Bawdy Count

Friday, April 16, 2010

Question

I am a 46-year-old male who, given the opportunity, would greatly enjoy having sex once a day, on average, with my spouse. We get along well to-gether and I am no alpha male, as she has jokingly commented in the past. She's satisfied with sex approximately three times a month. We're both healthy, sociable, understanding peo-ple.

I've tried to interest her in articles aimed at increasing desire and pleasure, to no avail. After a day at the office, she'd rather play computer games or watch TV for hours. Lovemaking is something that is free, releases stress, increases joy, affection, etc., yet she shows no interest in increasing her monthly "amount."

I've even asked her if we could give up sex altogether, as I would rather have no sex than so little. I'd much rather enjoy and savour a large piece of chocolate cake than a very thin one. And if the thin slice that only whets my appetite is all that's on offer, in my opinion it's better to have none at all.

She refuses to give up the three sessions a month and tells me I can "take care of myself" for the other 27 days. Great, now I'm back to my high school years.

I don't understand this reasoning. If someone told her there's a cost-free, painless and simple way to lose weight while eating more cake and ice cream, she'd be all over it, but if I tell her there are cost-free, painless and simple ways to increase her sexual pleasure, which will in turn reduce stress, increase feelings of joy, contentment and affection toward each other, she says, "No, thanks."

Steve

Answer

Saint Peter presiding over his ledger at the gates of heaven has long been a popular image in single-panel cartoons and is almost always used, albeit in a playful fashion, to symbolize fear of judgment. Whenever you pull out your ledger, Steve, in which you've scrupulously detailed your wife's dissatisfying sexual habits and your polished arguments about why she should be offering you more, you are inviting fear, shame and judgment into your already strained sex life.

Everything your wife does for pleasure and relaxation is being held up as the reason for her not making love to you, thereby feeding an atmosphere of bitter vengefulness around these activities. Making love (I can't believe I'm 42 and this term still makes me snicker—what's wrong with me?) is indeed free and pleasurable, but when the person making the pitch is doing so in such an aggrieved fashion (I mean, honestly, is there any need to bring the frantic desperation of high school into it?), it becomes rife with tension. You're selling utopia but you're behaving like a dictator.

Having said that, it doesn't sound like your wife is being in the least bit sympathetic to your case. You have to look at it from her point of view, though. It's hard to be compassionate and giving with someone who's suggesting that you're deliberately withholding pleasure and treating you like an appliance that simply needs a proper seeing to in order to get into working order.

And though I am a chronic offender when it comes to the sex-as-food analogy myself, these things are fundamentally very different. You are not a piece of chocolate cake, Steve. You are a man. Men are complicated creatures. So are women.

I think what you may need at this juncture is a referee, a sex therapist who can help you both address your feelings and needs and lead the discussion with compassion and experience. You will find a list of them here at bestco.info.

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