How It All Goes Wrong

Another discussion from fairly early on in the old Salon blog.


In the comments on “Ricky’s” situation (outlined in “Lying and Power“), “Jason” wrote:

It got to the point that I really did resent her. I resented the fact that she wouldn’t let me please her, I resented the fact that she would not respond to my sexual overtures the way that she had in the past. I felt Exactly the way Harry did, that she had masqueraded as a woman with a normal libido in the beginning just to lure me in, and then shut it off when she was comfortable.

While I’m sure evil genius females of this sort do exist out there, the vast majority of us are just garden variety human beings whose sociopathic behavior is limited to the shameless lying that gets us out of making cookies for the PTA bake sale.

Part of this common male suspicion about the dropoff in women’s interest in sex after marriage is because of men’s misunderstanding of what constitutes a “normal” female libido. They tend to measure sexual desire’s “normalcy” by the source, urgency and constancy of their own, but that’s a false yardstick when it comes to women.

And it is also absolutely true that many women’s interest in sex does tend to be greater when the relationship is new or when there is some challenge in it, some “luring” or “amazing” of her partner still to be done. It’s more exciting and emotionally engaging for us that way. When you take away the pursuit or “knockout” factor, some (or alot) of the ooomph disappears. But it’s just what happens, it’s not a matter of cold-blooded, nefarious plotting. See: Boredom.

For most (although not all) men, their sexual drive comes mainly from the gonads. It’s a constant background simmer that needs little impetus from relationship factors. So, as I like to put it, their desire for their wives is about 75% physical and 25% emotionally induced. For most women, it’s the opposite. Their sexual desire is prompted more by their relationship to a man and their emotional excitement about him, and less by hormonal pressure. (Yes, yes, this is all generalization. It’s absolutely not true for a certain percentage of men and women at both ends of a wide spectrum, and more or less not true for others as you move inward, but it is true enough of at least a huge plurality to be useful to us here.)

That’s why it’s so easy for so many women to be completely “turned off” by a man who bores or angers them, and why so many of us can shut down sexually altogether for years at a time: our gonads just don’t tend to scream at us for constant fulfillment the way yours do.

Jason continues:

I was damn well secure in my belief that I was the downtrodden, abused, deceived man. I had no idea what I had done wrong, it seemed to me that I had treated her great throughout the relationship.

One constant factor I’ve noticed from the men who’ve written to me or who’ve talked to me over the years about this problem is that — at first, anyway — they always insist that they are Princes. They have “treated her great.” They have provided their wives every possible material thing their economic circumstances have allowed. Given that most of the guys are generally pretty normal and decent human beings, I always accept their belief that they’d always done their best. And then I try to help them figure it out.

Again, I guess I need to reiterate that because I’m trying to help guys figure out their missteps and problems, I’m not saying that women are perfect and don’t need to examine their own dumbassity. I’m not saying that men are beasts and women are blameless. I’m only saying that if you, as a man, want to solve your marital impasse, you can’t sit back and tell yourself that your wife has to fix herself and fly right. Even if she is the main source of the problem, you still have to do what YOU can do. Yes, it seems extremely unfair to have to do all the work, but if you have a problem, you want to solve it, right?

Think of your wife’s sexual interest in you after you get married like a car windshield. With each spatter and bit of dirt thrown up from the road of life, her view of you gets dimmer, uglier and less interesting. The two major sources of road grime are “Anger” and “Boredom“, although the other factors I’ve mentioned in this blog, like “Disgust” and “Distraction“, etc. also play a role.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself right now about the gradual buildup of the anger factor:

* Are there things your wife has asked you to do (or not do) that you keep forgetting?

* Do you talk to her like she’s a six-year-old? For example:

“How many times do I have to tell you?”
“Could you possibly be any dumber?”
“I’ve told you and told you….”
* Do you make “jokes” about her appearance or failings?

* Do your mother or siblings or friends almost always “win” when there is a conflict between them and her?

* Do you feel free to “vent” at her about your daily dissatisfactions and irritations?

* Do you ignore her or take her for granted?

* Do you repeatedly blame her for the children’s behavior?

* Do you put her down in front of other people?

Remember, an angry woman is seldom a willing woman. You can’t piss her off all day and then expect her to fall into your arms when you get into bed with her at night.

Comments in response to this post from the original blog:
Great column today, Julia! (And yesterday, too). I don’t have a bunch of time to comment on the fact that I really AM a Prince of a guy, but I have to say that, of those questions you asked, the only one I was guilty of, and this one just slightly guilty, is the problem about forgetting to do those things she asks you to do. And, generally, these are household task-related. See, I’m just kind of a forgetful Prince.

Okay…the windshield definitely has its splatters: some money problems I have caused, some impatience in the past with our sex-life-limbo, some outright deception about starting smoking again, (oh, and that thing with the prostitute in Mexico…just kidding). Looking forward to your ideas regarding clearing it off, keeping it clear and having her view of me be a happy sight. God, I love this blog!

Harry • 11/20/03; 8:58:51 AM


THANK YOU!!!! My hubby and I have had many discussions on both why I lose interest from time to time, and why he can not seem to express himself and his feelings to me.

This blog is so amazing! You not only scratch the surface of the differences between how men and women can view the same subject, you also delve deeper and help us to find solutions or compromises that will work for us.

I am so glad I found this blog! I am planning to continue to use it as a resource to help strengthen the communication lines between myself and my husband. I hope that he will also your site as a way to better understand how women think and use that knowledge to communicate more effectively with not only myself, but his mother, grandmother, and female friends. (I can’t make him, but I can show him and hope.)

Thanks again!

New fan,

Monica • 11/20/03; 11:59:21 AM

Julia, I’ve recently moved from catching up on all the old entries (in two days straight) to being a daily visitor. I am disheartened by the fact that a lot of what you mention seems to happen (especially Boredom and Distraction) in my own relationship.I’m not married, but we’ve been living together for almost 4 years and a couple for over 6, so I shouldn’t be surprised that things have settled, and I know I’m not a Prince (although my Queen keeps telling me I am *wink*).

I know that if I want things to improve (and not just the sex-life, believe it or not I’m doing it for the ‘right’ reasons) then I need to do something about it, and indeed I try.

Thank you for the tips and pointers, sometimes though it all seems so inevitable. Perhaps humans aren’t meant for long-term happiness with one person.

Shadow • 11/20/03; 6:44:57 PM

The fault lies not in the stars, but in ourselves.

We want others to agree with us, for we are in love with being right. We need that more than results. Julia, this is a strongly male trait. Wars have been fought for less.

Ma Joad says that men go in jerks and rushes – I forget the words – but  that women are like a river. In terms of sexual desire, it is generally the reverse; men have, on average, more constant levels of desire while the average woman’s level of desire rises and falls, is situational – thus the “romantic” date – and can be enhanced or diminished by context.

Men are drawn to cheat when context draws their women into family and other non-sexual involvements, while women are drawn to cheat by situations which bring out their sexuality.

I wonder what hermaphrodites do?

jonathank • 11/20/03; 7:49:39 PM

jonathank, they make lots of money doing porn movies and don’t have to worry about their sexual needs being met.

Actually, my sexual desire doesn’t wane. I can chose to let it get buried under the “context of family things” but other than that it is always there. It is my choice as to how much of a woman I want to be and if sex is something that I want.

Lynn • 11/20/03; 8:07:44 PM

It is my choice as to how much of a woman I want to be and if sex is something that I want.

My basic point is that most men can’t do any “choosing” at all about that. They couldn’t “bury” it if they tried.

Most women, on the other hand — your personal experience to the contrary — can’t simply summon desire at will.

Julia Grey

On the one hand, I tend, like the other Lynn, to feel that my sexual desire doesn’t wane (at least not that much), and is really pretty constant. On the other hand,

a) I don’t have kids (which I imagine would make a huge difference), and

b) I can’t imagine having the level of regular sexual desire some men describe themselves as having (for instance I can’t imagine wanting to masturbate every day, even given no other sexual outlet at all).

Lynn Gazis-Sax • 11/21/03; 9:56:04 PM

Truly written by a woman. You first must understand that you can’t really fully understand the male perspective. So quit pretending you do.
You talk about how women use sex to lure their men in and then when they’ve got him all bets are off and “that’s just the way it is”???? Are you kidding me???? NO, that is just not acceptable. You’ve now entered into a relationship through fraud. How can you posssibly expect this to work well?
I real through your little check list of things we bad, bad men do. I’m no prince, but I’m a pretty good husband. But the bottom line is a wife needs to be a wife. She needs to get herself interested. Unless her man is a complete jerk, there isn’t much he can do, it is, in fact, up to her.
Sorry, you just can’t let women off the hook like this, but I’m sure it sells because most of your readers are women.
Take care of your husbands ladies or you may lose him.
Cantankerous • 11/30/07; 11:27:59 PM
Im not writing about masturbation. I am about to break down. I understand what your saying, I just dont know where to start. Everything has been building up to today, this terrible day, and my secret surprises I wanted to please her with (more than sex, ie, drinks, dinner, etc.) went completely down the drain and I dont know how. I am so lost. Please help me, if you can…Me
tkethoroughbred • 4/28/08; 3:01:29 PM

26 Responses to “How It All Goes Wrong”

  1. ToppHogg Says:

    What about the other side of the coin? What about the man who puts his life on hold and works at a terrible job and loses a lot of sleep to watch the kids to put his wife through grad school only to have her decide just before graduation that she can’t do that kind of work, and who then stays home berating him that he isn’t doing enough to provide for her desires? Nagging him constantly about things at times when they can’t be dealt with? Always having higher priorities than sex, including going over the grocery list and when the bills are due (both true), and then complaining that I don’t seem to want sex with her? There is only so much desire when one marries Mrs. Always Right, and that desire was used up long ago. I no longer care that we ever have sex again.

    I would be long gone from this “relationship” if it wasn’t for the fact that my kids are so closely tied to their mother that I would be completely ostracized by them if we parted. I don’t want that. So I remain and play the game, awaiting the day I don’t have to play anymore.

  2. STEvEN Says:

    I agree with the second half of what Cantankerous says. Women have the sexual power in the relationship. They have to take some responsibility for their sexuality. Some women do “work on it” and succeed in improving the frequency and quality of their sex lives. Others, use some of the reasons posted in this blog as “excuses” to exonerate themselves. I have known women who just don’t cooperate when it comes to enhancing the sex life that they have with their partners. These are otherwise decent men who, like Cantankerous says, are not saints or heroes, but not abusers or badmen either. What gives with women expecting men to just “accept” the status quo? I do desire sex almost daily, but I also realize my wife does not. But if she is unwilling to try to have sex more than once a month, then “Houston, we have a problem”. Sometimes, these things drag on for years, men get frustrated, even good, patient men, if they have talked about their feelings and again, the woman fulfills none of her side of the duties.

  3. Laila Says:

    Again sex is referred as a “duty”. Yawn.
    I understand that in general men probably want more sex than women. Men have needs and all that. OK. So what do you guys really want? You want your wife just give it to you even though she is not in the mood, it probably hurts her and she doesn’t have any pleasure in it? You still want to do it? Seriously? You don’t care how she feels as long as she puts out and it doesn’t bother you at all that when you impose yourself on her this way, she is getting even LESS interested next time? Don’t you guys want to be good lovers? Don’t you want a genuinely interested wife, who craves sex with you? Or you just don’t care and want to only have sex when YOU want it, HOW you want it? Don’t you want a PARTNER but a mindless doll? She just have to open her legs and pretend? And you will be happy then? Is that it?
    From a woman’s point of view: Yes, I lost some of my sex drive. Some of it probably just because I’m getting older + those things Julia described. We have sex about once a week on weekends. I’m fine with it even if it’s a quickie and I’m not much in the mood. Honestly, it’s even enjoyable to some degree. However if my husband wants something more often or something special, he has to make me more interested. It’s like you will eat some bland food when you’re hungry, but you really have not cravings for it. Again I’m not asking for anything special, even though dinner out once in a while or some little gift would be nice. When a man makes jokes at his wife expense the whole day (and not necessarily in front of others), when he never looks at her when she talks and in a middle of the conversation that is important to her starts laughing at something stupid shown on TV, when he NEVER compliments his wife, but tells her he finds other women attractive – well, that man shouldn’t expect his wife doing anything special for him in the bedroom and often it’s not because she wants consciously to punish him, but because the whole day prior to that was an “anti foreplay” and a big turn off.
    Another thing. Do you think it is helpful to constantly tell your wife that she is cold and not as she used to be and that she should enjoy sex with you as often as possible? Do you honestly think after those talks she will enjoy it more? Or again, you don’t care and want her just to play a role?

  4. Sanjay Says:


  5. chuck Says:

    I think women should recognize that men have very strong drives, and men need to recognize that women’s libidos are quite often lower than theirs, and based on emotional connection more so than lust.

    I think you can start the fires burning early in the day and build up to rapturous lovemaking by the end of the day. Sometimes the energy, time factor, work responsibilites take over, but I do think this is a good way to keep things passionate.

    On the other hand (literally) I think women/wives need to recognize their man’s need for sexual release. I mean come on, you love the guy, and ok you’re not always in the mood, why not give him a sexy handjob. I don’t know too many men in long term relationships or marriages who would be unhappy with this. This shouldn’t be the bread and butter of their sex life, but rather the maintainence part of it. As cold as it sounds, it will keep him happy. We’re talking like what five minutes of your day? If you think this is too much, or you feel compromised, then I think you would be better off alone.

  6. Aaron Says:

    Chuck, I can not agree more

  7. Mark Says:

    I know I would appreciate that as well. Just to know that you know your husband needs release and to be there in a sexy way to help him……. No downside to that is there?

    • Jim Says:

      Of course there’s downside, because she’s giving up control.

      I mean its a biological thing right? Sex was fine, before she got the ring. Then some biological thing happened with the gold-and-diamond interacting with her body, and that’s why she can’t have sex!

      What this feminazi, Andrea Dworkin-loving author is saying is that men have no right to sex in a marriage. Its literally unbelievable

      I bet you that about 5% of marriages are TRULY happy, maybe even less. Sound ridiculous? Just really listen to some men out there. Behind the fake rehearsed answers, there is a TON of pain that is felt.

  8. J Says:

    Hello Julia,
    I wanted to thank you for your post today. However, I have yet to find a real solution to my problem no matter how hard I look. Let my put it to you this way, there is always talk about how to reach your women, how to make her feel desirable, what tasks to pay attention to and so on. I am the one here looking for ways to enhance the passion in my 6 year marriage. I make baths for my wife as surprises often, manage the children, handle the finances, open doors, talk sweet and rub backs with no expectation and so on. I have even sat and talked and requested talks about enhancing our love life with no anger and complete respect. To no avail. I see all these article about what a man should do to reach his wife on a sexual level and I have done it all with an open and determined heart. I am a prince and my wife will tell you so, BUT she does not touch me (and I am 5′ 8″ with blue eyes and decent body 33 years old) talk about sex, suggest romance, instigate a special evening at all. I know, all the articles and books say she is tired, it is hard managing a full time job, the chores around the house and all the children with their problems, But my wife is not any of these things. To give her extra credit I would say she does all the cooking and LOVES IT. She works about 20-24 hours a week, does NO house hold chores, and sends our children to handle themselves. I deal with all the house hold chores, all the children’s issues, the finances, our romance, our plans and so on. I have even asked her if it would make her feel more strength to take over control of some of these issues to regain her confidence levels. I compliment her daily and I get sarcastic smiles and playful “What ever’s”. I have reached the point to where I no longer believe a marriage has no column of passion and desire once you have reached a certain point, and to even discuss the needs of a man or the desires that are unfulfilled to her is criminal and rediculouse to talk about. Bottom line is, I have tried everything SUCCESSFULLY as been directed, I have attempted real communication and interest with no change in my wife’s desire for me or our love life to increase (over the past 4 years), So what would you say to this Mrs. Julia, I am that special circumstance and I would love to hear any solution you might recommend to me. I am trying desperately not to abandon all hope but the more I try to rekindle the fire the colder it seems to get around my house. I don’t want to give up and except that this is all there is but I have no proof that it will ever change. Sorry I am at the point where I need to see to believe.

    • d Says:

      Wow –
      If I didn’t know better, I would’ve thought I wrote this. However, my wife also suffers from depression and a very troubled childhood. I feel like I’ve given up so much (a 2nd career, some important relationships, etc…) all to attend to her needs. In return, I’m not just denied sex, I’m told that I don’t meet her emotional needs. She tells me that if I spent more time in the Word (we are Christians) that I would not have the desires that I have. I’ve never really considered divorce an option, but these last two years have been really hard. I could go on, but I already know that you know my pain.

    • Anonymous Says:

      Wow, sounds just like my wife and I. I have tried all the stuff you have. I am sooooooo confused. My wife gets angry at me for try to have sex with her. Hell she gets angry at me just trying to hug her. Soooo confused. I can take it.

  9. John Says:

    Fuck her and Retire to thailand where women are women and wifes dont matter

  10. Rodger Allen Campbell Says:

    I have been married for 14 years this October 9th and I love my wife more than my own life, she has been the best partner I have ever had she is understanding to me she is comfort and she is joy and she is my hope for a happy life. I have been what I feel a good man a good husband and a loving supportive man who would give his life for his wife who listens to her when she talks supports her when she needs support and comforts her when she needs comfort a man who cooks all the meals and doe’s the laundry each week and keeps the house clean and doe’s the dish’s and waits on his wife hand and foot so she can have an easier life and not have to worry about going to work and coming home to have to clean up after me or her or anyone for that matter and I have always made her lunch for he every day so she didn’t have to so she could just wake up and get ready for work and have time for herself and after all these years I feel as though I have gone above and beyond what any husband would do for his wife or for love. My wife has suffered from past issues that caused her to have mental health problems that caused physical problems and I was always there for here to take care of her and see her through it all but I feel I was left behind forgotten by her yet my love stayed the same if not stronger for her but felt her love for me had dimmed and I was no longer loved the way she loved me before. Sex became nothing now to her and it meant a lot to me because it was a part of the love we had for each other and now it was no longer a part of anything and I had to shut down my want for sex with her, I would ask and she always says no or next time but next time never came around and I would talk to her about it but she would never give a reason why she didn’t want it and we have always talked about everything all the time and now we don’t talk about much of anything anymore and our marriage has become cold and distant and has caused me emotional distress and fear, fear of falling out of love fear of loosing the one woman I love more than anything fear of being alone and fear of divorce. I have now become cold and silent towards her because I don’t know what to say or how to say anything without it turning into a fight or an argument because she will show no feelings towards me anymore and all I get is a kiss on the head and an emotionless I love you from her that leaves me feeling cold and empty and not loved and I find myself crying a lot because I know my wife doe’s not love me like I love her anymore and I feel I am weak to her not strong enough for her and I feel as I am not a man anymore. I have been thinking of a divorce now myself to let her be free of me and have her life back to go and find what will make her happy and at the cost of crushing my heart and destroying what little manhood I have left and just disappearing from her life so she could find what she wants without me being around and it is killing me inside to watch my life fall apart and know I will never see her again and not be apart of her life anymore. I feel sex is more important than we all think it is, it is not just for pleasure it is love between a man and a woman a husband and a wife and without it has destroyed many marriages because they could not share that feeling of closeness anymore or express the love they have with each other and for me it has made me feel like less of a man a worthless husband and not needed in her love life if there is a love life in her and I feel alone and sad and not knowing what to do or feeling no woman will ever want me and with growing up being used by woman to get to another man or my first wife having 9 affairs on me and being sexually molested by two women as a child for a few years and being abused physically and mentally by my mother has lead me to feeling worthless to females and feeling I will never be happy and never have a partner to live out my life with and feel the love I so much have always wanted but I guess I will never get and I ask god “why” I have a heart I have love to give but all I hear is silence and all I feel is hurt and emptiness

    • modernscribemusic Says:

      dang bro this is crazy….i feel alot of what your saying …big time…..there is a book called REAL MARRIAGE by a guy named mark Driscoll , its really good , maybe a good read for you , he also has a video link for real marriage on his site , Called Mars Hill

  11. modernscribemusic Says:

    its crazy everything you said is happening to me , literally , only my girl is treating me this way not me treating her this way . she calls names , talks down , makes fun , complains and vents ALOT !!! Takes me for granted nd expects me to be there whenever she calls or txts or snaps her fingers , hey i got my own life ya know , but i put the brakes on it to consider her cause i do love her very much . All the time. She is so selfish in regards to me , she has pushed n pushed to where we do not see each other except on the weekends ,no questions , i tried n tried , she doesnt even seem interested but when i ignore her n really just go do my own thing outa the blue she pops up being all sweet wanting to hangout , complimenting me telling me how much she loves me n such. I told her i had considered leaving her cause i figured she wasnt going to change after multiple conversations about the issues we had , i changed for her but she didnt change for me , little sacrifices ya know ? anyways , when i told her that she turned on the attention then , said she was sorry for being that way n showed me alot of attention n gave me alot of her time on the weekends . This did make me happy but words she would say things she would do n say let me know that if it was up to her she wouldnt really be into giving the time n attention . flippin selfish !! So here we are , going through the motions , I find myself , a guy who has never cheated , always been loyal , having such huge difficulties with this , cause i would like to be happy for more than a few minutes after fighting it out with threats basically.Sucks!!!!I really like her and wanna be with her , i love her , however that love and those feelings are slowly fading n getting ripped apart by her attitude , words , and body language towards me . Its almost like she thinks shes this
    virgin goddess or something , playing games with my mind n body , stirring me up emotionally n physically and in the end never committing . always backing out from anything deep . Ive read all the neurology books , all the narcissistic sociopath books , talked to pastors , prayed , lol ive talked to her about , ya know try to be open about it lol ….Still happens , still goes on ….sheesh…only God knows……

  12. lifesabanquet1 Says:

    Hi Julia! I wanted to know if you could answer my question regarding your blog! I’m Heather and my email is Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com 🙂

  13. Larry Howell Says:

    Julie; I really appreciate this blog. I too am in the throes of trying to reawaken my sweeties libido. We have been together for 54y but separate for the last 20y. I do understand my complete failure in our intimancy department, and I feel that communication is the real issue here. Who explained the details to me? No one! My focus now is to be the one to explain something of value to our childrens children while I can. Julie; THANK you so much,

  14. Anonymous Says:

    I would like to know about women not wanting sex from their partner/husband yet they are extremely jealous of other women.
    And the one thing I don’t understand is why does the man (after 4 years without sex and over 15 years of jealous fits from her) is still there….
    I don’t get it….Unhappy men yet they stay….

  15. Mrs. Charles Says:

    Hello All! New to this blog, and have learned quite a bit after reading several posts. Laila’s response above is an excellent one full of insight and womanly perspective. I can also answer any gentleman who asks why his wife will no longer have sex with him.

    Please take a moment and think with honesty on the following: how good are you in bed? Do you have the faintest idea how her body works? Do you know how long it takes for a woman to become aroused? Has it been as enjoyable and satisfying for her EVERY time — or even half the time, as it was for you? My guess is you are “done” and snoring ten minutes before she is up to speed so to speak. And finally, do you care? Would bet the ranch your wife’s answers to these questions are different than yours.

    I will never forget the ridiculous jerk at a party who told the following joke: “How do you make a woman come?” The punchline: “Who cares!” And he laughed and he laughed… The rest of us looked on in a sort of detached pity at his beautiful wife, whose sad face told the bitter truth. Here her man proudly announced to a room full of friends that he is terrible in bed! Does she enjoy sex with him, have orgasms and all? He certainly does not care! Ha-ha! Perhaps you are this jerk.

  16. Ed Quigley Says:

    “Please take a moment and think with honesty on the following: how good are you in bed? “

    For every thoughtful and insightful comment that suggests that a problem in bed might partially be due to a man’s consistent mediocre sexual performance, there are a ton more that simply bulldoze men’s legitimate anxieties, concerns and complaints into oblivion with a ‘you’re bad at sex’ flourish with little insightful follow-up, designed more to put dissatisfied men in their place and bruise their ego than any real dialogue. It’s a far too reductionist tactic that leaves men in the same position they are currently in while removing any sort of responsibility women may have had in the relationship.

    “Do you have the faintest idea how her body works?”

    Knowing how her body works is intrinsically hinged on her ability to communicate what’s pleasurable to her. If she is unable or unwilling to share that, then there is a little a guy can do other than resort to blind luck and a (hopefully) positive response. Boys do not get a manual in the mail when they hit puberty on how to pleasure women. By and large, they have to rely on the feedback their partners give them. Yes, if she is telling him what she likes and he still can’t or won’t perform, there’s an obvious problem. But if she stays silent, what’s a guy realistically to do?

    “Do you know how long it takes for a woman to become aroused?”

    In the 10+ sexual relationships I’ve had, and another +10 casual sex partners I’ve had in the course of my lifetime, the time it takes for the SAME woman to become aroused varies wildly. In a general sense, yes, men’s arousals are somewhat consistent/women’s arousals are somewhat situational (with a LARGE degree of variation).
    The point is though, isn’t that arousal isn’t taking too long; it’s not happening at all. I’m willing to make a large effort to kindle her arousal, but not an exhaustive one. If it takes moving heaven and earth, hours and days of prep work, doing all sorts of ‘extras’ (which I maintain do little to arouse a terminally bored partner) to foster and nurture a fickle libido that can all be undone with the slightest misstep or ill-timed word then it’s unlikely I’m going to continue doing it, even if it occasionally ‘pays off’, nor do I suspect that she’s really attracted to me at all. This isn’t being careless or lazy, it’s being human with a sense of dignity.

    “Has it been as enjoyable and satisfying for her EVERY time — or even half the time, as it was for you?”

    Very few people have an enjoyable and satisfying sexual encounter EVERY time they have sex. If that’s your expectation, it’s safe to say no one is going to be good enough for you. As far as half the time goes, if I asked my ex-wife, as I consistently did, she would answer ‘of course’, and then we wouldn’t have sex for a month. So ultimately I guess I don’t know, and ultimately, I guess I got tired of worrying about it.

    “My guess is you are “done” and snoring ten minutes before she is up to speed so to speak.”

    Your guess is wrong, at least in my case. I was consistently the one who wanted more foreplay in my marriage; she was the one who wanted sex over with as quick as humanly possible (when we had it, that was). I suspect a lot of men who are reading this blog are in my camp.

    “And finally, do you care?”

    I also suspect men who are reading this care to a degree. After all, they are investing the time on the internet reading about this problem. But caring only goes so far. If your partner doesn’t at least meet you part-way (that doesn’t mean just having duty sex once in a blue moon, I mean actual, real communication followed up with actual, real action), then caring about a situation has limits. Sooner or later, you have to preserve your sanity and realize nothing you can do with an uncooperative and unwilling partner is going to have any reasonable, long-term effect. All I know is that if my ex-wife was unsatisfied with our sex life and instead of saying something about it, even after I tried numerous time to elicit open-ended conversations, subjected me to years of miserable sexlessness, while simultaneously making ME feel bad about having natural arousals and desires, I’d pack my bags and tell her in very clear terms to go jump in a lake.

    I will never forget the ridiculous jerk at a party who told the following joke: “How do you make a woman come?” The punchline: “Who cares!” And he laughed and he laughed… The rest of us looked on in a sort of detached pity at his beautiful wife, whose sad face told the bitter truth. Here her man proudly announced to a room full of friends that he is terrible in bed! Does she enjoy sex with him, have orgasms and all? He certainly does not care! Ha-ha! Perhaps you are this jerk.

    That’s right, men. Dissatisfied with your sex life? You are as big a jerk as a guy who publicly humiliates his wife. Okay then, that was helpful.
    I’m not necessarily discounting anything you say outright, I just find your tone a little… punitive?

  17. gary Says:

    You didn’t help at all. My wife started cutting me off in my late 20’s we have now been married for 34 yrs. She has allowed me sex 4 times in 12 yrs and none in the past 5 yrs. She wont talk to anyone about it and says its her body and its her decision. I’m sleeping in the other bedroom now because I’m not gonna force myself on her but its like starving and having a meal set in front of me and not being allowed to touch it. Help. Please
    I’m so angry and hurt

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  19. Hung Apking Says:

    Everyone loves your personal style of writing. I’m wondering if you might take a peek at my own article and tell me your opinion about my style. I’m not a natural English speaker so this is why I am asking.

  20. Bradley Panias Says:

    Thanks for spending the time to post this information. I am now one of your most passoniate followers. I have your RSS feed in my iphone and will read your blog regularly.

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