(Yes, that really was the subject line of this email. Thanks, “Steve”!)
‘Hi, my name is Steve and I ruined my sex-life with unreasonable demands.’ That’s how I would introduce myself if this were a meeting of a self-help group but it isn’t so read on.
Well done, Julia! You have a very thought provoking blog! After reading it from end to end this January I decided it was time for a change in my life.
I expect my background is quite normal. When my wife and I first met we couldn’t get enough of each other. Lust and passion turned to love and we bumped along quite happily for a number of years. My libido is greater than hers and we came into conflict over sex at regular intervals. Nowhere near as badly as some of your other correspondents but enough to cause a lot of tension and sleepless nights. Now to the point of my mail.
When we first met I was on best behaviour and saw nothing but virtue in everything she did. If she was not in the mood for sex that was fine by me because I knew she soon would be. She looked slim and sexy and I wouldn’t have wanted to change her. This situation lasted for about a year. Then gradually my attitude started to change and, for want of a better phrase, I lost the discipline that kept me on my best behaviour. The rest of my story is a gradual decline into the sort of situation you have discussed extensively here. It would be silly to catalogue all the misdemeanours but a short list would include:
Demanding sex. check!
With-holding friendship. check!
Stretching/breaking her personal sexual boundaries. Check!
Mental cruelty [I'm uncomfortable about this but....yes] check!
Physical abuse NO! NEVER! [a small comfort]
The genie was well and truly out of the bottle and it seemed impossible to get him back in again. Over a period of time patterns of behaviour that would have appalled me at the start became quite acceptable. I could wake up in the morning and decide I wanted her to shave. Nothing less would do and the argument would rumble on through the month until BINGO! She presented a shaven fanny as ordered. She would immediately be shagged and forgiven and normal life could resume. Next, I might decide I wanted her to go bra-less and wear a sheer top for an evening in front of my mates. On and on it would go like a runnaway train and the more she gave the more I wanted. If she tried to reason with me it just made things worse. I might say something as a joke and if her reaction was not correct – in my view – I would demand it for real. Sorry to go on but I’m hoping that some guy will read this and recognise the type of behaviour I’m describing.
Now, the really dumb thing about this is I knew the damage it was doing all along. I could see the way it was affecting her and through it all she offered me nothing but love and compromised as best she could. I lived in fear that one day she would wake up and realise she didn’t love me any more [as happened to a friend] yet still I carried on. I was aware of all the barriers, boundaries and taboos as I crashed through each and every one of them. Anal sex? Very painful? Who cares? I certainly didn’t. All that mattered was that I wanted it.
When I came to your blog this behaviour had been going on for about 15 years. I was supposed to be working from home but you know how it goes……. I read for hours and saw myself so many times I was embarassed. I needed to see it in black and white. I realised that she was still slim and sexy, the only change was that I had become a dickhead. I decided straight away that I had to put the genie back in the bottle. Since January I have tried to remove my worst character traits and give the better ones a chance. I still have the same impulses as before but I’m better able to control them. Our house is a tension-free zone and my partner is under no duress to perform for me sexually. If she wants to make love that’s fine but she must want to. The result of all this is that the zing is back in our relationship. She is much more likely to respond to my kisses and has started to take a more active part in our sex life. I had completely forgotten how it feels to be kissed passionately by someone who wants nothing more in return. I won’t go on but I’m very pleased I made the decision.
So, I’m living each day at a time and the longer the old attitude stays away the less likely it is to return. There are areas where the old me peeks out. For example, I still find it hard to stop myself groping her when she’s walking past. It’s a small thing for a guy but a big thing for a woman. They want to have the knowledge that they are your sex-toy without having the fact demonstrated to them ten times a day! I ask you, what girl is going to feel comfortable having her boobs exposed as she washes up with both the post and milk men due?
Also, I am struggling to control a feeling of resentment when an hour goes by without her remarking on my amazing transformation. Silly isn’t it? We discussed it yesterday morning and as I expressed my resentment I felt myself blushing because I sounded ridiculous, FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!!!!!!!
On a personal note I have far less tension in my life and I don’t start each day fuming ‘cos I couldn’t grope her in the bathroom. I don’t go to sleep unhappy ‘cos she won’t respond like a porn-actress and I don’t spend all weekend reminding her that she ‘owes’ me an mind-blowingly orgiastic, sex marathon. The new me says, ‘Not in the mood? No big deal, let’s have a kiss and a cuddle instead’, and gents, I hope you’re paying attention because I DON’T HAVE TO WAIT VERY LONG FOR MY REWARD!
Anyway, thanks for listening. My message to any bloke out there who has fallen into the same patterns of behaviour with his SO is this. Follow my four point plan to success.
1) PUT THE GENIE BACK IN THE BOTTLE
2) STEP AWAY FROM THE BOTTLE!!
3) LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH
|ORIGINAL COMMENTS ON THIS STORY:|
|Yeah. It’s called growing up. Takes a while. Some people never do it. They just get old.
jonathank • 3/22/04; 6:45:31 PM
|JonathanK, that may well be true in my case. However, my intention is to hopefully woo a reader or two away from destructive patterns of behaviour and into a calmer more satisfying relationship whether they be grown-ups or not.
Judging by your comment you do not appear to be part of my target audience anyway!!
Steve • 3/23/04; 7:43:23 AM
|Steve, I don’t think Jonathank meant to sound dismissive or hostile.
At least I hope he didn’t.
Julia Grey • 3/23/04; 9:34:22 AM
|I didn’t take the comment as hostile although his style is, shall we say, informal?
Steve • 3/23/04; 10:08:37 AM
|I’m not in your target audience either, Steve, but I wish I could show your story to my wife. I’d say, “See, I agree with you that there are plenty of men who are dickheads, and, by the way, I’m not one of them. I respect your boundaries. Why not decide to participate in this marriage?”
Harry • 3/23/04; 10:53:07 AM
|Bullseye! A hit, a palpable hit!
Steve • 3/23/04; 1:14:34 PM
I’ve just re-read your posts and I sympathise with your plight. It cannot be an easy thing to experience and is exactly the sort of position I feared I was going to put myself in.
Disregard my earlier glib comment. All the best, Steve
Steve • 3/23/04; 1:29:37 PM
|Sheesh, how can a self-professed dickhead quote Shakespeare, and still be a dickhead? I think, despite what you pretend to be, you may not be a dickhead. I know a lot of dickheads, dickheads have been friends of mine, and you, sir, are no dickhead. At least not any more.
Harry • 3/24/04; 6:35:41 AM
|I know enough Shakespeare to quote but not recite. One for the ladies……
‘Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
You could write for a thousand years and not even come close to topping that. Sigh!
Steve • 3/24/04; 10:32:31 AM
|This *has* to be written as a joke by a woman.
No other possibility….
another despised husband • 3/24/04; 3:05:31 PM
|To be frank, I did wonder about that, Despised, because Steve’s wife is portrayed so positively. But after a while I decided to take it as real.
I know from personal experience how easy it is to tell yourself that some uncomfortable aspects of your partner’s attitude or behavior are “okay” as long as other conditions of your life together remain enjoyable. So in the end it’s not impossible for me to believe that Mrs. Steve did the same.
But it’s also interesting how we always take our own experiences and reactions to be at least some variation on “the norm.” It’s hard for us to understand how other people could react so TOTALLY differently than we would to a given situation.
I also thought it was very interesting that Steve said to Harry that Harry’s situation is exactly the sort of position I feared I was going to put myself in.
It made me remember the earlier comment from the reader who said that he would lose his “self-respect” if he did not maintain his current attitude, if he was not Large And In Charge in his relationship.
Power is always an issue in marriage. Not only do humans (including — surprise, surprise, women) always need some sense of control or personal mastery to stay mentally healthy, our image of masculinity has consistently demanded some sort of visible dominance over other people. So the cultural pressure on men — some would say their biological imperative, too — to be The Boss or The Winner is intense.
When it comes to business, sports and to some extent raising children, maintaining overt dominance or authority is usually necessary, even crucial. But when it comes to adult, long-term partnership with women, efforts to always maintain the upper hand — which the earlier reader sadly seemed to equate with his “self-image” — are likely to backfire.
One of the websites that linked to me recently gave a hostile assessment of this blog, claiming that my message was that “men should be more like women.” Not at all.
I do think men AND women should be more Love oriented in their long-term sexual partnerships. I think men need to develop confidence in themselves and their definitively MALE self-image without resorting to the tempting but soul-destroying expedient of merely asserting Power.
Certainly, though, men can have Power. In fact, they must, in order to be human men. It’s the focus and direction of it that sometimes needs to change.
I’ll have more to say about all this later on, but as something to ponder in the meanwhile, think about your penis. It is an essential element of your masculine being whether it is hard OR soft. Both states define “healthy male functioning.” Although you probably enjoy the erect state more than the not, you couldn’t enjoy it nearly as much if it werent for the less exciting intervals. And as the Cialis ads say, “Erections lasting more than four hours require immediate medical attention.”
Julia Grey • 3/25/04; 8:23:13 AM
|You quoted the Cialis ad, “Erections lasting more than four hours require immediate medical attention.”
I think they need to be more specific. Should this medical attention be on the man, or on the woman?
Harry • 3/25/04; 9:21:01 AM
|Eep! Are you imagining a woman actually accomodating that erection for four whole hours? By that time, I suppose she would need medical attention. Ouch!
Lynn Gazis-Sax • 3/25/04; 11:15:17 PM
|Julia! Of course it was about power. I started our relationship as a gardener. She was the major bread-winner. The roles are reversed now and I am a Director and major share-holder in a software company (it’s a long story). It is no coincidence that my attitude changed. I’m no saint and I can look back and see what drove me to behave like a dickhead!
Now, I simply posted one of my favourite Shakespeare quotes. This quote is described on bartelby.com as
‘A sentence from the play Antony and Cleopatra, by William Shakespeare. A friend of Mark Antony says that Cleopatra is overwhelmingly attractive to men not so much because of her beauty as because of her fascinating unpredictability and range of moods.’
I thought it was appropriate for this site and this thread. No more, no less.
Getting back to the first response to the quote – DH will now be aware that it was written by a bloke. I have no idea of his domestic situation but I am convinced that had my wife been less accomodating or had I pushed her beyond endurance I would have become a despised husband myself. I might even have convinced myself that I was not to blame and that she was somehow responsible for the dead marriage. I suppose what I’m edging towards saying is that by the time you take notice of the state of your relationship it may well be too late and any amount of caring and compassion will be wasted on someone who doesn’t care if you love her or not. I know my words are harsh but they are nevertheless true.
Steve • 3/26/04; 6:32:54 AM
|I only wish my ex husband had come to the conclusion and decision you did. If he had, I might still be married. I could have dealt with all his other shortcomings and irritating maleish behaviours (clothes on floor next to hamper, and so forth), if I could have just had some peace.
No matter what I was willing to compromise on, he always wanted more. And he KNEW what it was doing to me, and did not care. I begged, pleaded, wept until my entire face was swollen, even used parables to try to explain to him why I could not do this and be happy. He turned a cold shoulder and heart to me. All affection was withheld unless I did something that was outside my comfort boundaries at his request.
Toward the end, I tried to make him understand how I felt in the most blunt and direct way I knew. I told him that performing the acts he demanded (including threesomes) just to stop the fighting and cold silence and bitterness made me feel raped. Even just hearing his demands felt like a rape against my soul. He informed me I was full of shit, and that if I’d just ‘let go and enjoy myself’ I’d discover how happy I could be as an amateur porn star.
When I left him, this had been going on for ten years, and it just got to the point that I couldn’t take another day. At that point, he told himself and everyone we knew that I’d been having an online affair, and left him for another man. “The computer people took you away from me.” There was no affair, I did not leave him for another man. To this day, he refuses to acknowledge that I left him because he’s a dickhead, unworthy of my love or my tears.
I hope that your message DOES reach someone out there, and changes their perspective and therefore their behavior, before they lose everything to the genie. It’s been four years since my divorce, and I still don’t date because I still don’t trust. I don’t hate men, but I cannot trust them. I fear giving up complete control of my life, my money, and my body to anyone – because a lot of men abuse the privilege of sharing power in a relationship. The genie isn’t just destructive to the relationship, it’s destructive to the victim’s spirit, and that has a more lasting effect than any divorce ever could.
I’m gratified to know that someone out there saw the light, and decided they valued being a good person, valued their partner and her worth, more than they valued the genie.
Gypsy • 4/5/04; 8:36:04 AM
My condolences to you. your posting deserves a response and I was waiting for the other folks to jump in. I have avoided giving my opinion as I do not want to appear too evangelical but I am now into my 4th month; I’m still having to work hard and the last month would have prompted some extreme behaviour from me in the past. She would have offended as follows:
1) She had a period.
2) She had an infection preventing intercourse.
3) She knackered her leg/groin trying to prove she can still beat her teenage son! This also prevented sex.
I would have been beside myself!!
Prior to January she would have been avoiding me and trying not to ‘provoke’ an argument. She would have failed.
The last 3 weeks have been strange. I’m still stressed-out from work, have too much work to do on the house, my son is (from time 2 time) just as aggravating as any other teenager and please don’t mention my family! However, I have not had any temper tantrums and we have been very close. btw my Son is benefitting as well but he doesn’t know why his Dad has stopped ‘losing it’ every now and again!
I’m done. Sorry for preaching, folks. Hope you find a good guy someday, Gypsy.
Steve • 4/19/04; 5:55:43 AM
|If I asked my wife to do anything sexual she would just tell me to shut up! she would tell me that she does plenty even when we both know she doesn’t. I haven’t had sex in 4 months and the only sex I get is when I ask for a hand job. and she reluctantly gives in. tells me to get the kleenex and hurry. Why do I stay with her? My only reason is that I love my daughters and don’t really want to break up the family. Is that fair to me? I bet most people would say no.
al • 7/3/04; 11:42:22 PM
|Okay. I am starting to understand what is really going on here on this blog. The topic alone spells out some underlying thoughts, “Why won’t my wife have sex with me”. I finally figured out why my wife stopped having sex with me after 20 years of marriage. Here is how it goes…First few years of our marriage, we had sex 5 to 8 times a week most of the time. It was fun, she initiated it about half the time. She never resisted when I initiated and I never resisted when she initiated. We complied to each other’s wishes.
Then the kids came after seven years of outstanding intimacy. After several years of the opposite of the first few years, she started telling me that the reason she can’t enjoy sex anymore was because it was too hard turning off the mommy-button. Even when it was midnight? 24/7! Things started changing gradually.
I accepted that she couldn’t get into the sex thing anymore. Usually the week after her menstrul cycle, whe would come a running and oh boy was it good. Then that was enough for her for another 28 days. Even though I might be laying over there with my genitals burning with desire, she wouldn’t respond. So, masterbation became a reluctant relief to eventually become a very bad habit.
Now, I don’t expect any of you to admit this, but masterbating requires a little fantasy after a while. I fantasized about my wife for a long time, but that gradually faded away due to her dislike of having sex with me. I found the internet. There was sex stories all over the place that gave me the power to gather relief from Mary Thumb and her Four Sisters. (sorry).
Then, the excuse for not liking sex became “because you prefer pornography over me”. Ouch! Boy, did I fall into that mess head over heals. I didn’t hide it from her, but yes, I have to say that late some nights I was reading a powerful story about something I wished we were doing. I even printed a story or two out to share with her. Yes, it disgusted her once and then one time she jumped my bones. She even uses her vibrator reading one once in a while.
Okay, then things evolbed into NEVER having sex anymore. This came about just a couple of years ago. We went to marriage couceling to work on our relationship. The only things that I thought that I had a problem with in our relationship were: 1) She spends a LOT of time with friends and can’t find 10 minutes with me, and 2) I would like to have sex at least once a week, if not more. Ooops! Now, I became the dickhead that Steve was talking about. She responded in front of the coucelor with, “What do you think I am, a life support system for a pussy?!!!!”. <my thoughts were, naturally and logically, well YES and more>
Well, my reply didn’t help, but at least she didn’t leave me and trash our kids life with a split family. We have talked about this a lot over the past couple of years. She likes to tease me with breasts shots, rub my crotch when I’m going out the door to work, or call me at work and start a naughty call, but she still doesn’t want to have sex with me other than right after her period.
Now, here are some “things” that make me wonder about it all. I give her without any qualms hours of oral, massaging, etc. without expecting intercourse. I occassionally have asked for the same. “I don’t suck on cocks!” And, she never has with me, but it would be nice to have that experience. She can flirt with any guy anywhere, but with me it is all teasing and baby talk. Probably cause she feels safe with those guys, but with me… dum du du du dummmmm… it’s sex time! Things can happen all day long with the teasing and such, but when the sun goes down, so does her libido and then she doesn’t feel good.
Now, the update. two months ago, an ex-brother-in-law walks back into our lives. Now, she had a thing for this ex-brother-in-law 18 years ago. She was like a little kid again. I couldn’t deny what was going on and so I gave her permission to have an affair with him if she wanted to, but I had to know what was going on. You know, maybe it would spark some fire. Don’t start lecturing me folks. She gave me so much extra attention for about two months. She liked fantasing while we had sex about pretending that I was really he. I even encouraged her to call out his name. Dang if this wasn’t the answer to her libido problem. They had a spat during one of their calls. I found out about the call because she accidentally told me about it. Then one day, cause I felt I needed to know, I checked her voicemail on her cell phone. Sure enough, they had been leaving each other little “I’m thinking about you and can’t stand being away from you” messages. Now, she doesn’t want to talk about him and well…. we are right back where we started.
Call me a dickhead if you want, but I think it has become a dictation of what my wife desires. I’m okay with her flirting, it actually turns me on. Oh well…. let the comments flow!!!!!
You’re luckier than I. I can’t even imagine having sex 5-8 times a week! I’ve been married for 7 years. Before we were married, we had sex about 2-3 times a week. Then BAM! After the wedding, everything stopped. We had sex 1-2 times a month. If she was mad at me some months not at all. The most painful part of it is, in the last 2 years I’ve become a much better husband. I was never a dickhead like that other guy.
Where do they find these women to do all these sexual things for them anyhow? My wife would step on my balls if I even mentioned a threesome. We’re incredibly successful professionals in our fields, with no kids. I keep asking myself, why do we have sex only once a month? So I became a better guy around the house. I do things without being asked, and I never complain about anything she does.
Still, it doesn’t matter. She’s fundamentally unhappy with the world or something. She won’t change. That’s my conclusion and that’s why I’m getting divorced.
Ed Gomez • 6/1/05; 2:37:43 PM
|Yes, it really is me. I just dropped by to say that I’m still sailing in calmer waters and I still pretty much stand by what I said in the original post. I hope Harry and the others sorted out their problems and moved on. I am definately glad I made the effort to stop the cycle of destructive behaviour and although I have fallen off the wagon once or twice I am still trying to stop turning a minor inconveniece, ie no sex tonight!, into a major issue. I mean, it’s not as if she is saying ‘never again!’, is it?
Oh, and one last thing. I AM a bloke and any lady wishing to check my credentials must apply in writing*
“Dickhead” Steve • 11/26/06; 10:05:34 AM
|Well I read a little bit of it,and unlike you my exwife was raped as a child.She wanted to please me in every way accept oral.She loved anal,in fact she was the one that first ask me to do it.I like you had sex outside of this Marriage only once did a Women fall in love with me,and I left her to come back to my Wife,after all we have Kids.
later I was kind of accused by shrinks that I molested her.Nothing could be farther than truth.I was obsessed with her and about her,and all I ever wanted was her to be ok.She was my only true love,we where high school sweet hearts and where married 23 years,she was a better mother than i was a father,but like you i got caught up in control over her, i was her lover and father type,she loved angry sex sometimes other times she stayed curled up in a ball.I couldn’t understand why she would be affraid sometimes and other times she was Wild.but I knew as well as you she would one day leave.
I hold no one against her will,although she held me against mine when I ask her to get help and didn’t.but two wrongs do not make it right.we live and we learn.the girl i cheated on her with loved giving oral sex and often said her husband was anal,and didn’t like anal.theres only 3 stages into adulthood,oral meaning loving anal meaning stingy phallic both grown up if any are broken in the stages there could be conflict. sex sometimes gets out of control and thats how,its like being a drug addict the more you have the more you want,and when a girl was raped,her good girl,was never found until she got help only 16 years after she should have.
I should have taken her myself 20 years ago or left like I was going to.but then I would have missed my kids growing up and thats the most honest answer i could have given
John • 3/22/07; 2:02:54 AM
|Wow, after reading all of this I am dumbfounded. All these people have relationship problems over sex. Will men and women ever get along? All I can do is give my own experiences.
My first husband became abusive to me soon after he committed himself to our relationship. In other words, after we decided to have a comitted relationship and see no one else. I knew his father had been abusive to his mother, but I thought I could handle it. I thought I could stop the pattern. His behavior knocked me off balance so hard and so fast, I didn’t stand a chance. Before the abuseiveness, the worse he got sexually is he would sort of withhold it. No reason that I could see. He wouldhave an erection, but still say no to sex.
He turned completely around and began demanding sex. Once he woke me up in the middle of the night saying that I had been playing with myself in my sleep and that he was leaving me. I had no idea whether I had done that or not – I was ASLEEP! I already had panic attacks and he made them even worse. It would evolve into him forcing sex on me on a fairly regular basis. It could start out consensual, but he would whisper thigns in my ear that would upset me. And I would start crying and beg him to stop. To this day I don’t know if I could beg for my life even, because I begged so much at that time. He would pull my hair, call me a whore, tellme what he would like to see other men do to me, etc.
The last time it happened I saw it coming and took off running. He ran after me and caught me, but I slipped out of a sweater I was wearing over my clothes and kept running. He never did it again and he apologized. Some of the time he did that I was very pregnant and he would lay right on top of my huge stomach.
I divorced him after a little over a year of marriage – most of that marriage we were split up half the time. He even stalked me for a while. I had to keep taking him back and breaking up to ween him off the relationship. To this day, we are still friends. He’s never been able to talk about the details of the things he did to me – but he gave me validation – it wasn’t my fault, it did happen – I’m not crazy, etc. This of course helped me overcome what happened.
then I remarried 5 years later to anothe guy.The behavior of the wives that you guys are describing is foreign to me. I rarely turned down sex. If I truly didn’t want to have it, we would compromise. Like I would just lay there. My second husband discovered he really liked it in the morning (I didn’t like morning sex). At first he thought I was nuts to suggest I not participate. I got the idea from John Grey’s book Mars and Venus in the Bedroom. John said it is very liberating for men to be able to have sex anytime they want it, even if their partner doesn’t participate.
He ended up liking it too much. He seemed to prefer it to our regualr sex. But that isn’t the reason we divorced. I love giving oral and pleasing my partner and I’ve never had them suggest threesomes. They both did like anal and I gave into it 8 times withmy first husband and 5 times with my second. To this day I refuse to have anal. They thought it was funny if they hurt me. I seem to be able to compartmentalize my bad experiences. But, stil, there is something familiar about your wives behavior. The inconsistencies.
The man I am married to now is in the pen. He has spent our whole marriage locked up. Our marriage has never been consumated. But I have never cheated on him. I love him very much. But there are times my behavior changes. Like I haven’t written to him hardly at all for the last four weeks. I’m not sure why. Somethig just set me off and I am having a hard time sitting down and writing to him. Little things he said in letters bothered me much more than usual – if at all. Ii understand the strange mood swings, or going for something one time and then compleely turning off to it another. Women seem to be so much more complex than men even. And I cannot explain my behavior or my feelings.
It reminds me of a book called ‘She’s Not There’. Written by a man who had a sex change to be a woman. He said when he started taking female hormones everything began to bother him. He became very emotional. He said EVERYTHING bothered him. So, I tend to think hormones have something to do with the way women act. And also bad past exeriences we either do or do not conciously remember. I can honeslty say that my own behavior is confusing even to me.
But never forget there is a dance going on. It takes two to tango. I’ve had episodes in my life where I abused my power in a relationship, too. I never loved my second husband. I married him because I got pregnant and he loved me and wanted me to. And because he would do anything to have me and my first husband scrred me, I did everything I could to keep the psychological upper hand in our marriage. I just didn’t use the sex against him. There have been times I absolutely did not want to have sex and ended up having a very intense orgasm. Then there were times I craved it, but couldn’t cum. I can’t explain any of it. But if one partner refuses to communicate – the relationship cannot go forward. you have to either agree to coexist or end it. These are just my thoughts on all of this. I don’t know if it will help any of you. I hope it somehow does.
Marlena Marlena • 4/25/07; 1:47:23 AM
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