.

For actual longevity, spend some time getting to know more about what your partner's actual desires are, including all the physical and emotional roadblocks in her life that make sex uncomfortable, unappealing, or not feasible, and really take in that some of those things are not yours to change but just boundaries to respect. (Just as one example: many menstruating people suffer one or more days of really awful diarrhea as a premenstrual or menstrual-onset symptom. Lots of people don't feel like having or dealing with the practicalities of sex when they've got the shits.)

I find that there's a fair number of people, with men well represented, out there who identify as kinky or dominant in part because it gives them a script to follow instead of having to connect from a place of vulnerability and understanding. Don't be that, if you have been that. You can sometimes get away with it in the high energy of early limerence, but it quickly turns into line-crossing as that energy by necessity returns closer to normal daily functioning.

I agree that cohabitation is hell on desire, mostly because of all the caretaking/mothering/domestic imbalance everyone is talking about, but also because cohabitation kills anticipation, and anticipation is a huge component of desire for a lot of people including the ones who are just less likely to be able to go 0 to 100 on a dime. We have such a mythology about spontaneous sex being the best sex, but that is largely sexist bullshit meant to coerce women or lower-status people into never saying no. It's not going to magically fix everything to put alone-connection-time blocks on your calendars, but that should be a thing that is part of the toolbox of mindfully and deliberately building an intimacy practice in your relationship that, among many other things, improves sexual intimacy over a long relationship.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:42 PM on September 28, 2019 [16 favorites]

Gently, I wish to note this question carries a lot of the framing, vocabulary, assumptions, and attitudes of /r/DeadBedrooms, which certainly feel validating for the higher-libido partner, but I’m not sure that they are ultimately very useful in resolving the problem.

Sex can start to feel like a task you have to do for someone else’s sake, a duty you should fulfill, a performance you have to give. Even if you wind up enjoying it, you can still spend the whole time in your head judging yourself about whether you’re performing enjoyment well enough. Whether you should be moving things along faster or slower, whether you should be taking more initiative, whether you’re doing the right things to give your partner pleasure, whether your body is responding in the right ways. Does he expect me to be more turned on by now? Does he expect me to do X thing now? Should I be touching him differently now?

Then, it’s like anything else that makes you feel self-conscious and anxious — you start trying to avoid it.

This isn’t an inherent property of any gender, nor of relationship length. It has more to do with personality type. If you’re prone to overthink things and tend to get self-conscious and anxious about performance otherwise, it might happen. Knowing that your partner is upset about it just makes it worse, because it adds a load of guilt.

I want to recommend the book Come As You Are. It contains the useful metaphor of our “sex drive” actually having both accelerator and brakes. To get going, you have to not only push the accelerator, but also take off the brakes. Self-consciousness can be a big brick on the brake pedal.

The book has some worksheets to help you and your partner work through identifying your accelerator and brakes — for example, through remembering several sexual encounters you enjoyed and didn’t enjoy, and finding patterns.
posted by snowmentality at 4:44 PM on September 28, 2019 [12 favorites]

I will excoriated for this, but whatever. In my experience/observation, this is very common for women, and the reason is that the familiarity and mundanity of living together kills the female sex drive over time, while the male sex drive is less... choosy. Like men will likely be interested in whatever sex is available, and women typically need to have some excitement to get interested, and it's just not there in the context of most long term couples.

People will insist it's not true that married women generally want less sex or that it's somehow your fault but there's a reason a wife saying "not tonight honey I have a headache" is an old trope.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:13 PM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

How is your partnered life different 2-3 years in? Do you still go out to dinner, movies, museums, a nice bike ride? Do you still just goof around sometime? Do you go away for a weekend just to get away and be together? Do you laze about in bed all day just to have a lazy day?

Because if that new relationship energy and effort have worn off and now it's breakfast, work, dinner, sleep, chores, work, lunch, sleep, chores, etc. then I can see how one's sex drive could wear down. Intimacy is a big part of sex and intimacy comes in many forms. If you aren't cultivating intimacy, fond memories, fun, kindness, then you probably won't end up with as much sex as you both probably want.
posted by brookeb at 9:38 PM on September 28, 2019 [3 favorites]

dominant in bed,
always open to explore sexually various kinks and etc.


Doing various versions of "Choreplay" seem very humiliating and makes sex transitional instead of a mutual beneficiary passionate activity.

so much for always being down to explore. I can only guess what you mean by "choreplay" but I think I know. and what I am getting from juxtaposing these two sentiments is that humiliation for you is a strictly one-way street and you really, really don't like it when your partner wants to drive the other way.

dominant in bed

you can pass this off as hot and sexy to a lot of random women for a short time, but it gets old so fast you wouldn't believe it. If you're meeting your partners by advertising yourself this way and them coming to find you because they're specifically looking for someone who thinks of himself as "dominant," that's great and enlightened and the problem lies elsewhere. but if you're not? if you're just doing regular old meet-greet-date-fuck and start "dominating" somewhere along the way? this is it.
posted by queenofbithynia at 11:07 PM on September 28, 2019 [6 favorites]

There's a reason every man you talk to is all "women just be that way" and every woman-identified person here is saying to do chores. It's not cohabitation that kills desire, it's caretaking. We tend to infantilize anything/anyone we have to do "humiliating" life-sustaining tasks for. You see it with nurses and patients, with zoologists rehabbing tigers, and with like every old married couple you know. For various reasons (evolutionary, psychological, emotional, logistical, pick your fave!), it's harder for your partner to see you as a strong dominant man in the bedroom if she mostly sees you as her large adult son in the living room.
posted by Freyja at 3:47 AM on September 29, 2019 [50 favorites]

I think also you have a fundamental misunderstanding about what makes 'dominance' attractive in general. It's not a thing you do in bed that has no relation to your life. It's, specifically, a commitment to caring so much about what the other person wants that you are going to make it happen without them having to ask for it or detail it. And caring when you get it wrong, and adjusting so that you are continuously making life /and/ sex better and better for the person in your life.

I also think that passion cannot be negotiated. Its either there or not. Doing various versions of "Choreplay" seem very humiliating and makes sex transitional instead of a mutual beneficiary passionate activity.

This makes it sound like you're actually not that dominant. You know what the women you're in relationships want (you to pull more of your weight around the house) but for some reason you're not delivering it. That says to these women that you're either incompetent at these tasks and unwilling to get competent (not very dominant at all) or you just don't give a shit about their wants and needs (in which case, why should they want to fuck you?)

And you're assuming that because you're good looking and committed to giving women orgasms that there's no way they couldn't be attracted to you and they must just have low libidos. This is lazy thinking. It's the thinking that you should just be able to show up and that should be enough, that you shouldn't have to do any work, that you should just be rewarded with everything you want just for existing. That's not sexy. Laziness is not sexy.

Go do the work of figuring out what your partner wants and making it happen - in her life, not just the bedroom - and I promise you, it's likely this problem will improve.
posted by corb at 8:18 AM on September 29, 2019 [17 favorites]

I personally had an 18-year relationship that included sex at least twice a week, but from what I can tell from my friends, this is pretty unusual.

There is actually some research evidence that supports fingersandtoes's comment that women are more likely to lose interest not necessarily in sex in general, but in sex with the same person. What do your partners say about their declining interest?

Minor point: I've been with a lot of men who think they're doing me a favor because they're getting me off first, but sometimes I want to get off LAST because I want to just roll over and go to sleep after I come. They always want to do that, which means sex ends when they come, but I'd like to get to do that too!

I'm opposed to monogamy, and this is one reason for it; it's silly to throw away a good relationship because sex isn't working out, but it's also silly to feel sexually deprived forever. Why is serial monogamy your preference?
posted by metasarah at 9:25 AM on September 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm surprised that no one's mentioned the pebble jar. It's a metaphor for the usual (not inevitable) decline of sexual relations in a long-term relationship: if you put a pebble in a jar every time you have sex for the first two years of a relationship, and then take a pebble out every time you do it thereafter, the jar will never be empty.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:42 PM on October 1, 2019

Phew. All due respect, but if you're using the posts at the Dead Bedrooms subreddit as advice or as a yardstick for evaluating your relationship, I'd posit that you've taken in a whole lot of toxic conditioning.

I'd advise really evaluating your contributions to maintaining your shared home, because as so many people upthread have said, nothing kills desire faster than living with someone who doesn't pull their weight or thinks that equally (or more than equally) contributing to the maintenance of the household they live in means they should expect hot, passionate sex. The reference to "choreplay" doesn't exactly strike a great note here -- the work of maintaining your shared home is your responsibility as a grown-ass man, not chores handed down from your stern mommy, so the sooner you break yourself of that mental association, the better.

Also, honestly? Yes, passion is fleeting. If your expectation of sex is that it always be passionate, kinky, and happening the instant a spark is felt with no regard for timing the way you describe the early phase of relationships... my dude, your expectations need a HUGE adjustment. The early days of a sexual relationship are called the honeymoon period for a reason -- your partner's body and sexuality are new and fascinating, and you're learning about what gets each other off. It's inevitable that this pesky thing we call real life will eventually interfere with just throwing down and fucking like animals the instant your loins feel that tingle.

Sometimes, YES, sex has to be scheduled -- that's why parents and other very busy couples do this thing called date night, because between work and family and friends and social obligations and home maintenance and other activities (how many hours a week are you spending in the gym devoting to keeping your very muscular body in its current form, and what do you give up to make that happen?), there sometimes just aren't enough hours in the day and you have to make a conscious effort to make time for certain things. But here's the thing, if you've got time to sit around wondering why you're not having more sex, you probably have time to take some tasks off of your partner's to-do list.
posted by palomar at 7:50 AM on October 3, 2019 [4 favorites]

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