Friday, April 03, 2009

This is a juicy one.

Today my darlings we have a really excellent question from Will. Let's get to it shall we? I broke it up into parts and let's go.

Will I'm SO glad you asked.

Okay, my wife seems to think my sex drive is unnaturally high, and that I don't concentrate on being a father as well as I should. My wife is a beautiful woman, and I'm a healthy young man who wants his lover back. It seems like our 2 year old son has become an anti-sex shield for my wife, who never had a very high libido to begin with. But she used to try, you know? She used to touch and kiss me more. There were days when she'd even initiate sex with me. Now, she refuses to do any of these things, and gets angry when I try to initiate with her. "We're adults now," She says. "We have to concentrate on being parents. We don't have time for sex." Or, "Honey, I'm tired. I don't feel like it."

This has been going on since my son was born. Needless to say I'm hurt and a little confused. I'm at the point where masturbation simply won't do, and she doesn't like porn, which might actually be interesting. I feel like my only options are: a) have an affair, b) accept defeat and continue to be forcibly celibate, or c) divorce her.

Okay Will we've got a meaty meaty question here. First thing, congratulations on your baby. That is wonderful.

Let's take things bit by bit.

I'll tell you I've known many many women who've had babies and at some point many of them have expressed that no, they don't feel like being touched. The fact is a lot of women spend all day with someone (being the baby) hanging onto them. It doesn't mean they don't like their kids, or don't like you for that matter but, it can be rough.

Let me ask you, does your wife stay at home to take care of the baby? Does your wife get any time to herself to just chill out without you or said baby?

I know for me personally, having some alone time without anybody no matter how much I love them is extremely important to me. Let's talk about libido and women for a minute here.

I think a lot of men don't really understand sometimes how complicated a womans libido can be. It's not always just a matter of wanting to do it or not.

For many women hormone levels, stress, having babies, being married etc can all work against her libido. Is your wife healthy? Have you two talked openly and honestly (and yes your feelings might get hurt sweetheart) about what she does or doesn't need? For a lot of us lady types, wanting to have sex can be hindered by so many outside things and sometimes we just need to get it out, and get it clear to get our groove back.

Now let's talk about you.

Do you express affection without the expectation of sex to your wife? Sometimes people don't think that if someone is already experiencing libido problems that the way in which you are expressing yourself physically could be stressing her out and adding to the problem.

Think about it this way, there's a huge difference between giving someone a hug and kiss just to give them a hug and kiss, than there is in giving someone a hug and kiss and giving them sexual energy. Still with me?

Do you find yourself putting pressure on her for sex? Whether it's conscious or unconscious, it can be difficult for both of you. You get frustrated and I imagine she might be hurt.

As for her saying that you don't have time for sex do you? Granted sometimes some hot lovin' is just the thing to end a stressful day or make the day go by more quickly but, sometimes we're just really too tired.

If she's expressing that being parents makes being sexual a no go, could there be other underlying issues?

I think that you two should maybe sit down together in a non-sexual situation and you can ask her why it is that she thinks this. Now this conversation might get weird and heated, she might not want to talk about it but sometimes these things are necessary.

When you are talking, don't make the things she says about how you feel or don't feel. I know a lot of people, myself included sometimes don't want to hurt our lovers feelings so we're not always as open as we could be. You have to work together to make it so you have that good open space to communicate.

And, be quiet. Let each other talk.

Now as for how to handle it that's tougher.

Unless you and your wife have an agreement about having sex with other people don't have an affair. I firmly believe that what works in a marriage or relationship is up to the people in it however, I think dishonesty is very destructive.

That being said.

I don't think you have to think of this situation as a defeat. It's not a fight or a war this is your relationship.

You can't approach your relationship the way you might approach a problem at work. You have to work, you have to listen, you have to be willing to do your part and change as does your partner.

None of these options are very appealing to me, but I don't know what else to do.

My question is, is there a way of reigniting some sexual response in her? Do I wait until she's asleep, put the boy into his own bed, and stroke her until she gets hot for me? Or am I just doomed to failure, here?

Okay do not do that. Just don't.

I know you're frustrated, desperate and upset but do not wait until she's asleep to start touching her. It's disrespectful and rapacious. It is not okay to have sexual contact with people without their consent. If you have been doing that, it's not helping your cause.

Also (I'm not saying this is what you're proposing but I want you to be very aware) be very very aware that the above can be construed as spousal rape which is never ever ok.

Never okay.

What you didn't mention is how other areas of your marriage are. Are you having financial trouble? Are there other things going on?

Your best move at this point may be to ask her to go to couples counseling. I do get the feeling there may be more going on than just your wife's libido not being what it used to be.

The bottom line is how much do you want to invest in the whole of your relationship?

Sex is very important to a lot of us, but it's only a part of what makes up a relationship.

Maybe suggesting counseling might be overwhelming to for you right out of the box.

How about you get a babysitter, make your wife a nice dinner, sit her down and look into her eyes and ask, "are you okay?"

Now as you're doing this, your wife might get uncomfortable and anxious. She might think it's just a ploy to get in her pants and that's okay. Reassure her that you want to talk, that you care enough to take some time out of your busy busy lives to check on her.

Maybe, she just really feels overwhelmed being a new Mama, maybe she really wants some time to herself so she can have a bath or read a book. Maybe she needs to be reassured that whether or not her libido is as fired up as yours, you still really care what's going on with her.

I truly believe that when you are in a relationship based on love respect and all those awesome things, you have to work damn hard. You have to deal with your own anxieties and frustrations, pay bills, take care of your partner, take care of yourself and it's all a big ole ball of stress sometimes.

But if you're in it to win it Will, get to work.

In the meantime (until you get counseling or have your talk) start teaching yourself to be mindful. If your wife seems overwhelmed maybe help her out. Do the dishes, bathe the baby, take out the trash, make the bed, do the laundry. Don't expect high praise or pats on the head just do it.

Make the effort to not just tell your wife verbally how much you love and want her, show her.

Now readers, be gentle. Let's help out our homie Will some more.

If you were Will or Will's wife what would you want or do? Have you experienced this sort of thing? What did you do.

I trust and love my readers Will so I believe we'll get you some more awesome advice.

Also please report back. Ask me more. Ask our readers more. And Will, let me tells you hell yes for asking. FUCK YEAH WILL. FUCK YEAH.

And anyone else, have a question? Have one of those burning questions you're too embarassed to ask anyone else? Techniques? Porn? Want to know what the fuck is going on with whatever? Ask me.

Now my darlings my darlings I am off.

ScriptFrenzy is going well.

I will have some new short fiction up soon that I am FUCKING STOKED about because it's going in a kickass webzine.


Also next week look for some SuperFatty Crafting Skills updates because my skills, they have activated.

Okay laters.

I command everyone to spend at least five minutes between now and the next time you see me here on the intertubes do something that is silly and fabulous.

Make faces, roll around on the floor with your dog, put on some underwear and dance around your house to 80's music. Give yourself a facial, massage your own neck, masturbate, do whatever that makes you feel fancy.

Feel free to tell me about it after you've done it.

Homo Out.


Anonymous said...

Hmm, I'm a girl with 3 kids and I struggle with a low libido, so I can definitely relate. Here's a few suggestions:

1) Get a babysitter once a week if you can afford it. If not, keep the kid for a few hours every Saturday or Sunday and let her go out by herself or with her girlfriends, whatever she prefers.

2) Shower more. Women who have young kids have hyperalert senses, including smell. Your two-year-old smells and feels better than you (trust me). Go get clean before even considering sexing.

3) Take her out to a nice dinner then go hang at a sex shop. Women have a "use it or lose it" libido. Buying some toys, for her alone or for both of ya, might help.

4) Encourage her to dress up, watch R-rated movies (after kiddo is in bed), drink a glass of wine with dinner, engage in adult pursuits. Lots of people lose their identity after having kids, which leads to lack of interest in sex.

5) Go on vacation sans toddler.

Good luck! Hopefully these tips will help.

Megan said...

I've been having a similar issue in my relationship, but I am a horny wife whose husband's libido seems to have dropped.

Obviously different relationships are different etc etc etc, but I had some success by just sitting down with my husband and talking about it - NOT during the emotional time of "dammit why won't you fuck me?" but several days later after he and I both had time to cool down.

I did my utter best not to make it about HIM so much as ME - ie, never went into "What's wrong with YOU?" territory but "Here's what *I* need."

It helped that I tried to be specific about what I wanted. With our particular issue, my husband thought he was more attentive to me because he was getting oral from me on a more regular basis, and that totally counted as intimacy, where it didn't in my book. :)

bottlecappie said...

Hi - First time poster, though I've been reading for a while.

I went to a class at Babeland for mamas trying to get our sex drive back, and we all had to write down what our partners could do to help us feel more open to having sex.

Most of us wrote down: Do the Dishes.

Motherhood is really stressful, physically and emotionally draining. For me, it was also an identity crisis. I didn't know how to reconcile these new mother-feelings with my old naughty-girl feelings. And with the work, the stress, the hormones, the breastfeeding, the sleep was easier to let it go than to try to figure it out.

And my partner always approached it in this way that was all about "his needs." I know it sounds harsh, but I already had a really needy person to take care of, and couched in those terms sex didn't seem real appealing.

I would tell Will to be patient and give his partner space. Think of things to go and do with her that remind her of who she was before she became a mom. Send her out for a massage or to a spa - something that gets her back in touch with her senses.

When you're with her and your child - you be the one who jumps up to tend to him so she can have an uninterrupted thought once in a while. Do MORE than your share, and do it with a smile. Maybe that doesn't seem "fair" - but suck it up.

And finally - do something to take care of yourself. Get a hobby, take up a sport, do some volunteer work, join a book club, get some new friends or reconnect with old ones. Make friends with other parents if you need to - it expands both your social circle AND opportunities for babysitters.

Why do this? It will help take the pressure off your wife (the pressure to meet all your needs that is) AND it will make you a happier and more fullfilled person. And there's nothing sexier than that.

Karin said...

Nudiemuse, as always excellent advice!

I don't have children myself, but many of my (female) friends do and they have expressed the same: Usually, they stay at home with the kid(s) and their partners continue working. The partners come home after work and want to relax, not realizing that the partner who stayed at home with the kid(s) would maybe like to relax, too. You wouldn't believe how often the working partner says this: "I don't know what you do all day and why you need to relax - you're only at home with the kid(s)! *I'M* the one who had to *WORK* the whole day." My friends have all expressed that at the end of the day, they are too drained to even think about sexy time, let alone actually do something.

Will, I don't know you and your wife's working arrangement, but please realize that taking care of a kid is a full-time job that you can't just stop doing at 6 pm.
Think about what chores/tasks you do at home and how you could support your wife so that she doesn't feel that she has to shoulder all responsibilities at home. Many women, especially first-time moms, feel that they have to manage everything at home and be perfect, thus feeling suffocated by the pressure. Meanwhile, their husbands/partners don't feel like that much has changed in their lives and that everything is okay.

As has already been said, ask your wife about her needs and what she feels may be missing in your relationship. Without wanting to sound cynical, but Will, you could be surprised at her answer. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I feel like a lot of the advice and ideas presented have been very helpful, so I wanted to look at the issue from a different perspective.

I totally understand that the wife might be stressed/tired/unable to handle things on her own, and that Will should help out if he isn't already. However, telling him to just deal with his urges (without even allowing the use of porn!) seems kind of ridiculous. I know I would be hard pressed to go a week without looking at porn - I could masturbate without it, sure, but then you lose the connection of actually having a sexual experience with other people, which, really, is kind of the whole point.

It's like if someone told you they were hungry and you said, "Well, I can't give you any food right now, and you're not allowed to get food from anyone else, but, I can chew gum?"

I feel a lot of empathy for you, Will. I would *strongly* suggest couples counseling. Like I said, I do also have a lot of empathy for the mother/wife, but I don't see how it's Will's responsibility to fall over backward meeting her needs when she's gone out of her way to say that his needs don't matter (and that fulfilling them would be irresponsible/wrong/unpleasant, to boot!).

There are definitely some communication problems here that need to be resolved. I wish you all the best...

JS said...

I think that Tiffani's point is a good one.

I've got lots of empathy and sympathy for Will's wife in feeling exhausted, in having a low libido, and in being impatient with Will's attempts to jump-start their sex life.

Where I don't have sympathy with her is when she starts translating her issues into Universal Should-Statements, like "We're adults now...concentrate on being parents...we don't have time for sex."

THAT'S BUGGY CODE RIGHT THERE. Couples counseling can help debug that code for both of them.

Will needs to listen to her when she says "I'm too tired right now." But she also needs to own her own stuff rather than appeal to some mystical "here is what parents should and shouldn't do."


This may include making the time and privacy for it by, as others have suggested, creating some private grownup time, either by getting a babysitter and going away or by sending the kidlet to grandparents or godparents or aunts or uncles for an evening.

Anonymous said...

Being denied sex is unacceptable. Whatever she needs to do to get over it, do. I'd leave a woman who cut me off.

Anonymous said...

I think that the advice given by NudeMuse is very good, though I would place stronger emphasis on getting counseling, as the wife's belief about parents not having or needing sex sends off warning signals to me about her definition of parenting, family, and that she might have been repressing sexual angst all along, and is now using the parent status as an "excuse" to get out of the sexual dimension of their relationship. However, as NudeMuse suggests, directly asking for counseling might be too much to dive into right away--giving the wife some time for herself to just breathe, and opening space at a non-sexual moment to gently discuss these issues as other posters suggest is great advice, and those conversations might *comfortably* lead the wife to be more open to exploring the deeper issues I sense are lurking here.

I must say that I do disagree with what Tiffani's statement that porn offers "the connection of actually having a sexual experience with other people." Tiffani may experience porn in this way, but it is also reasonable to suggest that porn is simply a collection of images, either photo or video--the people in those images are real, sure, but they're not connecting with the viewer in any way, and I cannot imagine seeing porn as any kind of satisfying substitute for connecting with one's actual, face-to-face partner, though of course others will agree (and I say this as a woman who is single and has chosen celibacy when not in a committed relationship--if anyone understands sexual frustration, I do!)

So, even if Wil could look at porn, it may likely be a pretty meaningless panacea to a very real problem in his relationship, plus he would be disrespecting his wife's clearly stated boundary on their relationship (many people, including myself, would experience their partner's use of porn as a betrayal of the relationship).

I really wish you luck with this issue, Wil, and am glad to see that you're getting some good advice here!

Anonymous said...

I have no kids and its almost impossible for me to get my engine cranked. Its really weird being a woman in this society-- seeing women constantly sexualized makes me feel like if I act sexy, then I'm not really a person. Yes, its fucked up, I know, but its really hard to feel like I'm in control of my sexuality.

That being said, what DOES get me going is when my husband does things for me. Simple things, like taking out the trash, or going to the store when I didn't want to, or making more iced tea when there's not anymore, or any little non-sexual thing like that. Its when he shows me he cares about me in non-sexual ways that I get really turned on.

Anonymous said...

It's difficult to truly grok the depth of exhaustion that comes with caring for young children until you have them, and for that reason alone I'm really impressed with NudeMuse's insightful and ethical responses.

Two things that jumped out at me: Yes, saying "we're parents now, sex is no longer important" is a red flag on the wife's part. However, it may be that she was just too exhausted to express what she was really feeling more articulately and wanted him to just drop it for once. She needs sleep. Trust me.

However, Wil's proposed "options" raise a lot more red flags. a) and c) shouldn't even be on the table -- Man Up, dude. And b) is immaturely short-sighted.

THIS IS A TEMPORARY PHASE in your lifetime commitment of marriage. And it is an incredibly stressful one that many marriages don't survive. But if you follow the excellent advice herein to support your wife emotionally and physically and attempt to connect with her (and the baby!) as a person, not just a sex partner, then you have a foundation of respect and affection that will serve you well once these difficult years pass.

When your youngest child is 3 or 4, your wife will gradually perk back up as her body catches up on much-needed rest and she no longer needs to feed, clean and keep him out of physical danger every waking moment. Eventually, her libido will return. Your behavior toward her during this time will greatly influence how readily she reaches for you.

Hint: Respect, at bare minimum. Romance, as a bonus.

Anonymous said...

pyew..., "Man up" isn't a material suggestion at all. It's dismissive, actually. The man is being denied sex, so what's he supposed to do, just not have sex indefinitely? That's not gonna fly. Divorce is on the table. Divorce is near the front of the table if she doesn't change her ways.

Anonymous said...

"Being denied sex is unacceptable. Whatever she needs to do to get over it, do. I'd leave a woman who cut me off"?

Wow. None of us knows these people or their circumstances, but it's all the woman's problem, her feelings (very possibly including utter exhaustion) are "unacceptable," and this person would leave a woman who was too ill for sex, too tired for sex, or who, for whatever reason and whatever period, exercised her perfectly valid right not to want him? I mean, just wow. Sir, maybe leaving would be a mercy. And I say that as a woman who attaches immense significance to, and puts plenty of effort into, both her sex life and her husband's satisfaction. There's quite a huge difference between acknowledging that sex is hugely important and deciding that it's your god-given right at all times regardless of your partner's needs.

Anonymous said...

I have kids. Both of whom are ADD. Both of whom are boys. I am a stay at home mom.

What I zeroed in on is "put the boy in his own bed..." Um, if he's two, he is way old enough to sleep in his own bed. If she's literally got the kid touching her all. the. time. she is probably not going to want anyone else touching her. Now, I recognize some people can do the family bed and still get their sex on, but, others, notsomuch. So that may be a factor.

Sex at the tag end of the day when she's exhausted may currently be a bad idea.

What worked for my husband and I when we were having issues was saying, "Let's plan to have sex this Saturday." And then I had to say, what can I do to get my head ready to be there? And then I could get there.

Now, I learned...and this may not be true of all women...that if I could just start playing with his bits, even if I wasn't so much in the mood, I'd suddenly find that the mood sort of caught up with me when I wasn't looking. So now I sort of count on that when he would like to get busy and I am not so much in that frame of mind.

But I also redlighted on "We're adults now." THAT is a "we need to talk with a facilitator about relationships" sign.

Kitty said...

Your advice is great, and so is the advice other commenters have given, especially about counseling for what sounds like potentially deeper communication issues. I don't have much to add except that my husband and I were perilously close to breaking up before we got married because of communication and sex issues. His libido is really high, mine was nearly nonexistent for a long time. To make a long story short, I agree with what others here have said: 1) Give your wife some attention that is NOT sexual or intended to lead to sex. Remind her that you love HER, not just her body. And 2) Even if you feel like you already work hard (and I'm sure you do, as does she), do a little extra around the house. One of the things that was getting between my husband and me was the fact that he never even NOTICED when dishes were dirty or the trash needed to go out or the shower was filthy, etc. etc. etc. It wasn't that he was deliberately treating me like a maid, but cleaning house was not on his radar and so if I wanted to not live in filth, I ended up doing all the housework. That led to a lot of resentment and anger that did NOT make me very receptive to his advances in bed.

All that being said, I do also agree with those who have said that it's not okay for your wife to unilaterally decide that you are parents now and therefore neither of you should want a sex life. Pressuring her into sex would be wrong, but so is her telling you that YOU can't do ANYTHING to satisfy your natural sexual desires. That's why I agree with the recommendations for counseling if talking doesn't improve things.

Will said...

First, thanks for all your advice, guys. There are some things I did indeed need to work on, and am trying to do. Wee've started counseling, and I think she feels better knowing that she's getting listened to, and not hounded so much. I've found a nice sitter who comes once a week to give her 'No Baby' time to herself, and it's doing her a lot of good to be able to be detached from the kidlet.

It's amazing to realize that I missed her, not just her body or sex. That was the only way I felt able to be vulnerable with her, it's difficult for me to admit that I need her, you know? The first time I told her that I need her... well, it helped.

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