My wife and I have been together for 7 years, married for 4.5. I am crazy in love with her and completely devoted to her. There is just this one nagging (big) problem and it's killing me...
July 12, 2006 5:22 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I have been together for 7 years, married for 4.5. I am crazy in love with her and completely devoted to her. There is just this one nagging (big) problem and it's killing me...

She has no sex drive and hasn't since we've been together. She told me recently that she could go about her business every day without ever thinking about sex and never notice. When we make love it is great, she seems into it at the time, but she rarely initiates (when she does it seems just to appease me), and never has had an orgasm (except once, dry-humping with a previous boyfriend (ARRRRGHHHHH!!!!!).

We make love usually once or twice a week. Of course I would like it more, but the frequency is not the problem. She just never seems into it, and I can't help but feel that when we do it, she is just going through the motions for me. She never takes any intiative during sex, she usually just lays there and I do all the work. She seems to enjoy it, but not as much as I wish she did. We are both very busy, her in grad school, me working. We also have a 4 month old. She is a runner, 35+ miles a week. That is probably where her testosterone is going.

We have tried it all. Tried different pills, nuva ring, going completely off the pill and using condoms. No difference. I have tried working on the emotional end - making her feel beautiful and sexy (that's easy), cooking her dinner, romance, etc - these things will get her into bed (because she feels obligated?), but they don't seem to help with the libido. I was hoping after the baby her sex drive would change, it stayed the same. We are rapidly approaching the age when women are supposedly at their sexual peak, but I don't have high hopes for that either.

We talk about it. She feels bad. When I make a move and am rejected, I am upset, she feels bad, I feel bad, we argue and then the next day we both feel like shit all day (welcome to my day today.) She says she is busy and stressed out, and I am receptive to that (so am I), but I tell her this has been going on too long and it's time we really did something about it. Our latest solution (or step towards one) is for her to go talk to her OBGYN about it. Making an appointment has been an issue, she is trying to find a time, but this morning she said that she can't and it's not a priority for her. I tell her it should be because this is more important than work or school or career. more fighting and feeling like shit.

I feel horrible. I feel like I am trying to force her into something she doesn't want to do, but this is something she is supposed to want to do. I don't think I could ever cheat on her, but I am a man and I want to have sex with a horny girl. I have never threatened to cheat or leave or anything. Outside of this issue our marriage is amazing, we communicate well about everything, but I don't think she understands me about this and I can't help but feel like she doesn't care. She says she has a problem, and feels like there is something wrong with her, and she wants to make it better, but then she does nothing and nothing changes.

I refuse to give up and just resign us to a boring sex life. I don't want to be another unhappy and horny married man. I want hot sex with the woman I love.

Has anyone out there had a similar situation and successfully fixed it? Do we need counseling? If it's unfixable from an mental standpoint, has anyone tried Zestra? Does it work? Is there a miracle pill? Help!!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (55 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

I am incredibly sympathetic to your frustrating situation. You have already tried more than I have experience with, but I have a bit of feedback to your posting.

I want hot sex with the woman I love.

Focus on this as your goal. You want hot sex, and you want it to be hot for you. Don't worry overly much about whether it's hot for her. Her needs are what they are, and they're different from your needs. You can still get your needs met, but you can't change her needs or invent needs she doesn't have.

Focus less on trying to change her sex drive. If she's going through the motions for you, that's something. Don't undervalue her patience and efforts to please you. Do your absolutel best to really enjoy them. I understand that you want her to be hot for it also but that's just something you may not be able to change.

It sounds like you are in fact having some level of hot sex with the woman you love. But there's a psychological need in YOU for her to be/feel/act different. You scream in agony at the thought of her coming with a previous bf. Let it go, man. They're her orgasms, not yours.

It really sounds like you're worked up over this and are likely creating stress for you and her. Stress and guilt and shame can be antithetical to sexual arousal, so try to get over this hurdle psychologically and let go of any surrounding insecurities, etc. Counselling may help you do that.

Perhaps if you can better accept the conditions you're dealing with now, you can maximize pleasure for both of you in the short run, and leave the door open for spontaneous breakthroughs in the future. From what I know of female sexuality, it's impossible to make it do anything. It's like a cat. It will come out from under the bed when it is good and ready.

I wish you lots of luck and it does sound in general like you are at the point where professional help would be good. I would not rule out any source of help on this. Try it all: herbs, yoga, accupuncture... you never know.
posted by scarabic at 5:37 PM on July 12, 2006

Pressuring her to make an appointment because you are jumping to the conclusion that it's a medical problem probably isn't helping. She knows she's not as into sex as you are - she already feels bad, and you telling her it's more important for you to have sex than her work or school or career isn't particularly useful. If I were in a relationship where I had sex once or twice a week, my partner made more demands for sex than I wanted (for whatever reason), my partner was making a big deal about seeing a doctor (implying there is something wrong with me), and the approach-rejection-argument-feel bad cycle playing out frequently, I wouldn't want to have sex either - much less get relaxed enough to have an orgasm. How would you feel if she kept pressuring you to see your doctor because "he wants sex all the time, I wonder if he is a sex addict and there's a pill he can take to keep him from wanting sex all the time - he's not 18 anymore, and way past his sexual peak, he's supposed to want it less"?

This is probably going to sound harsh, but your entire post sounds like you are pressuring her enormously. Why do you think this is something she is supposed to want to do? Everybody is different. This is very important to you, but I think you have to find a different way to talk about it with her. Perhaps couples counselling might be a way to go - get some help talking about some of the other issues that might be leading to your disconnect. Focus on how you can work together to make your sexual relationship better, instead of assuming that it's all her problem and the right medical solution will fix it.
posted by Cyrie at 5:43 PM on July 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

Get to a therapist. Not her--you. An objective professional can help you evaluate how you're reacting, how she's reacting, and constructive ways for you to change the former. You say everything else about your marriage is great, thgat you're excellent communicators--and yet it seems the two of you can't communicate about sex, which is clearly a big deal.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:47 PM on July 12, 2006

You've been with your wife for seven years and she's never had an orgasm? I think that's your problem right there.
posted by bethm at 5:53 PM on July 12, 2006

but this is something she is supposed to want to do.

Not necessarily. She just might not have much of a sex drive. You said she's never had much of a sex drive, there are just some people like that. It seems to me that you take her uninterest in sex very personally when it's obvious that it's not personal, it's not that she doesn't want sex with you, she probably doesn't want sex with anyone.

As far as hoping it would change after the baby? You're kidding, right? Almost always it goes the other way, she's a hoochie before the baby, then turns into a nun afterwards.

Sex twice a week isn't a bad amount really, that's more than some people ever get (with a 3 year old that still sleeps with us, we're lucky for once a month), and well, she's not always turning you down, that should count for something.
posted by hollygoheavy at 6:02 PM on July 12, 2006

Making an appointment has been an issue, she is trying to find a time, but this morning she said that she can't and it's not a priority for her.

If I was in your situation, I would respond that in that case, you need to discuss changing your relationship in a way that you're willing to live with: separation, divorce, an open marriage, whatever. Heck, maybe one of those things is what she wants.

But then, I like to think I wouldn't be in your situation, because you already married her and had a kid with her, and stayed with her for seven years. At this point, it's not a big surprise that she thinks she doesn't have to give any ground on this issue. She didn't before you made so many commitments to her, so why should she now?

Look. I see that you're a nice guy and you are not in any way implying that she doesn't have the right to refuse. On the other hand, you have the right to be with someone who wants to have sex with you. You should have started looking for her much earlier, but life is short, you only live once, and there are a lot of women out there who enjoy sex. Let her know that you want to be with one of them, one way or the other.

If that's unthinkable to you, then suck it up.
posted by bingo at 6:10 PM on July 12, 2006

We are both very busy, her in grad school, me working. We also have a 4 month old.

Wow. I'm amazed you have spare time to do anything other than sleep. These are some stressful times for all three of you. When you have a new baby, especially the first baby, that is so not the time to be making assumptions and extrapolations about the future. Take two aspirins and call us back when the baby's a year old.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 6:23 PM on July 12, 2006

What AmbroseChapel said. Stress, childcare, and exhaustion are serious demotivators, sexually-speaking. I didn't want anything to do with sex for ages after giving birth. Also: you mention various birth control methods, but not whether you've tried a vibrator. If not, that might make things more exciting for her.
posted by fish tick at 6:43 PM on July 12, 2006

bethm +1. Also, stress and sleep deprivation.

Randomly, though, the summer I did a ton of Bikram yoga (the kind where they heat the room), my libido totally changed. HMMV -- I was always cold before that, so it kinda makes sense that it "warmed me up" in more ways than one. To get at anything like that, she could try a chinese medicine consultation about diet, lifestyle, acupuncture.

You could get a consultation, too, or meditate or something. Chill out your sex drive or at least understand why it's so insistent. I hate to suggest you dissect your brain/body like that, but you want her to do the same thing.
posted by ruff at 6:45 PM on July 12, 2006

Go down on her, seriously. It's not very hard to do. Just remember that it's about applying waves of pressure to her clit with your tongue.
posted by blasdelf at 7:22 PM on July 12, 2006

Wow, this is familiar to me as well (minus the kids).

I can't conceive of my partner's lack of sex drive, she just doesn't think about it. Quite enjoys it while it's happening, just doesn't think about it.

Email me (address is in my profile) if you want to chat about it.
posted by tomble at 7:34 PM on July 12, 2006

You may get something out of these past AskMe questions, which are various flavors of unbalanced sex drives in a relationship and addressing/finding the root problem:

...there's one big problem in the relationship. Sex. It's very important to me, but not at all to her. (this I think is especially important to read, many many good answers, my answer to your question now would actually be the same as I gave in that thread)

The girlfriend has lost her sex drive, and mine is higher than ever. Help!

I'm not as attracted to her as she is to me. What should I do? (the other perspective of your problem, perhaps?)

Have any of you experienced (or noticed in your male partner) an extremely low libido for long periods of time? How did you and your partner get through it? What did you do to combat it?

What are the sexual obligations, if any, of a husband or wife?

and finally,

How do I give my lady friend an orgasm?

I point these out both so you can see that you are not the only one struggling with this "classic" problem, as well as to give you the resources and ideas brought up previously, to add to the comments you will have on this thread.
posted by nelleish at 7:39 PM on July 12, 2006 [3 favorites]

but not whether you've tried a vibrator

Seriously. Vibrator. Man, I wouldn't be that into sex either if I had only had one orgasm ever. Damn. I doubt it would turn her into a sex machine, but it would be a nice thing anyway.
posted by ch1x0r at 7:40 PM on July 12, 2006

Also, if she's on any chemical birth control medications, know that that can also severely alter a libido (never mind the stresses in your life you're currently facing). For many women, oral contraceptives can all but stomp out a sex drive, which for some is very effective as a contraceptive, but seemingly counterintuitive as well.
posted by cajo at 7:44 PM on July 12, 2006

Send her for a day at the spa, or just take the baby for a day and let her do whatever she wants. When my daughter was 4 months old, and to some extent, even now, I would be so touched out at the end of the day. She always wanted to be held, and there was all the feeding and changing and the overwhelming feeling of having a little person be so totally dependent on me. Sex was absolutely the last thing I wanted, because I needed to feel that my body was mine, especially so soon after growing a baby for nine months. So give her some time to relax and be her own person again. She'll be happier, and you might be the luckier for it.
posted by Ruki at 8:03 PM on July 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

It's pretty hard to offer any advice if we don't know when this started - is it a recent thing or not? Then again its reasonably obvious that you knew your (at the time) gf had a low-sex drive, or that you weren't doing it for her, as the above never-had-an-orgasm/7 year thing suggets. If this were an issue, surely you'd have dealt with it way before you'd have got married?

From the use of language in your post it seems, to me, that sex is something you view you can get by doing or saying certain thing. As if the correct tick boxes where ticked, but the desired result was not returned, and you are unable to see why.
posted by toby\flat2 at 8:09 PM on July 12, 2006

You have sex twice a week with a 4 month old and you are complaining? Come back when you get to twice a month and you MIGHT get a little sympathy.
posted by any major dude at 8:09 PM on July 12, 2006 [2 favorites]

yikes! that doesn't read very well does it.
posted by any major dude at 8:11 PM on July 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

Can you honestly discuss your technique with her? Maybe you're just not doing what she wants done, or maybe she just doesn't know what she wants or needs to get off.

Would she be receptive to watching porn together?

And also, this probably goes without saying and I'm sure you've got it covered, but are you showered, shaved, breath fresh and wearing something more appealing than grungy boxers and holey gray sweatpants when you try to initiate something? Ideally, none of that would matter, but you already know it's not ideal already, so extra effort in the hygiene department may help.

And also, seconding the advice above about her possibly being all "touched out", especially if she's breastfeeding.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:15 PM on July 12, 2006

let me ask all of you who are answering here:

if this problem was clear from the very beginning, would you say that maybe getting married isn't recommended?

I don't mean to suggest one way or the other. I'm pointedly curious.

Also, I wish you luck, anonymous, whatever the solution turns out to be.
posted by cloudscratcher at 8:18 PM on July 12, 2006

Cut a deal. You want sex probably several times a week; see if you can agree on a frequency that is okay with her like once a week or every other week, while still meeting at least some of your need. Then don't ask or negotiate - seduce. Try to clear some of the stressors, like making sure the baby is bathed and settled. Then make sure the sheets are clean, light candles, pour her some wine, and seduce her. Obviously, she can say No, but you're trying to woo her, not pressure or guilt her.

Then do not pressure her, at all, until the next agreed on time. It could be a scheduled time, like every Saturday night, or not. She can feel that she's being generous; you can enjoy making love to this woman you're crazy about. Yeah, it's kind of unromantic.

Read the threads posted, read Joy of Sex, or whatever you crazy kids read these days for how-tos on sex. Get her a vibrator, get great at oral, become a fabulous lover. You ar unlikely to change her sex drive, but the 2 of you can find a way to love each other that you can both live with.
posted by theora55 at 8:23 PM on July 12, 2006

Seriously. Vibrator.

Not so fast. Give her a vibrator and you remove any reason for her to have sex with him at all. Maybe if you lay down some groundrules, like no using the vibrator without having sex, you might be alright.

If your problem was that she already had a great sex drive, but couldn't ever achieve orgasm with "basic" sex, then yeah, go with a vibrator. But if she's currently not terribly interested in having sex, handing her something that makes you all but redundant isn't going to necessarily have the happy ending some people here might hope.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:35 PM on July 12, 2006

Okay, getting out of the 'she's got no sex drive' and 'it's a (birth control) chemical problem' areas...

Have you tried just having foreplay for a very long time with the understanding that there will be no actual sex? (If you need release, go to the bathroom and get it, but do not take that extra step, even if she seems to want it.)

Have you perhaps tried the method of (gently) tying her up, blindfolding her, and then going for the foreplay? (Some women apparently need to feel that they are not in control of the situation, and therefore can relax and enjoy. I'm not saying this is your wife's problem, but it's one avenue to explore, if you're both willing. Especially if she's seemed at all adverse to receiving oral. Many, many women believe that this is something that all men are disgusted by and therefore can't really let go.)

If you concentrate completely on her, it's possible that she won't feel pressured, and not feeling pressured, she may open up. OTOH, it's possible that she has no sex drive. It happens. Also, you don't say how old the two of you are. Many women come into their own in their mid to late 30s. It's as if something inside suddenly says "Hey. I deserve to enjoy this in the way that I need.

No matter what, I wish you very good luck. And know that no matter what, the woman obviously loves you very much and wants to make you happy.
posted by Meep! Eek! at 8:38 PM on July 12, 2006

The OP has said frequency isn't a problem, it's the interest his partner shows that is the issue.

Deciding a time to do it sounds odd and wrong and horrible, I can't imagine it. The best things happen unscheduled.

I really can't think of a better way of putting this, and I have thought about it for quite a while, but my advice would be to put your head between your girls legs until she knows you mean it. I can't help but think based on what you've written that you are (probably unintentionally) dominating the relationship you have, but regret it at the same time. It's easy and inevitable to think someone weak when you actually are making them weak.

Then again, this sort of question is impossible to answer without more information; without we grope around in the dark.
posted by toby\flat2 at 8:46 PM on July 12, 2006

She has no sex drive and hasn't since we've been together.

If this means since the very inception of your relationship, it really seems a bit late to be starting to address this as an issue! I agree with the other posters who suggest that the level of stress in your life right now seems enormous, and it would be reasonable to expect a change in libido during such a time, but if this has been a constant and longstanding problem, you should have thought about this earlier! Now you have not only a marriage to consider, but a child. Sexual compatability is a big deal, but it's usually sorted out much earlier in the relationship.

On the other hand, Making an appointment has been an issue, she is trying to find a time, but this morning she said that she can't and it's not a priority for her strikes me as pretty unreasonable as well. I don't know about the rest of you, but if my husband had serious issues about an aspect of our relationship that he asked me to work on with him, I certainly wouldn't call that "not a priority." Even if it's not a priority to her, because it's a major issue for you, it should be for HER. To me, that's like saying "our marriage isn't a priority. sorry honey." Others may disagree with this viewpoint, though.

Nonetheless, it's also unfair to happily accept your wife's libido level throughout marriage and a child, and suddenly turn the tables on her and tell her it's not acceptable. We don't really have all the info here...In the end, depending on the situation, you may have to make a decision between a great sex life and the otherwise great marriage you've cultivated. Sucks, but at this point, possibly true.
posted by theantikitty at 8:50 PM on July 12, 2006

I confess I haven't read all the comments, but I've been on both sides in this situation, and I think I have some experience to offer here:

Keep in mind, I'm a dyke, but I think the issues are pretty much the same.

I was in a 6 year relationship with someone I loved very much. I had a very low sex drive and rarely if ever wanted to have sex. At the time I thought I was dealing with fallout from childhood trauma (and most women and many men do carry childhood trauma around sexuality - heck, even if you weren't sexually harrassed in any way, we live in such a sex-negative yet unrealistically sex-obsessed culture it would be hard not to have 'issues'). Anyway, in retrospect, I don't think that was the issue. Part of it was just being sexually immature, but I think a lot of it had to do with not understanding my sexuality. I've discovered in subsequent relationships that I like really pervy, dirty sex that I never could have had with that partner. I was also intensely 'merged' with her and could barely see her as a seperate person! I think this cut into my attraction and that saying 'no' to sex was the only way for me to get space from her.

Now I'm more sexual than my current partner. It's simular - she has sex, but isn't as motivated or 'into it' as I am. (she has a stressful job and we have two kids, so I can related to that part too). Anyway, when we don't have sex I get hurt. I get angry. I get childish. Or I am sweet and respectful. But I really relate to the pain around not wanting to push her but also wanting to share a sexual connection with the person you love.

My main strategy is really trying to feel comfortable in my own sexuality. I've forced myself to become comfortable masturbating next to her. Sometimes she'll 'help' and sometimes she doesn't want to, but on good days I feel good about it because my sexuality is intact even if she's not in the mood. There are many times when my partner gets aroused by watching me get off. Also, I happen to get really into like, worshipping parts of her body. So maybe your partner would let you like, suck her toes while you jack off or something? This would allow you to feel sexual with her and might help her to feel relaxed and turned on and attractive.

In terms of 'encouraging' a sexual mood - Sometimes we watch porn together or read erotical aloud. This doesn't always turn her (or me) on, but sometimes it does. We've had some really hot sex by telling each other fantasies while we get it on. I love hearing her describe fantasies.

I also really like the recommendation of getting a vibrator. I think if she can get herself off, she may feel more motivated about sex. Although I wouldn't count on it.

I haven't gone this route, but I have friends who took tantra classes or got involved in simular scenes that involve being sexual (not necissarily having sex) around other people. Being around other people might be fun too. Could you nudge her into checking out a sex party? You could promise not to make a move while you were there, but maybe it would open up some ideas for her or at least turn her on?

I think it's fair for you to say that sex is a priority for you and ask her to prioritize it for you. She gets to say 'no' of course, but I think it's worth pursuing this.
posted by serazin at 9:49 PM on July 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

Also, I want to echo (perhaps in gentler terms) the person who said that a woman who gave birth only 4 months ago is unlikely to feel sexual. There are physical reasons for this: breastfeeding hormones actually inhibit sexuality (the biological function of this is to prevent another pregnancy so soon after the new baby is born).

Despite my previous advice, I would seriously wait several months before you push on this any further. Let her prioritize what her instincts are telling her to prioritize: her new baby and her own sanity in the context of a stressful situation. You've waited years, you can make it a few more months.
posted by serazin at 10:08 PM on July 12, 2006

There's some excellent advice here, all things you should try. But I'm going to be the contrarian.

This is a big deal. The fact that you're turning to a bunch of semi-strangers is one of those big-ass signs on the road that says, "Pull over and think about this hard for a few minutes."

We talk about it. She feels bad. When I make a move and am rejected, I am upset, she feels bad, I feel bad, we argue and then the next day we both feel like shit.

This is the beginning of a relationship death spiral. Porn, vibrators and foreplay might swoop in and save the day, but I think that's like treating a brain tumor with aspirin. Sure, you might feel a little better. You know, for a while...

Professional counseling is the way to go here.
posted by frogan at 10:11 PM on July 12, 2006

I really didn't want to say this because I think it's somewhat negative but..... I'm with theantikitty on this one. This isn't a "we had great sex all the time in the beginning, but now we have lackluster sex once a blue moon - how do i change this?" problem. This is a "she's never really been into it, but she still fucks me twice a week" deal. You're still getting laid the same as always, but the situation is only just now getting to you.

And not to be even more of a pessimist..... but what if she just isn't that into sex? What if she doesn't care about it? It's rare, but I've met some people that are like that. They simply have no sex drive whatsoever. That sounds like your wife, from what I read.

I'm curious as to when this started bothering you. The lack of sexual desire on her part was obviously ok enough for you to date her for a few years before you two got married.... did you start realizing it after you two had been married? Or has it been this way from the beginning?

My diagnosis: take the emphasis off of sex for a while. Seriously. Don't ask for it, don't make her feel (even more) guilty for not having a comparable sex drive, don't initiate..... nothing. Even if it does nothing to make her say, "hey, i really did kinda like all that sex stuff!", at least it gives her a break from not being into you sexually. She's been "doing" for you all this time, so why not "do" for her for a bit?
posted by damnjezebel at 10:21 PM on July 12, 2006

If she's going through the motions for you, that's something. Don't undervalue her patience and efforts to please you. Do your absolutel best to really enjoy them. I understand that you want her to be hot for it also but that's just something you may not be able to change.

Every person's dream. A life spent with someone going through the motions. Just awful, though I'm sure when everything else is great, some people choose it. Your choice.

But, it's true you may never change her. I'll let others give the expert dr. ruth advice (might work, chances are none of it will), but if she's still going through the motions a few years from now, you're probably going to start to look elsewhere, and that's the beginning of the end.
posted by justgary at 10:33 PM on July 12, 2006

You catch more flies with honey, than you do with vinegar.

Every couple I've ever been a member of has gone through the issues the OP describes. Sometimes, I had the tough job, and the low libido, and other times I was the crazy, sex-starved dog begging for crumbs. Neither side of that Procrustean bed is comfortable. Guilt piles up faster than a river of strained goodwill can carry it off. But I have learned a few simple things along the way:

1) This is an incredibly common situation. It feels like it isn't, but it is. Couples that find ways to cope make it, but those that don't, hire lawyers and keep the courts busy. The good news is, there are ways to cope. Patience and commitment to the marriage, not directly to improving your sex life, are big aspects of most of them.

2) Praising and respecting a person that loves you begets more and better loving than "working on our problems." Tell your wife she's a great lay, not that you'd like her to be a better one. Thank her for taking care of you, and genuinely enjoy being taken care of, as failing to render even this simple acknowledgement demeans any effort she is making to be your lover.

3) The more you work at making sex better, the more better sex seems like work.

And I'll nth the "relax fella, she's got a 4 month old baby" comments. She may look like her old pre-pregnancy self, and she may have her doctor's clearance to get back to normal activities in bed, but she doesn't feel anything like she did, and it may still be awhile. A guy that gets this, and can look desperate, but be patiently loving for however long it takes, which is probably several more months at a minimum, is a husband.

The OP asks "... Do we need counseling? If it's unfixable from an mental standpoint, has anyone tried Zestra? Does it work? Is there a miracle pill?"

I'm all for counseling and seeing a sex therapist, but if you have a 4 month old and the other stresses you describe, taking on a course of sex therapy isn't likely to be as effective as it could be at a later date. You may think it's intolerable to wait 2 or 3 years to fix something that's already been "wrong" for nearly 7 years, but in the larger scheme of a lifetime marriage, it's not as big a re-ordering of priorities as it seems at this moment, and you stand a better chance of being successful if you have the time and energy for the excercises you'd be asked to try in such a course of therapy. But beyond that, if you can sublimate some of your sexual energy into a broader role of being a good father and a better husband in the next months, you'll be making yourself more valuable to your wife. And if you become more valuable to her, she's more likely to want to be a better wife to you, if and when you do get to the therapist.

As for medicinal assistance, some doctors prescribe Viagra to women, although it's an off label use, and it can help women who are having lubrication problems, but it's not the functional fix that it is for men. Nothing really is. The fact is, girl parts have a lot more individual quirks and performance issues than boy parts. There aren't any magic pills in my experience, but your wife should be talking with her doctor about these issues, if she truly feels they are a problem in her life. However, many women are hesitant to discuss pleasure issues with doctors, and not all doctors are equally adept at working with patients to find and correct complex problems. Often, it takes referrals to specialists to develop strategies, and this is just too much for some women to pursue. Particularly if they're worn out from mothering a new baby.

Back off a bit on this right now, focus on being a great dad, and a really good, patient, supportive husband. It isn't easy, but it's worth it.
posted by paulsc at 11:10 PM on July 12, 2006 [2 favorites]

You must not judge your lifelong sexual prospects when your wife is only 4 months postpartum! Even though you feel like you're dying, you. must. chill.

All her hormones are telling her not to make another baby at any cost, especially if she's breastfeeding. You're lucky she's letting you anywhere near her so soon, that's actually a good sign. Expecting her to be hot and into it is at this stage is just not realistic. Sexual incompatibility is a big issue, but she needs her body to be hers again for a while before you should make any decisions about whether or not you have a problem. Revisit the issue when the kid turns two.

I'm sure that's not what you want to hear, but you're a parent now... this sacrifice is just one of many. Take matters into your own hands for a while and know that it will get better, and in the meantime, try to make it clear to her that this is not an obligation that she doesn't even get a break from after pushing out your perfectly-formed offspring.
posted by ulotrichous at 11:13 PM on July 12, 2006

It sounds like your wife is ready to be resigned to not desiring or really enjoying sex (an orgasm is not necessary to have enjoyable sex but sex where there is never an orgasm is not good sex). Unless she gets engaged in the problem (and it is a problem, it is a huge problem, and resolving it is essential to the long-term health of your marriage) there is little hope.

And she should be engaged in the problem because she is missing out on something incredible (wanting sex, being turned on by sex, and having orgasms). Of course there are many things that can reduce or even eliminate libido, both medical and psychological - but if her health is otherwise good and there isn't some clear sexual trauma in her past, my honest (completely unqualified) opinion is that your wife simply never learned what pushes her buttons and as such she has no idea what the big fucking deal is about sex.

Her single "orgasm" was probably not a proper orgasm at all but just a preorgasmic flutter that most women I've known well enough to talk to about this kind of thing experienced and thought of as orgasm until they experienced the real deal (after which there was NO QUESTION AT ALL). She has no idea what she's missing. Right now all she is getting out of sex is satisfying you (which by your descriptions of fights/hurt feelings/self-reproach on boths sides is obviously a mixed bag) and physical intimacy which she could enjoy just as much without any sexual connotations.

What she is getting is about 1/10th of what sex ought to be... and you're getting about 2/10ths. It is true you let this go way too long (and she as an individual let discovering her sexual self go even way too longer, though you should never, ever express that idea to her like that), which is a part of the problem - you have allowed yourself to accept that inadequate 1/10-2/10 compromise as "sex." With that as the status quo you will never be satisfied (not if you were doing it twice a day) - nor should you be - and she will never understand what the big deal is - and why would she?

Her deciding this (not just orgasm but full sexual response and desire) is something worth wanting and having (all issues of pleasing you aside), being willing to experiment with herself and you with a focus not on filling the weekly sex quota but on herself seeking and experiencing things she has never felt before is absolutely essential. Sadly in this enlightened age popular report and personal experience informs me that women who are capable of experiencing orgasm but have never learned how is far from uncommon. On the plus side, there is a lot of good literature and advice and cunning technology available out there.

If she's willing to work at it (and you're willing to stop settling for going through the motions for the sake of your own inadequate orgasm and start focusing on what she gets out of it), starting with a good female-centered, sex-positive adult store like Good Vibrations (I took the liberty of starting you in the sex and relationships education book section) and looking for books about fulfilling sex, or googling "becoming orgasmic" and seeing where it takes you, could yield significant progress.

Stop, at least for the time being, treating this as medical and even as a primarily psychological problem. Drop the Ob-Gyn appointment argument. Your wife's gynecologist is trained to tell her if her pussy is healthy, not how to work it right, and she may be predisposed by her training to immediately start looking at it as a medical condition, which I think is premature. Drop the idea of marriage counselling unless there are significant unrelated problems/fighting going on (if so, you must get counselling if you can't work it out between you: it's bad for you, it's bad for her and it's bad for the baby. 'Nuff said). Drop the search for a miracle pill. Fuck pills. Try some home schooling first.

I mean seriously: you say you've tried everything but (unless you left a lot unsaid) you haven't really tried anything. You've fooled around with some different contraceptives (and while good contraception is important, it is usually only very nominally related to sexual pleasure and satisfaction) and you've done the romantic thing, strewn the path of rose petals to the bed - and that's great, great initiative on your part. But it just doesn't rate, friend. You've set the stage but you've got no script, no props, you've got no play, okay? Your wife has never had an orgasm, she has no idea why sex is so great. This is where to start. If nothing does anything for her then you start thinking about medical issues and counselling.

Now, if your wife can start to discover what turns her on, if she can learn to bring herself off, it may also be that you have technique issues. You don't say anything about your own experience, personally I think I was pretty useless until about my third serious relationship and at 35 I'm still learning (though if I do say so myself... and it's not just me sayin'. Just sayin'). The last seven years have probably made you a bad lover, frankly - personally at least I never learned much about being a good one without a engaged, eager partner involved. But until she knows what works you can't learn how to work it, though of course it should be a mutual exploration.

Still, you should consider the possibility that you don't know your way around a woman's body all that well. Again, I'm told it is a lamentably common condition. Past experiences may not be a great guide - some women are just easy to get off and the plain fact is that women fake it a lot in bed - for many reasons. This is a learning time for you as well. Myself, pretty much everything I've learned came of asking questions, really listening to the answers, experimenting, paying close attention to responses, and particularly paying attention to what she did to herself to get off.

I suppose the main issue, if you accept my premise as at least a working hypothesis, is can you get her to take this approach, to get some relevant reading material and start experimenting? I'll say this: anyone who says you should just eat this deficiency in your relationship is full of shit, including your wife. It is not unreasonable she doesn't want to go see her Ob-Gyn, since it involves talking to a professional about something deeply personal that makes her feel personally inadequate, and she probably doesn't believe it will do any good, and she's probably right. If she's not willing to read a book and play with herself then she's not willing to be a party to solving the problem, and once again counselling is probably indicated, as a counsellor may be able to help explain to her why her unwillingness to start taking baby steps towards becoming a sexually mature adult is very likely to lead to your eventual divorce. I do not think that is a hyperbolic statement in the slightest.

Presenting this to her (and it sure sounds like you are going to have to initiate any action) should of course involve as little threat of future strife, accusation or guilt as possible. If possible it should be a hopeful, positive suggestion - that you believe there is something wonderful and significant and fulfilling that will add real value to your lives in store for you, and that seeking it can be something loving and mutual and fun. That the situation is far from uncommon and there is advice out there specifically for people in your precise position. Positive. Hopeful. Joyful. No other attitude will really serve. I've no doubt your wife feels very frustrated and scared (nobody who knows their partner is sexually unsatisfied could avoid worrying about infidelity and divorce) and inadequate and you must respect that but you shouldn't let it thwart seeking progress because that is not a solution.

In fact you might consider lowering the stress of this by choosing to stop initiating sex at first. No sex unless she initiates it (hopefully because she really wants to). Frankly, what you're getting now assuredly must ameliorate the perfectly understandable frustrated lust you're feeling, but it isn't really helping the situation, it sounds like, and it also sounds like letting go of getting some for a while could avoid some fights and bad feelings that are probably not worth the occasional payoff. In the meantime, you know, take care of yourself. Intentional, positive masturbation for personal sexual enlightenment is not just for the ladies. But again, if your wife takes this position as an excuse to stop thinking about sex entirely, that is not fair to your relationship and she must come to understand that it just isn't acceptable.

God, good luck. I'm sorry about writing this fucking book, but I find I feel very passionately about the subject. I know that this is probably not exactly comforting, but reading your question really made me feel thankful for what I have - listen, I'm no sexual Houdini I'm sure, my wife is not Cleopatra. But being with a sexually awake and mature, lovely and enthusiastic partner, in an honest sexual relationship where mutual satisfaction is a shared and expressed goal, which routinely results in incredible, mind-blowing sex... It's simply a great, wonderful thing. It has kept me sane at times and kept our relationship more stable through trying times. I am thankful to be forcefully reminded of that and I find myself vowing once again to never take it for granted. I do have relevant experiences, in my marriage as well as past relationships, that I'd rather not share in a public forum, but feel free to email me if you wish to have a confidential conversation about these things.

And now I'm off to shop my hypothetical self-help book on the basis of this treatment I've written.
posted by nanojath at 1:40 AM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

You have a persistent unsatisfactory asymmetry in a key area of a relationship.

From your standpoint, it is unsatisfactory. From hers, perhaps not, but perhaps her judgment is uninformed, due to her lack of sexual response.

Sadly, asymmetry is the rule, in my experience, and not just with sex.

Something no one else has mentioned is the off-label use for a common antidepressant, Welbutrin. It has positive effects on libido. Check with a knowledgeable psychiatrist. It might help, but if she's breastfeeding, it may not be appropriate for a while.

Also, as a professional problem solver, I alway ask my clients a few questions.....

How do you know if it's working properly?
Did it ever work properly?
When did it quit working?
What did you notice before it quit working?
What have you tried to re-establish proper operation?
What was the effect of each attempt?

Now, this may seem like an inappropriate area to apply such questions, but way the hell too many of my clients have been trapped in their problems by not asking these questions.

Mostly, you have to define the problem, accurately describe the solution, experiment, and keep what works, with the idea that you'll move TOWARDS a solution that works, even if you never quite reach it. If what you've done hasn't worked, try something else.

My own theory is that the things that keep us in relationships are not the things that get us into relationships.

Sex under most circumstances changes as the relationship evolves. It is most intense at the beginning.

To maintain the intensity, maintaining the 'beginning' phase may be necessary.

What is characteristic of the beginning? Uncertainty, for one. The unkown, for another. Both are extinguished by time and commitment. Perhaps they're replaced by contentment, and perhaps that's a good trade. Who knows?

Regardless, I have pretty much come to the conclusion that commitment is the poison of passion. (I sound like Johnny Cochrane, huh?)
posted by FauxScot at 3:45 AM on July 13, 2006

i've been in this situation before. i dated a girl for 2 years (1 year high school and 1 in college) that had sex issues. she had difficulty climaxing, her libido wasnt there. she was a great fake, too. she could make your believe, brother. she'd pretend to want you and do freaky, nasty things. i thought we had a hot sex life. but i could only suspend disbelief for so long. i started buying sexual therapy books. i bought love making movies (instructional not porn). i got certified in deep tissue massage. i took cooking lessons. i went to a therapist because i was sure it had to be me. i was in love and i wanted her to want me.

after 2 semesters in college of watching my frat brothers plow furrows into everything with tits, i started to move out and do things on the sly. as a man, i needed to know that i could please a woman sexually. there had been women before her, but after watching her fake it, i began to doubt all past experiences. dealing with her frigidity made me a campus player - and later on a military player. i got a rep on campus that follows me even now - 7 years later. her ghoulishness made me into the lover i am today and my wife laughs and thanks her all the time.

she needs to get therapy. the person i was with had issues with penises. she'd been molested for13 of her 18 years and she couldnt concentrate on sex enough to enjoy it. we tried changing pills. condoms irritated her vagina. she enjoyed giving head and if masturbated while giving me head - she would almost get off. but its impossible to be sure.

10 years, and my old gal never got any better. its mental. its in her head. unless something is very wrong, she should be able to have an orgasm. i dont know if many of you have ever had the chance to watch a woman THINK herself out of an orgasm. its very frustrating.
posted by Davaal at 5:01 AM on July 13, 2006

Stop initiating sex. Instead, create the conditions that will make it more likely for her to initiate sex, but without expectation that it will lead to anything else. I don't know what it's called, but what "works" for me is very focused, mindful non-sexual physical attention. This is what allows a backrub to turn into an all over massage, which then turns into sex. The key is to do it with absolute 100% concentration, but at the same time to be completely relaxed. In this way, you can communicate your love and affection for her in a very direct physical way. I really am talking about tuning out everything apart from the feeling of your hands on her body, if you have a hard time doing this it may help to watch your breathing as well. If you're doing it right, the process will also be highly enjoyable for both of you, not just her.

Taking time over this is a lovely way for both of you to shake off that feeling of just bouncing from one problem to another and establish a real emotional connection that is often missing from everyday life. It allows sex to be really special instead of just a process of burning off horniness which is clearly not something your wife needs.

Also, google "coital alignment technique", I always mention it in these threads because I think it's something everyone should know about.
posted by teleskiving at 5:17 AM on July 13, 2006

Everyone is missing the point. Your wife simply isn't interested in sex! Libido isn't just about feeling sexy or comfortable with one's sexuality. Your wife probably looks great if she's running 35+ miles a week, you've tried a lot of different things. She just doesn't have any sex drive. Touching her differently, using toys, whatever - it won't help, because she's not interested.
I was like this until about a year ago (I'm 43 now - sorry, that's not going to make you feel any better.) Just didn't care about it. Then suddenly, almost overnight, I started fantasizing about it all the time. Now I can't get enough. It's the weirdest thing I've ever experienced in my life.

A few thoughts:
1. Libido is regulated in part by testosterone. There are, I understand, testosterone patches and creams. Your wife seems a little resistant to changing, which I understand because if you don't know what having a sex drive is like, having one seems like just a big hassle. Why would anyone choose to start being distracted by thoughts about sex? When my drive first started, I lay awake all night at least once a week thinking about it. You can imagine what that did to my work day. So it may be hard to get her to try a patch or cream.
2. This sounds crazy, but when my sex drive jump-started, I had just gotten in the habit of eating a can of sardines and an avocado every morning for breakfast. I'm only half-kidding when I say that's what did it.
3. I also began to eat a lot of other certain foods, like fish, chicken, spinach, almonds, oatmeal, dried berries, green tea.
4. I also am a 35+ mile a week runner, but last year I began doing more with weights.
5. I had Norplant implanted in my arm in about 2000, and by last year it had worn out. Since I wasn't having sex, I didn't bother to get a new kind of birth control. I really think that for some people, the hormones in BC pills and things are a downer.

I don't know whether my changes in diet and exercise just coincided with my improved sex drive. I think maybe diet and exercise, plus no more Norplant, plus getting older tilted my hormonal balance toward testosterone.

Obviously, if your wife is breast-feeding, you want to go easy on the hormone experiments. But meanwhile, do some research and see what you think. And don't let this go. It will ruin your marriage eventually. Having children just allows you both to focus on that for a few years, but eventually the kids learn to drive and go to college, and then you're stuck in the house with your co-manager, and you don't have anything more to manage. It really stinks, believe me.
posted by annabkr at 7:19 AM on July 13, 2006

Triplo on the "she might reconsider if she knew what a real orgasm was like". From what I've seen of girls' libidos, when they are getting no orgasms, they don't need 'em. When they're having them, they need MORE. NOW. A stark contrast with the boy side of things. Now this might all change after 7 years and a kid, what do I know.

"Sex is like bridge - if you don't have a good partner, you better have a good hand"

What does she think of you masturbating next to her? Does she ever masturbate?
posted by anthill at 7:24 AM on July 13, 2006

I am crazy in love with her and completely devoted to her.

Is she "crazy in love" with you, do you think? The way you describe things I can't help thinking you were hot for her, and she was flattered, liked you well enough, and wanted to settle down... Which is to say, while it's not impossible you could change the dynamic, you may have to just accept that you were lucky enough to get your perfect girl, but not lucky enough to be her dream guy. Never initiating and never orgasming from the start seem like signs that she's just not that turned on by you.

I will note that personally, i can go through periods of not thinking much about sex, but if I have a crush on someone / a real-life flirtation / etc, then my mind gets going. My libido ebbs if there are no attractive (to me) people around, and takes off when there's chemistry in the air. And unfortunately I'm not attracted to a huge portion of people, so I can go through sort of asexual phases because everyone just seems kind of androgynous to me. but then I come across someone who hits the spot, and things change.

Obviously there are gray areas and other factors make a difference in how affected I am, but an important component is definitely finding someone who gets me excited. Some people may be turned on by any member of their chosen gender and so just not think of it as an issue, but I think for some people "sexual orientation" is more specific than that...
posted by mdn at 7:27 AM on July 13, 2006

I tell her it should be because this is more important than work or school or career.

Sex is more important than work, school, or career? Is that really how you feel?

You both work long hours. You have a new baby. Be glad you're getting any at all.

The WORST THING YOU CAN DO is pressure your wife into it--I speak from experience.

Sex just isn't a big thang for her. Doesn't seem like it ever was. Didn't you know this seven years ago? If so, you've got nothing to complain about.

Go read some Dan Savage articles. This pops up a lot. What he would say is that your wife is 'abusing' you because she's not putting out. He'd then advise having an 'open relationship'. That's a bunch of bullshit.

My advice? Be glad you're getting it twice a week.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:41 AM on July 13, 2006

I vote for nanojath's advice, based on my own experience.
posted by JanetLand at 9:19 AM on July 13, 2006

Go read some Dan Savage articles. This pops up a lot. What he would say is that your wife is 'abusing' you because she's not putting out. He'd then advise having an 'open relationship'. That's a bunch of bullshit.

I would just like to point out that the above phrasing is not really the core message of Savage's advice in a lot of these cases, nor that is is applicable for Anon to go seek out those columns. I personally agree very much with the idea that "only a vindicative person would deny a loving partner access to fulfilling a need they have no interest in meeting themselves" (my words). To keep two people in a physically-loveless-state just because one is perfectly happy without sexual intimacy, I do think that's cruel if not particularly unusual. Maybe not "abuse" but its certainly unjustifiable to me to strictly uphold the tradition of sexual monogamy if you're not being a sexual partner at all.

But, in this case, the advice to step outside the marriage for sex would be bullshit because I don't think the "trapped in a loveless marriage" is what is going on with Anon and Mrs. Anon. His wife certainly seems willing to have sex on a fairly regular basis i.e. she is "putting out" to use misanthropicsarah's phrasing. But she's not as emotionally engaged or physically aroused as he is and would, quite fairly, enjoy her to be as well. He states quite clearly that he doesn't want just hot sex, he wants hot sex with his wife. That's a VERY different kettle of fish than the one that could be solved by allowing the "sex fiend" partner find release outside the bounds of marriage.

Anon, you need to seriously look at your wife's motivations or lack thereof for changing. You say she admits to having a problem, but makes little effort to change, even stating that it is "not a priority for her." But it is a priority for you, because sexual intimacy with her is an important part of how you express your love for her i.e. it's not "just sex." Figuring how how to show this to her is your first step, and getting her to enjoy and want that intimacy has already been covered very well by nanojath and is some of the best advice in this thread.
posted by nelleish at 9:43 AM on July 13, 2006

Something else I wanted to say: it is possible for a woman to come every single time and still not be all that interested in initiating sex. Don't get too hung up on the orgasm thing.
posted by teleskiving at 9:43 AM on July 13, 2006

i'm offended by the answers that either outright state or express in tenor the sentiment "be happy you're getting some."

the poster has been clear about what he wants, and it's primarily emotional, not physical. can we please kill the idea that all men are simply looking for a wet hole in which to piston their cocks until they orgasm? many of us want far more than that. /rant

anon, i was in a similar situation before. what helped me was my gf talking with her female friends about sex. some of her friends were very adventurous, and in their conversations (held during girls' nights out and such: no guys were ever around), she learned about all kinds of things, and her sexual persona began to change -- slowly.

while this worked out great for me, i'm not sure about its efficacy for you. certainly it'd be a bad idea to say to one of her girlfriends "hey, could you talk to my wife about hot sex so that she gets more into it with me?" nor could you encourage your wife to talk to her friends about it. but maybe a therapist could? i really think therapy is your best bet here. best of luck to you.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:09 AM on July 13, 2006

You might also consider why it's so important, and why it suddenly became a big issue. Part's biological, I totally understand. But for anything to become this much of an issue, there could be stress from another area of your life getting expressed here. The subconscious works in weird ways. If you figure out and address the source of the stress, it can relieve pressure on this situation so you can then figure it out with less angst. And since you have to painfully chill anyway, it's a good time to ask yourself, "why do I care so much in the first place?"

It could be a stress with her, or something else entirely. Just to throw out random examples -- maybe with the baby born, you already miss being the focus of her love and attention, so you're more attuned to little signs of disinterest during sex. Maybe her going to school makes you feel like she's getting really independent, but sex is when you feel like she's "yours." Maybe sex is the way you feel good about yourself, and suddenly it's important because work isn't going so well. Maybe emotional connection with her now is more important because your parents just got sick (I hope not) and you feel more alone in the world. Maybe you quit smoking for the baby and sex is your second-best stress reliever.

It may be none of these examples. But as I say, the subconcious is weird. Have you heard this joke?

In the middle of the city, a beat cop encounters a drunk, crawling around on his hands and knees seemingly looking for something at night, directly under a street lamp. When the cop stops and inquires what he's doing, the drunk responds, "I'm looking for my car keys that I lost in the bushes!" The cop laughs and says, "Hey buddy, if you lost your keys over there in the bushes,why are you looking here under the street light?" To which the drunk replies indignantly, "Boy, you don't know anything! This is where the light is! It's too dark to look over in the bushes!!"
posted by salvia at 12:47 PM on July 13, 2006

Just to want to say again, those examples above are random and totally hypothetical. I don't actually think you seem possessive or insecure. Nor am I trying to psychologize a totally normal urge. I'm just saying that there might be a reason why this annoying thing is getting so much focus. Surely there's something else annoying in your life, too. ;) Or something else truly awesome. So my question is just, why is this what you think about most?
posted by salvia at 12:52 PM on July 13, 2006

Frogan quoted this without a huge amount of comment. For me it's a screaming, sirens-blaring warning sign.

When I make a move and am rejected, I am upset, she feels bad, I feel bad, we argue and then the next day we both feel like shit all day (welcome to my day today.)

My biological drive is lower than my darling girlfriend's, but both of us initiate sex. Both of us also occasionally rebuff the other. We're busy people who get tired and her day starts earlier than mine too, meaning she's tired earlier. And that's a hell of a lot less exertion and stress than an infant and grad school!

If you're upset because you don't get an acceptance every time you propose sex... that's a big sign of something to me. I recognize that your existing anxiety and unhappiness with the other issues in your sex life is probably magnifying this for you but I'd suggest this: if it's a Big Indecent for you and you turn it into a fight when she exercises her prerogative to decline sex, what else are you turning into a big and stressful deal?
posted by phearlez at 1:35 PM on July 13, 2006

Read from the beginning: Why Your Wife Won't Have Sex With You.
posted by quacky at 2:30 PM on July 13, 2006

I have a few things to add, as a woman who has a low sex drive and difficulty having an orgasm.

1. Please stop referring to a low libido as "her problem." From her point of view, he's the one with the problem. There are two people in this situation, and they have different needs. Stop blaming her. She is who she is. Her low libido may be less common, but it's not wrong, pathological, weird, or unacceptable. It's just different.

2. Why does the man "have a right" to hot sex? No, really? If that's true, then doesn't she also have a right to live without being pestered for sex all the time? When you start getting indignant and referring to sex as a "right," you get into a completely unhelpful frame of mind, one that makes one person right and one wrong.

3. Having a low libido makes you sensitive to things that really horny people can easily overlook: bad breath, body odor, noise, etc. When I'm not in the mood for sex but want to try to get into it, bad breath will turn me right off. Period.

4. Anon may be a sexual god, but my experience has been that the majority of men have no idea how to make love to a woman. YMMV. I lost count of the men who were so clueless that the mere thought of talking about it made me tired. When you combine that with a woman who has difficulty reaching orgasm, you have a big problem.

5. Most of us go through life without getting all our needs met. It sucks, but it's normal. Perhaps for Anon, sex is a need he can't compromise on any longer. For others, having a loving and committed partner and a new family is enough to make the sacrifices worth it. For a little perspective, think of how many people never get enough to eat.

Anon, you sound like a wonderful man, and you both seem lucky to have each other. I truly hope you find a way of handling this without resorting to "should I find someone else." In my opinion, that would be a damn shame.
posted by shifafa at 6:40 PM on July 13, 2006


Anon's wife says she has never had an orgasm. That isn't "low libido", it's never having had an organism! I submit that never having had an orgasm is weird and possibly pathological. (I agree with a previous poster who said the wife's previous "orgasm" was likely just a pre-orgasmic flutter.)

Both parties have the right to have a partner who meets their physical needs, whatever they may be. If they find they cannot meet eachothers needs, it is probably time to look elsewhere to get those needs met.

This is a difficult issue that anon should certainly have addressed WAY WAY before this point, but it doesn't mean he has no right to address it now.
posted by Justinian at 7:01 PM on July 13, 2006

wow, organism! I'm awesome.
posted by Justinian at 7:03 PM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

You love her. She loves you. You get along. I mean, who cares if she is not wild about sex the way you are? She is having it with you, right? Don't get lost in the social norm. You think she SHOULD love it the way you do. So what if she doesn't? Sex is not everything in a relationship, it is one component. You may find a woman that can't get enough of you, sexually but she is an intellectual and emotional dud. Yin and yang, man.
posted by peglam at 3:33 AM on July 14, 2006

In addition to the advice above:

Talk with her about buying the Hitachi Magic Wand. It's a beast of a vibrator because it's huge and loud, but it is a great way to initiate sex. If she can't orgasm with a Wand, something is probably physically wrong. It's been great for my wife and I because she knows she'll orgasm no matter what. It takes the pressure off me to perform. And, it's been fantastic post-partum; not only is the wand useful for foreplay, it's great for something for her that is quick and easy.
posted by beelerspace at 6:38 AM on July 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

1. Stop trying to (overtly) please her.
2. Give her frequent backrubs.
3. Dirty talk works better than any poetry.
4. Touch her lightly while watching tv, otherwise ignore her. Pay attention to her response.
5. Figure out how to relax her to a profound degree and talk about fantasies.
posted by livinginmonrovia at 1:46 AM on July 16, 2006

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