What To Do

Originally Blogged: November 21, 2003

What To Do

Back about a thousand years ago when I was preparing for my long and brilliant career in acting (cough), I had to choose between two different ways of approaching the craft. The first was the legendary Method school of acting, in which actors attempt to almost mystically turn themselves into their characters and Really Feel their emotions. It’s a very difficult and draining process if you do it right, and to me (admittedly lazy about the “backstory” research and annoyed by the silly improv exercises my instructors were requiring) Method seemed to be favored by people who were not so much serious about their Ahhhrrt as serious about dramatizing themselves as Ahhhrtists.

I preferred what was known as “technical” acting, which concentrated solely on creating a believable outward appearance of emotion rather than generating the emotion and then expressing it for the audience to see. The fascinating thing about technical acting, though, was that just pretending to feel something would often cause some inklings of that emotion to emerge within you.

It was my first experience with the phenomenon of “acting as if,” which in the psychological world has gained currency as a way of helping people resolve longstanding interpersonal impasses. It works like this: No matter how you actually feel, act as if you feel differently. The other person will then react to you differently than they have before, and you will be able to react differently to them, and as a result there is a good chance that you will actually be able to break new ground in the relationship.

With that idea in mind, here are a couple of “techniques” you can try to get your relationship with your wife back on track.

Look into her eyes. It is astonishing how little we actually meet each others’ eyes when we are bored or angry or taking each other for granted.

Touch her hand and point out something interesting or funny to her. Smile.

Brush her hair away from her face or fix the collar of her coat. Don’t be upset if she ducks away from this the first time or two. She may not understand or trust it. Just look at her kindly (into her eyes), don’t reproach or get angry. Say something like, “I’m sorry I scared you.”

Open a door for her. Guide her gently through it with a hand at the small of her back.

Share a piece of food with her. Break a cookie apart and smile at her (looking at her eyes) while you offer the other half.

Listen to her. Most women babblebabblebabble at their husbands because their husbands DON’T listen. They’re trying to get something through, get some kind of acknowledgement that they are being heard, that they matter, that they even exist in their husbands’ world. Listening means finding something to respond to. But response doesn’t mean just briskly saying, “This is what you do to fix yourself or that situation.” It means saying something like, “Gee, that’s interesting, because something similar happened to me once (share it!),” or “Wow, that must have hurt you,” or “Is there anything I can do to help you with that?”

Pat the couch next to you, inviting her to sit down with you. This is especially nice at a party or other event. If at a party, lean close and tell her (or whisper) that her perfume smells nice or her hair looks pretty.

Tell her something about your inner life during your day. Some small incident, no matter how trivial. Let her sympathize with you about a little miff, or understand your tiny triumph over an office rival, or learn about an annoyance you experienced that has nothing to do with her. As time goes on, this will be easier, and eventually you may be able to move on to sharing bigger feelings with her.

Buy her something extremely cheap, totally stupid and/or funny, just because.

When she’s carrying on about something other people have done to her, ASK if she is seeking advice before you give it: “Do you want advice, sweetheart, or do you just need me to listen?”

Pay attention. Try to figure out what’s going through her mind. Try to anticipate what she needs.

Say, “I’m sorry I….[made fun of you, didn’t take the trash out, spent that money, said that about your mother….]” (Oh, so hard, but oh so necessary!)

Smile. Look into her eyes.

Pay attention.

Bring her a cup of tea. Cover her feet with the afghan.

Say, “I love you. I may not act like it sometimes, but I really do.”


Did I mention looking into her eyes?

Comments in response to this post:
Oh, Julia. Sigh. This is the specific advice for “clearing the splatter from the windshield” of our relationships? Acting “as if”? As if, indeed. This is the standard advice chapter in almost every book on relationship-repair I’ve ever read (e.g., When One of You Wants to Bring the Two Of You Together; The Sex-Starved Marriage, etc.) Please tell me that your specific advice encompasses more than this.

I don’t know about the other guys here, but I’ve tried this. Sure, it gives you an initial feeling of warmth and contentedness, but so does urinating in your pants. And this technique may work for some low-libido wives out there, but my wife, who is very intelligent, never seems to get past the suspicion stage–“what are you up to?” And I’m not sure exactly how acting “as if” is any different from burying my resentment down deep and presenting a happy face, a practice I was criticized for during some earlier discussions that went on here.

I want to clarify: I am almost always loving and kind towards my wife. I cook for her. I share my cookies. I touch her warmly without any sexual demand in mind. I even look deeply into her eyes, which are still so very beautiful to me. I listen to her, am careful not to give unsolicited advice, and have learned to walk the tightrope between chivalry (helping on with a coat…) and chauvinism (…but only if I grab her coat first inadvertenly). I act “as if” I love her, because, even after months and years of physical rejection, I still do. My love for her, and the display of it, is obvious and generous. Her love for me is obvious, she tells me. Her display of it? Fleeting: a hug which is noteworthy for its rarity. A soft kiss faintly remembered in the many weeks of grandmotherly tight-lipped ones.

Julia: Tell me there’s more. (Or, at least, act “as if” there’s more.) I’m sorry if this sounds harsh. I really do enjoy this blog, as my most recent comment clearly indicates. But, if this is it…if this is the key…if this is your answer to all of us who have waited patiently through all the subjects in the right-hand column for THE ANSWER, I’m going to go home, sit in a closet, and cry, because my last glimmer of hope just faded to black.

Harry • 11/21/03; 12:22:40 PM
Here’s my guess, based on my inner life during my first marriage (which ended after 12 years): she had a fantasy about what married life would be like, and somehow real life has fallen short (it always will). She hasn’t thought about it; there’s just something missing, she’s not as happy as she thought she’d be, and she doesn’t know why. Maybe she blames you for that.She doesn’t remember or value the ongoing good stuff: it’s *supposed* to be there, that’s not a bonus–it’s justice, so it doesn’t count extra. The bad stuff, on the other hand, was not part of the picture she made up, and it’s not fair!

If she feels she’s getting a raw deal and doesn’t know why, she may be blaming you, or thinking that the relationship was wrong in the first place. She may not feel generous with her affection–she’s not getting what she wants, and may either be withholding as punishment or may simply not have the resources to be able to give when she’s not feeling good about her life.

IMHO it’s an immature attitude. Intelligence is not causally related to (nor even well correlated with) emotional maturity. Learning to appreciate and honor the minor and major good stuff in life is not automatic, and takes intentionality of purpose; choosing to focus on that, and let the small stuff be small stuff (and most bad stuff is small stuff, as well as temporary, compared to the good stuff, which is usually permanent) is the act of an adult.

Kris Hasson-Jones • 11/21/03; 12:44:16 PM
Gentlemen,I have been trying to tell all of you this all along.


Whatever her reasons for not having sex, making love, whatever you want to call it, they are hers. Noone elses. If she choses to tell you anything about it, then that is her choice.

This again is something that I have said before and I will say again:

You have three basics choices.

Leave, and be done with it.

Stay and take a lover…

Stay and don’t take a lover. Be miserable, be unhappy, and be quiet about it.

There is no magical cure. Years of therapy might do the trick and they might not. But it is up to YOU to do what makes you happy. Not anyone else. She can’t do it, the councilor can’t do it, you have to decide what you want out of life and then


I have a male friend. His greatest sexual joy in life is oral sex. The day they walked out of the church, she looked at him and flat told him, “That’s the last blowjob that I will ever do”. She meant it. Two years ago I was in their home at Christmas time, she asked him what he wanted for Christmas. He said a blowjob, she walked over to her purse and took out a 20 dollar bill, wadded it up and threw it at him. She then told him that there was his christmas present. He finally got the message. He now has a woman that he sees once a week. Does his wife know, probably, but he keeps her in the style that she married him to be kept in. She doesn’t have sex with him, they haven’t in years. They don’t even share a bed. He has his room and she has hers.

Sad, but true story.

Please don’t be like him.

Lynn • 11/21/03; 1:17:26 PM
Harry, whatever you’re doing it ain’t working, so you have to change what you’re doing. How you do that and what you do should fit your personality. Don’t expect that anyone has an answer for you because it’s not like there’s tech support for people – and you know how bad tech support can be for a machine! At some point, you have to do it differently and that means you should examine your options. As my dad, in one of his few pieces of useful advice, said, “Why shouldn’t it be easy?”But generally, acting as if is very powerful. Conduct shaping your inside is implicit in the Bible. It’s the basis of the original power of positive thinking (Every day in every way I’m getting better), which actually dates to 18th c France (right century?). It’s also been shown to work in studies that look at moods and helpfulness. One finding is that people who feel better about themselves are more charitable and friendlier, but the converse has also been found, that people who act happier, do more charity, etc. are actually happier.

Then again, one can always find solace in drink.

jonathank • 11/21/03; 2:00:30 PM
No, Harry, this is not all there is. This is just the beginning, a way of making important changes to the atmosphere.As to your particular situation, perhaps you, like Lynn’s friend, ARE married to a total sociopath who is determined to remain cruel and unresponsive for no reason at all, and thus your situation IS absolutely hopeless. These kinds of situations are far, far more rare than many people telling their friends about them would have us believe, but they do happen. If that is that case with you, I agree with Lynn: You will need to leave.

But it’s fascinating to me that you are such a perfect husband and she is such a totally unresponsive, horrible, coldassed bitch to you. You can find no fault whatsoever in yourself (beyond some minor money thing you did in the past and a little unimportant household forgetfulness, of course). You think you’re fabulous and she’s horrible, that it’s all her fault that you’re so miserable — and, most importantly, she KNOWS you blame her!

WHY is she suspicious of your attempts to show her affection, Harry? Is it just because she’s a terrible, unfeeling person? Or is it because she does feel something: how much essential hostility you’re holding against her?

The other thing that I’ll be talking about as I go along is literally getting your sex appeal back, so that you can attract your wife’s erotic interest the old-fashioned way. Not by going after physical enhancements, but by examining the very foundations of your manhood. What constitutes the masculine mystique? How can you look like a hero? How do you get centered within yourself so that you can exude the kind of confidence that will make her want you again?

Harry, it seems to me the biggest problem you have is that even though you’re sure you’re behaving like the perfect husband, you really don’t respect yourself. You’re depressed, you feel beaten down, you’re moping and mooning around — AND you’re blaming your wife for your mood.

Sheesh, Harry. You’re going around feeling and acting like a loser, and women never want to have sex with losers! Next week I’ll talk about getting your macho back.

Julia Grey • 11/21/03; 2:13:49 PM
“Pay attention. Try to figure out what’s going through her mind. Try to anticipate what she needs.”Just a quick point, but how do I figure out what’s going through her mind when SHE doesn’t know what’s going through her mind?

Shadow • 11/21/03; 11:07:23 PM
I’m trying to agree with Julia, but she’s more eloquent. This is about creating context and observing carefully. By context, I mean that your own actions, your own mood can make things happen. This is what a group like Promise Keepers was about – looking at it in the best way – that you, as a person, can become someone that makes a difference in your immediate world. You can’t make someone change. You can’t really make them listen – they’ll hear the words, but not necessarily get what you’re saying. To really get your message across, you have to embody that – whether you use method or technical acting.Observing carefully is like the conversation I had with my 11 year old just now. I’ve been working hard and this was, I realized, the first time in a while that I had been completely relaxed talking to her, really listening to her, picking up on more of her signals, making my points and understanding hers, really getting stuff across. My guess is that if you, no matter who you are, actually look at what you’re doing and how you’re behaving, you’ll find you’re absorbed in yourself, in your concerns, in your issues and the thoughts on your mind – and that you really aren’t “there” with the other people in your life.

Let’s face it, much of life demands that we not be “there”. Work is often a series of facades. Dealing with people you meet is often a series of short role playing games. You’re not encouraged in your daily lives to make a real connection and so you don’t necessarily see that you aren’t.

Try to make a real connection, not one based on your wants, worries, etc. but on what’s between you, what she’s actually saying or maybe trying to say. (BTW, this is also the best dating advice.)

On a lighter note, look at pschopaths. The really successful ones are successful because they are so good at mimicking intimacy. Isn’t that clue? Intimacy is the answer and the you learn how to be good at it by recognizing that you can create a context in which intimacy occurs and then being right there in that context. You just start and then you realize it’s not that hard to do.

jonathank • 11/22/03; 3:06:36 PM
Just a quick point, but how do I figure out what’s going through her mind when SHE doesn’t know what’s going through her mind?An equally quick point back, Shadow: this WHOLE BLOG for the last 6 months has been an ongoing effort to help you figure out what’s going through her mind!

(And yes, Jonathan is right, ultimately it is about making a REAL connection and not just going through the motions, but the motions can be a good first step when you don’t know where else to start.)

Julia Grey • 11/22/03; 3:45:52 PM
Julia,This manhood thing is something that I have been mulling over in my head for a long time now. I am a young man, in college, an athlete, with bright prospects for the future, all so called “manly” things.

Yet I find myself wondering what being a man really is. I am sure to offend some people, namely feminists, in the next bit. I have come upon the realization lately that men and women are inherently unequal.

This is not to say that one is better than the other, but rather that man and woman fit together like puzzle pieces. If you look at two pieces of any puzzle which fit together, they are not the same shape, they HAVE to be different to fit together. So, men and women are different.

This brings me to my next point, in today’s society, it is pounded into everyone’s brains that men and women are equal. (Now I will take a masculine standpoint, i.e. how this has affected me) For example there are certain traits about both genders that are considered bad. I use the example of aggression in a man, a trait which is blown out of proportion every single day (just turn on LifeTime). Men are naturally agressive, but all my life I have been taught to completely ignore that part of myself, not to embrace it and use it justly.

I am not making my point clearly, and that is because I have not been able to make a clearly thought out hypothesis on this whole thing. Let me use another way in which today’s climate has confused me on my gender identity.

All my life I have been taught that the only strong men are the ones who abuse thier strength. Once again, turn on lifetime and watch any movie on that channel to find out how men are evil. So we have two types of men, the strong (evil) ones, and the weak(good) ones. So my whole life it was pounded into my head from all sorts of directions that weak is good. Yet now, as I grow older, and strength is something that my life literally requires (strength of mind, of focus, and of body), I am lacking in that department. I feel jaded by the fact that I was never taught how to truly be a man, but rather only how to be what sometimes feels like a woman with a penis.

So whats my point? Well I am not sure. :-). I am hoping that Julia can take my input, mold it around, tell me what she thinks, and write something truly inspired on the subject. The main thing that I am thinking on it however is that there comes a problem when Men are not Men, and Women are not Women. Ever try to put two of the same shaped puzzle piece together?

Jason • 11/23/03; 12:08:42 PM
It’s amusing in a bittersweet way.I’ve been stuck for some years in a “nothing can come between us” non-relationship (I was her boss for the first two years , serious mistakes were made on side, big-time vulnerability on both sides, etc.). The little gestures described are so like the ones I would unconsciously start toward her, and then stop a very embarassed fraction of a second later as it was not possible. 🙂

So reading the piece had me smiling in a strange way.

To answer Jonathank’s query – it was Emile Coué; he was indeed French, and he formulated his self-suggestion therapy approach aroundf World War One. “Every day and in every way, my life keeps improving” is the best remebmered self-suggestion phrase, I think.

Sebastien • 11/24/03; 4:06:20 AM
Back from the weekend. Thanks, Julia, for assuring me that “acting as if” is not the only advice. I am taking your earlier advice and talking to a health care professional about climbing out of this funk hole I’ve been in. I’ll be the first person to admit that I am not a perfect husband. In fact, part of my problem is my tendency to beat myself up, lack of self-confidence, etc., which, I agree, must make it hard to get excited about being intimate with me.And here’s a nice segue to Jason’s comments. . . Jason, I hear you. Although this relates somewhat to the bad boy comments of about three weeks ago, I, too, wonder how we are to balance the “getting the macho back” with some of our partners’ views on sexism, feminism, and that men should, as Jason so eloquently put it, be women with penises.

Harry • 11/24/03; 5:48:51 AM
Excellent segue material, Jason, since I am NOT of the school that believes that men should be, as I put it in the Introduction material my agent and I sent out the other day,* “Members of the Universal Unisex Who Happen to Have Penises.”It’s absolutely essential that men embrace a masculine mystique that gives them confidence as MEN, and that means, by definition, in some sense “different from women.”

But the problem has always arisen in what elements of “masculinity” some men have chosen, why they’ve been chosen, and how they’ve been (mis)understood and (ab)used. You CAN be a strong, virile, excitingly “manly” Man in a respectful partnership — the guys in romance novels do it all the time! (Heh.)

But unfortunately I can’t go into all this stuff directly or right away. I’ve got other fish to fry in the meantime. Stay tuned.

* for a project that never came to fruition

Julia Grey • 11/24/03; 8:51:49 AM
I have a couple things to add. One is, that I think that respect is the number one vital thing in a relationship. I was in a long-term relationship where I lost the desire to have sex with my boyfriend because I lost respect for him. He seemed to do everything right — he said all the right “I love you”s, he paid more attention to me than anyone else I have been with, he was very manly, he seemed confident and made friends easily… and in the end, none of that counted. I realized that I value education and intelligence, and he didn’t have that. He wasn’t able to get his degree. He didn’t have a regular job. University culture became my life, but he wasn’t really part of that. I was ashamed of him and that basically killed the relationship. As Julia said, nobody wants to have sex with a loser. But what women consider to be poor qualities can vary. I left a macho guy for a geek, and I’m tremendously happy. The qualities I respect seem to be self-confidence, intelligence, self-sufficiency and lots of skill in toasting people with a rocket launcher in online games. Obviously, not everyone is looking for the same things, otherwise more of my male friends would have girlfriends.As for equality, I think Frank Herbert said it best in “The Dosadi Experiment”: “All sentient beings are created unequal. The best society provides each with equal opportunity to float at his own level.”

The big problem with gender identity and gender stereotypes is that we have to be very careful with figuring out what traits are natural and what traits are the product of society and culture. We indoctrinate children into gender roles right from the very beginning. So we have this idea of “man” and “woman” which may be biological, or may be merely so much cultural brainwashing.

Now, societal stereotypes might not be a problem, except for the fact that they don’t work for everybody. You may expect your spouse to act in a certain way based on what society tells you to expect, but the reality is that every person is different and it may be just your luck to be married to one of the millions of “weird” people out there. And it may be just your luck to be “weird” yourself — to be a “masculine” woman or “feminine” man, suffering from societal disapproval because we’ve got these bizarre ideas about what people should act like based on their gender.

Anyway. All I know about gender is how it is to be female. I am the sort of female that I am. It’s obvious that I am different from my partner, but trying to figure out what part of the difference is gender-based and what part is our different life experiences is confusing and, I think, ultimately futile. You have to learn each person’s quirks individually anyway. I’m always coming up against things men are supposed to like but individuals I have come across actually don’t — and the opposite. Gender stereotypes can be helpful if your spouse buys into them, but very confusing when they don’t.

munkymu • 11/24/03; 2:46:46 PM
NO MORE METHOD ACTORS!!! Even Stanislavski, who invented the nonsense REJECTED it. He came to believe that emotion couldn’t be created on stage, only the illusion of emotion. AND he said that all the BS that actors did to “become” the character just got in the way. THIS from the man who started it all! Of course none of his later writing caught on in the West—- Method acting had too quickly become an industry. By the time Lee Strausberg got a hold of the method it had been totally perverted. I gave up a good career as an actor (let’s just say I never had to look far for work) because I couldn’t deal with the BS! C’mon everybody—- time for group warmups!Just got asked to play Hamm in Endgame though— Might just have to take up the habit again.

PeskyFly • 11/25/03; 3:43:27 PM
Harry ….I am fairly new to the website and have not been following your story. Please forgive if my ramblings have already been mentioned.

The description of the way you perceive your wife’s actions is similar to the way my husband use to react to me. I know this doesn’t help much, but I consider you lucky … at least she tells you she loves you. I can sympathize with the pain of rejection you feel. If you were my husband and followed Julia’s advice with me, we’d be doing more than “sleeping” in bed, but you’re not.

So, I ask you some obvious questions …. do you brush your teeth and bathe frequently? Wear deodorant? Wear clean unwholly clothes? Smelly B.O. is a big turnoff and many people feel uncomfortable pointing this out to their loved one. No problem there?

Has your wife been to the doctor to have her hormone levels checked? having kids, menopause, stress, ilnesses, etc can have an affect on hormone levels. If this checks out …..

Was she sexually abused as a child, raped, physically abused? Sometimes these things stay buried for a long time and never shared. How they affect a person’s life sometimes does not show up for a long time. No? Then press on ….

Do you have young kids? If so, she may be so emotionally/physically overwhelmed with the kids that she can’t stand one more set of demands of her time or attention no matter how loving you’ve been. For example,a simple kiss from you during the day could be interpreted as a demand of sex later that night. She may want to ward you off at the pass before you even get started. Negotiate with her… maybe there are 6 days of cuddling and 1 day of sex. Maybe you could give her the afternoon off to take a nap or have time for herself while you watch the kids. Let her regain some of her strength and she may be more amorous in bed. That’s not the case?

How does she intepret your actions? Is that suggestion you made about dinner needing more garlic interpreted by her as a simple statement or as a criticism of her hard work. Big turn off for sex if you feel your actions are being criticized … even if you didn’t mean it that way. Ask her, “How does it make you feel when I do or say this?” You might be surprised by the answers.

I hope this has at least given you a different perspective even if it wasn’t helpful, but please do NOT follow Lynn’s advice!!!

There are only 2 choices not 3 …. Either STAY (continue to work with her, get counselling either as a couple or individually, or simply resign yourself to the situation … your choice)or GO (leave the relationship and then search for someone else).

Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT take a LOVER.

Unless you have ever been through an affair, you will NEVER fully understand the depth of pain and destruction an affair can have on the spouse, the betrayer, children, friends, extended family members, the lover, and their family, (if they have one). The trust issues it creates. The damage it does to the self image of everyone involved. Ugh … I don’t even know where to begin.

Please if you get nothing else from this post, please do NOT have an AFFAIR. It will not solve your problems …. only worsens them … and if you think you have emotional problems now …. wait for your affair to be discovered. You’ll think life was a piece of cake pre-affair.

I speak from experience having just recently discovered my husband’s affair 4 months ago. While I do not know where the path in my life will lead me and my children, I hope you will never take yourself or your family down that path. It is a long, dark, weary, and painful journey fraught with great peril. I hope to see a light at the end soon, but in reality it’s going to be a long time before I finally wind my way out of this horrible mess I never asked to be a part of.

Good Luck ….

VelvetPear • 11/25/03; 10:53:44 PM
Thanks, VelvetPear. I won’t go into the answers to all your questions, but I do want to clarify something: I bathe frequently. :^) I appreciate the questions and advice, and will take them to heart. I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s affair. My ex pulled that on me, I stuck around for three more years after that, even had another child, before I realized that I needed to get away from her. It’s a rough decision to make, especially when kids are involved.

Harry • 11/26/03; 5:31:47 AM
, Harry ….Glad to hear you bathe -frequently. :0) Just had to ask … don’t know you from Adam and if it was that easy to fix, lucky you! It was just part of my brainstorming.

Yeah … I’m sorry to hear about my husband’s affair as well. :0( And, sorry to hear about your ex’s. Then, you know the pain and despair I speak of.

But, my husband isn’t totally to blame. After 15 years of marriage, I realize that we never really became experts at tuning into the other’s needs.

So, basically, we were both in the canoe, paddling hard, going nowhere, and getting very tired … with little or no communication.

Despite the affair, I still love him with a burning passion. I want to make our marriage work. I have found a book that made a tremedous difference in our lives. It is called “Surviving an Affair” by William F. Harley, Jr and Jennifer Harley Chalmers. While you will relate to the beginning because of your past experience, the recovery plan he gives would work for any marriage. He gives step by step instructions about how to protect and care for a relationship in a way that makes it simple and leaves you wondering, “Why didn’t I think of that or doing that already?”

It might be worth a try. Twenty bucks on a book is cheaper than a counsellor. :0)

If in the future you thought it might help,I would be happy to discuss the reasons that turned me off to sex at various times in our relationship. Maybe it might help you, maybe it won’t.

VelvetPear • 11/26/03; 10:43:58 AM
VelvetPear – I would be very happy to hear what the reasons for getting turned off from sex were with you. It would speak volumes on how things are perceived on “the other side of the fence” I believe.

Jason • 11/30/03; 5:12:34 PM
VelvetPear: I, too, would like to hear your reasons. Also, I’m glad you found a book that seems to be helping. It’s a long road ahead of you. You might also try “www.divorcebusting.com” which is a site run by the author of The Sex-Starved Marriage. Besides advice, message boards, etc., they have counselors on call who, for a fee, will talk with you and give you advice. I also highly regard this site, and I think Julia’s advice is usually right on point.

Harry • 12/1/03; 5:18:34 AM
Hi, Harry and Jason ….First, I have to say I have never denied my husband sex such as punishment for something. My desire has not always been the highest, but that’s something different.

I thought about my “reasons” and found that they were more factors that affected the level of desire… Things like kids, feeling unloved, exhaustion, him not touching or expressing his love for me, my own body image hang-ups, money issues, perceptions (his & mine), and ideas of how a “wife” as opposed to a lover should act in bed are just a few of the factors.

But when I really tried to simplify it all down, I kept coming back to one main factor that tied all the others together… communication.

How well we communicate our needs and hear/understand the needs of our spouse and respond to those needs affect our level of desire for each other. It is as simple and complicated as that.

If there is a specific area or question that you would like me to expound on, I would be glad to, but being a newbie, I don’t know the etiquette and didn’t want to take up too much space on Julia’s site.

Harry … thanks for referring me to DB.

Guys …. I have a kind of embarassing question to ask you and need some insight. I would say in the last 8 months or so, I have noticed a huge change in my sexual libido. Where before, I could take or leave sex, I find myself thinking about it all the time. I am the one going excuse me … a day has passed … when are we having sex next? And when he isn’t interested, I feel hurt and rejected even though I can understand that he’s been sick in bed for three days with a 103+ temp.

Is this what it is like all the time for guys?


VelvetPear • 12/6/03; 10:03:07 PM
More or less … YES is the answer to your question VelvetPear. It is ridiculous to think that sex, sex, sex, is always on a man’s mind but it’s something we can’t really control. Sure environmental factors will influence the degree but you’d better believe it’s always there!

Steve • 12/8/03; 5:42:42 AM
I second what Steve says. I’m always surprised when I realize that I’ve gone all day without thinking about sex. It’s usually a several-times-a-day thing. Any explanation as to why your libido is changing (for the better, I might say)? Is it some new medication? Where can I get some?

Harry • 12/8/03; 11:04:38 AM
I wish I knew where it was coming from …. I would have gotten it a long time ago … I really do enjoy sex when I have it! :0)I have often toyed with the idea of trying a natural hormone supplement with testoterone in it …. But, I guess my body decided to turn up the production level on its own. Maybe age is a factor … I’m in my late 30’s. That is what our counsellor attributed it too.

You know, I went in to the doctor’s several years ago and had my hormone level checked and results came back as normal. But, I think each person is unique and what may be normal for some may not be enough for others. Maybe your wife might want to try a supplement from GNC or the local health store?

Some days I’m extremely grateful for it and other days it’s frustrating because I do have things I need to get done and concentrate on! :0) Kudos to you guys to be able to focus!!!

It’s strange having to deal with this new distraction especially when hubby isn’t in the mood or available.

VelvetPear • 12/8/03; 2:15:33 PM
Hey i’m making a sort of wife cradential list, anyone with thoughts or ideas, i could really use the help… email me at vanillamilk20@yahoo.com

Gerald aka VanillaMilk • 12/12/03; 1:02:35 AM
I would like to throw in a few things here and in return ask for opinions. I agree with much of what has been being said about a woman’s desire for sex as being linked to her perception of her husband/lover/boyfriend. It doesn’t matter if the perception is correct or incorrect – what matters is her perception. My partner of some five years seemed to loose a lot of interest in sex about two years ago and I struggled for a long time with trying to understand where I had gone wrong. She kept telling me to just relax, stop incessantly wanting to talk about it and just get on with my job. All of these things, I see now, were perfectly correct things to say.yes – I was worried (and still am) and acting often in an emotional way with trying to understand it all and getting frustrated with not finding any answers. I looked for evidence that she was having an affair with another man as a possible answer, I thought that she may have been a lesbian, I thought that she may have hormone problems and many other things. None appear to have been correct.

I have recently (~6 months ago) decided that I’m fed up with living my life like this. I guess I’m saying that my attitude became “If you don’t want sex, that’s fine – but I’m loosing interest in living like this and I’m getting on with my life – whether you like it or not”. This may sound harsh but the funny thing is that she seems to have a little meore interest in sex now.

The things that I think I was doing wrong are:

* Being emotional. This is supposed to be a feminine thing and may have been making her think that I could not protect her as a man; * Talking excessively. Women don’t seem to like men who harp on about things – particularly about sex matters; * Forgetfulness. No explanations needed; * Not listening to her. No explanations needed; * Letting the sex problem affect my work. I was so worried that it was affecting my work. Now I seem to spend more fruitful time at work because I’ve adopted an attitude of just getting on with work and let nature take it’s course at home.

Now that I’ve had my say, I would ash the women out there to make constructive criticism of my comments and to add anything that you think I may have missed. I have one question for the women – now that our relationship has been damaged in this way – is it possible to retrieve the “old” sexual relationship?

David A

David A • 12/16/03; 12:16:53 AM
I discovered this site today.. and I would like to thank everyone for their time and comments.. It has really made me consider the problem my fiance and I have been having. It hasnt really become a PROBLEM i guess.. but I tease her about it sometimes… wondering why she hasnt seemed interested lately, when we used to be all over each other.. We have only been together for one year.. and I was thinking that ok.. so maybe with time things slow down.. but THIS soon?Yesterday.. I made some comment.. and for the first time I could really see that it bothered her… And I apologized.. I said I was only teasing.. but she told me she didnt think it was funny.

I realized.. that I was making her feel like there was something wrong with her, when there are likely many reasons why she feels not-as-interested as me in lovemaking..

She claims that she just doesnt think about it all the time like -men- do.

A while back, we talked about it, and I tried to explain to her that I didnt want her just because I had a need and she was handy… I explained that I desired to be close to HER.. desired to be intimate with HER..

Looking back now.. I recall that not long after that.. SHE lured me into the room and locked the kids out twice in one day. (dont worry.. the kids are 4 and 6 but their older cousins were visitng and had them occupied :o) )

But.. things wound up back to ‘normal’ when its more like 3 times a month…maybe… I know alot of it is timing..we have busy lives… but I feel we are disconnected without the physical intimacy…

anyway… reading these posts.. I really think I need to rearrange some of my attitudes.. and perhaps communicate more about this with her.. instead of dropping ‘hints’ in the form of jokes..

thanks for your input..


Rainman • 12/24/03; 9:34:00 AM

32 Responses to “What To Do”

  1. makeyourwifehot Says:

    People often confuse the symptom for the disease.
    This post CLEARLY explains to those who read it, that women are NOT as complicated as men would joke.

    Listening….really listening.
    Attention….look into her eyes.
    Talking….about why she is SO wondeful.

    These are not just comments, guys….these are RULES! Take action, read a woman’s self help book, and you can get your needs met more than you can possibly handle!

    My 21 year marriage nearly ended because of my ignorance. Communicating deeply, consistently, and without judgment works! In return, I was blessed with a girlfriend AND a wife. (same person) makeyourwifehot.com/bragblog

  2. Nate Says:

    I won’t pretend that I read all of the posts above, though I identify with many of them.

    I’m one of the men that has always honestly, sincerely striven to be the best husband I can be. Not simply a nice guy, but a real, engaged, loving man. I’ve been successful at that goal.

    I’ve been married a mere 19 months, I’m 27 years old, and I gave my virginity to my wife. We make love maybe four times a month. As I type this I haven’t had sex for two weeks now.

    We do love each other, there are no big issues between us. She is very dear to me. I won’t let anything come before her.

    I’ve followed every reasonable advice to make my wife feel special and intellectually engaging. She’s 27. She HAS NO kids, big career, blah blah.

    I’m going home now…. and I’m going to be a domineering ass.

    Because that’s what her last boyfriend was and I’m pretty sure he got all the sex he wanted. And she killed herself trying to make that relationship work. Bent over backwards.

    So, women. Take this example to heart….. If you abuse your kind husband’s honest efforts. If you neglect his heart ( which by the way, IS connected to his penis, sorry bitches ). You may destroy him. You may lose your washed dishes, clean home, perfectly running cars, and your unwavering acceptance.
    You may get an ass. Which is all my wife is getting from this day forward, because she selfishly neglected a man who devoted himself to being her best friend.

  3. Don Says:

    I have a personal anecdote about this from about a year and a half ago just after Christmas.

    At that point (December 2008) we’d been married about 4 ½ years and we were about as far apart as a married couple can get without being outright hostile to each other. We were civil, we were roommates with (very occasional) benefits and I sincerely enjoyed her company, although more as a friend than a wife. We had sex maybe once a month, not earth-moving, but not mechanical either. We were more into trading orgasms, part of the marital contract and all that.

    Anyway, I had decided that I was going to make a concerted effort to really engage her in the new year. Money troubles had been muted, I wasn’t working so much, our son was older now, so I wasn’t feeling as much pressure as I once had been. I wanted my wife to be my wife again in all respects, and I had been kicking around the idea of divorce or affair, so I felt ‘what did I have to lose?’ If I was going to go down, I was going down swinging.

    So I sat her down and told her my intentions… which were met with suspicion and scepticism. I completely expected that and let my actions speak for me. And for three months I worked my ass off letting her know how special she was to me, complimenting her, listening to her, spending time with her, very much like the article here. I really, really tried to ‘fake it until I make it”. A part of me really meant it, and it battled the bemused and cynical half of me. Yet, I think the optimist persevered in those months. And I felt that side grow…

    And you know what? It didn’t register. Not at all. Not that I was really expecting it to. Truthfully I didn’t know what to expect.

    Actually, I shouldn’t say that, because we did have sex twice that January (two consecutive days!), so she must have been at least cognizant of my efforts. But that up swell of intimacy didn’t last. Soon enough we were back to the same old routine.

    But I was Positive Pete and I wasn’t going to let her attitude rain on how much I actually love her… I planned nights out, only to have her say she was tired… I took her hand, looked into her eyes, only to have her bitch and moan incessantly about her family and her job until she went to bed. I offered doing things that we really special, only to receive an apathetic ‘well, if you want…” But if it was one of her friends or family who wanted and needed her? Then she couldn’t wait! She’d be falling all over herself to please them.

    And yet I persevered, smiling and drinking what seemed like gallons of poison and bile down to let her know how much I care. And yes, not to put too fine a point on it, I Looked Into Her Eyes with honesty.

    And what I got back in her eyes was ‘I want to be the person you want, but I can’t bring myself to do it’. Perhaps that hurts more than looking in her eyes and not seeing anything back.

    Why? Perhaps she sensed the bile seething under the surface. Perhaps she saw my eyes saying ‘I love you, but I hate what you’re doing to me’. Who knows? It got to be too exhausting to speculate on.

    The end for me was a lover’s weekend getaway retreat in April 2009. I had planned for us to get away to a hotel for the weekend specifically for us to reconnect as a couple. And don’t get me wrong, the evening itself went really well. But the next morning, her boss was looking for her for some work-related reason, and instead of telling them where to go like she should have done, she dutifully hustled over to her workplace. It was like the night before, or the concept of us being together being more important than anything else in the outside world held no meaning for her. We were as we were before. Later that weekend we both come down with colds, and I was saddled with a painful ear infection. A couple of weeks went by, and all of that intimate connection that one night held was all gone. Never in life was I ever lower, and ever felt so defeated and clumsy and foolish, unworthy of love or excitement or satisfaction. And the kicker for me was that she knew I felt this way AND DID NOTHING TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT. Note I wasn’t asking her to fix it or soothe it… just ACKNOWLEDGE it.

    I burned and seethed around the house… I didn’t give a damn anymore. Finally she got fed up with my foul moods and asked me what the hell was eating me… “and don’t say it’s sex”. I snorted with derision and told her if that was the case, I had nothing to say to her.

    Then she said something that shook me to my very core. “Listen,” she said, “between our son, my family, work, my friends, household chores and running errands, I HAVE NOTHING LEFT FOR YOU.”

    I didn’t know what else to say. Somehow, her family, friends and job ranking in importance higher than me stuck in my gut enough to make me wince. I was silent and distant for a long time. I felt ridiculously unimportant.

    It sunk in what it was she actually said to me, because she began backpedalling saying I never romanced her and wooed her (somehow the last four months was an oversight, I guess). I shrugged and went out for a long walk. What was I to do? Essentially I was downgraded into near insignificance.

    Much like Julia’s story in her Introduction, I was ready to call it quits. Why not? Life is short, why spend it with someone who isn’t attracted to or has any respect for me? What she said was a slap in the face. Only intensive soul-searching and mapping out real solutions has kept me in my marriage thus far. Will my marriage last? I don’t know. At some point, it will require my wife working with me, and facing the dirty S-E-X monster head-on. She may want to… or she may be fully retired. And if it doesn’t work, it’ll be sad, but it’s also okay. Knowing I’m worthy of love and excitement and satisfaction is a huge leap forward. Out of all of this came the realization that I CAN’T CHANGE HER… I CAN ONLY CHANGE AND IMPROVE MYSELF. If she responds great… if not, I know there are others who will.

    Acting ‘as if’ while I felt miserable about myself meant nothing, did nothing and only drove me further into despair. Do not do this until you’ve devoted significant attention to you.

    • Paul Says:

      Wow, I thought I was reading my own bibliography. Thank you so much for that-I now can stop this charade with my wife (still be nice to her) and feel good about myself.
      I have read SO many articles and several books on “how to treat your wife” but nothing has helped in the dept we all love. The sad truth is that women are every bit as sexual as men…we just have to buy their chairs (as Robert Duvall pointed out in the movie “Phenomenon”.)
      All I can really add to this blog is this: after trying so desperately for so long and nothing has “worked”, I don’t feel it is in MY best interests to pursue this thing(love,lust)It is only making me ten times more miserable. Just going to go back to being my nice, normal self and keep my self respect.

      • Don Says:

        Glad I could help… although I don’t think you should be deliberately nasty to your wife. I get the ‘charade of being nice’ but it’s dead easy to stray into bitterness and taking potshots at her.

        It’s funny though, about three weeks after I wrote that, I discovered my wife was having an affair. So obviously, there was little I could’ve done differently other than reconnect with and be comfortable being myself. It’s funny that even as I was packing my bags and walking out the door she still could pluck up the courage to actually talk.

        Frankly, I’m soured on the whole marriage business. It changes people and not for the better. It still hurts, don’t get me wrong, but frankly it’s a relief to be able to explore my sexual options openly and freely, without my conscience nagging me. I’m still young, in good shape, reasonably good looking and a whole lot wiser. I’ll still post here from time to time to share my thoughts.

    • Eddie Black Says:

      Don nicely said. a balanced position backed up with action for change…. i have read many responses on this blog and yours speaks most powerfully to me.


  4. Don Says:

    You’re a Nice Guy.

    Not a nice guy, a good guy, a decent guy that people associate with goodwill.

    You’re a Nice Guy… the guy that women like as a friend, but won’t sleep with, because they are attracted to the jerks that treat them like shit. Because women are so fucking stupid, right?

    Newsflash: you’re not a nice guy. You never were. You feigned niceness because you thought by acting like the exact opposite of the ‘jerk’ it would get women to like you. And when that didn’t work, now you’re going to act like a real jerk. Have you ever dropped the act, and just be yourself?

    I know, because I used to be a Nice Guy too. And like you, I thought the exact same things you did.

    Unlike you, I KNEW my wife bent over backwards for her ex-boyfriend. I knew they had ALL KINDS of kinky and wild sex. Both she and her ex were good friends of mine and I knew the details of their sex lives. And yes, he treated her like shit. One year he gave her Slim-Fast for her birthday. Yes, the guy was a real piece of work… and the kicker was she’d STILL hop in a cab and see him at 4 in the morning if he called her for nookie.

    This played heavily on my mind when our sex life started failing. It ate away at me like battery acid. Finally, after a number of months, I snapped and couldn’t take it anymore. I launched into her about how she still fucked her boyfriend after he treated her like dirt, ditching her to go to clubs and hit on other women etc and you still did all sorts of kinky, crazy things with him, and look at how virtuous I AM, and you want nothing to do with me. Well? Well?! WELL!!?

    She looked up at me and never did someone look lower in her life. “I’m sorry,” was all she could say over and over between sobs.

    I’m really no pushover, and I’m not much one to give in to someone because they’re upset, but I could tell this was something different. This opened up a new kind of pain and hurt. She finally said to me that “I never told anyone how many times after I had sex with him that I’d cry in the bathroom. It was so horrible, but I thought I could never do any better than him.”

    And you know what? I believed her.

    It doesn’t change the way I feel about our intimate life. I want a full and robust sex life, and make no apologies for it. I think this is where some of her sex issues stem from, and I do think she needs to deal with them, but I think up until that day, I NEVER TOLD HER HOW I FELT. I just raged, and to her, it was like a suckerpunch in the gut. I didn’t tell her, because I was a Nice Guy, and Nice Guys don’t want things, especially when it comes to the old S-E-X.

    Nate, I get the rage and pain you’re feeling. I’ve been there. A lot of us have been there. But just talk to her and (here’s the kicker), BE HONEST. Tell her about your jealousies, your insecurities, how you REALLY FEEL. You can’t start without that honesty.

    I don’t often recommend self-help books, cause I think most of them are shite, but No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover may help you a lot. No paid endorsement or anything, I just got a lot out of it.

  5. Nate Says:

    Frustrating isn’t it?

    Well obviously, I’m not just a nice guy. But I know what respectful behavior is, and I appreciate virtue. I do the good thing for the sake of the good. Not just because I can’t help myself, which would denote a true “nice guy”.

    There is a silver lining here, maybe a light at the end of the tunnel. I bring my wife to orgasm every time we are together, usually ( I found ) within five minutes of beginning intercourse. Yes, it’s a real orgasm. I hadn’t started looking at the clock until just now…. and it seems that I’m breaking some sort of land speed record, although it felt like an eternity.

    A few days back, a made sure to watch the clock as I pleasured her. It took all the mental tricks I had, and all the self control I could muster… but instead of throwing her headlong into orgasm, I brought her to the edge… eased back… and brought her to the edge again and again. As many times as I could stand.

    I felt her change. It was as if she stopped “trying” to have an orgasm. She just relaxed and moaned. Before, she must have been helping me to give her an orgasm, sqeezing me,
    concentrating… trying to “get there”. This time, she simply experienced the sensation… not thinking… not helping me, just letting me do her. She made little whimpers as I eased back, and moaned as I thrusted deeper and longer. I took time with my fingers to explore her vulva in detail. Instead of throttling her clit, I slowly soothed and fondled her labia around my penis as a thrusted. I built up the tension and denied release until the very last. In total: 10 minutes of intercourse. A personal best…. and a lot of work.

    Unfortunately that was just a day before her period. So now… I have to wait before I can try it again…. maybe for longer next time. I want to see how long I can keep her
    plateaued… in hopes that she will find greater, and attractive pleasure in sleeping with me. It is a possibility that having orgasm was a rushed burden she shouldered each time before. Now, hopefully, it will be something she’s screaming to have because I won’t quite let it happen until we’re done.

    I hope this works. It’s a lot of work for me… and a lot of tenderness… hovering over her in a ten minute long one-arm push-up ( my lips and other hand keeping busy ). But maybe this will break any sense of dread and duty she has to orgasm.

  6. Frank Says:


    I am not sure how the graphic details of your love life help me through my dry spell…

    I read the comments from the top of this as well and I wonder what happened to Harry the most.

  7. Nuf Says:

    My wife and I are about to see a counselor. Right now I am about 50/50 in my estimation of the chances of our relationship working out. Reading the other stories here about how men made a genuine effort to get closer to their wives only to meet with temporary success sure makes me feel like we have a lot in common here. But it also makes me lose hope. We are told it is up to us to do something by many here, but how many of us have tried over and over again and failed to get anything but frigid back in the long run? And realistically are we supposed to expect our partner to change after all these years? I have put up with at least a decade of less and less sex to the point of twice a year if that in the last couple of years. I have treated her well, we have a prosperous life, travel a lot as a family, are doing fine raising our kids (there are challenges) But it all seem so much like just a business arrangement when there is no intimacy. And the rejection has been dragging me down so much! There was an episode where there were insults hurled in my direction a couple of months back. At least that was uncommon as we have typically been respectful of one another. But in the absence of any regular affection the barbs really stuck. I am sure if I was shown some affection on a regular basis they would have bounced right off of me. But instead they stuck and the ensuing fight has brought all of our intimacy problems to the surface. Now with counseling coming up I don’t think we even have the same objective. She wants me to accept her lack affection and sex and carry on as usual, (she does have resentment that she has not been able to make me understand) I need to get some regular intimacy happening. In the meantime we are barely talking to each other.
    The “acting as if” technique here sounds logical to me. Something like Neuro Linguistic Programming. If you want to be confident act confident and use confident affirmations, and pretty soon you feel confident. It all makes sense to me. But why only use it for making sure we are “nice” to each other? Why not, if you want to be horny and feel good about sex, have sex and put some effort into making it better and feeling the love being expressed? I have subscribed to the theory that forced intimacy is better than no intimacy and stands a fair chance of growing in sincerity if the people involved are both working toward the same objective. Both people do have to be playing the same game here, I can’t see it working with a one sided effort. It seems to me regular touching, hugging, snuggling, kissing and sex even, if forced should become less forced over time as good behaviors become habit and we learn to appreciate the benefits. If we just cling to our instinctive feelings of resentment we are doomed as a couple. But clearly there are people who disagree and say that no matter what a woman should not have sex if she doesn’t feel like it, and that a man is not automatically entitled to sex just because he is married. I have said “if you are going to withhold sex I am going to leave” That of course makes me the bad guy. I don’t want to put our kids through a divorce, but this absence of intimacy is not something I am prepared to live with for much longer. It has gone on too long already.

    • Dick Says:

      Nuf, you are dead right. No sex in a marriage is a big statement of your wife telling you she simply is no longer attracted to you. No matter what she says. Do not make the mistake to think you can talk about it with her. It will only make it worse. In stead you should focus on enjoying your life and perhaps spend a little less time with the family and more time with your mates.

  8. portland pdx airport shuttle driver Says:

    I don’t get it.. we men have to be absolutely perfect in order to rdeceive any type of compassion. I think the overall ideal society aims to have equality between sexes; however, the physiological. And genetic aspects of female physiology has high expectations in mating rituals and I don’t see how equality in men and women is ever equal considering the one person we choose to be partnered with romantically expects perfection. Men are happy knowing their lover is happy.. but when u offer sex jump in shower after being denied.. then briefly step out catching ur woman masturbating alone.. it really destroys the whole romantic notion that women are trying to present to men..

  9. Dustin Says:


    While I have read through only this much so far, I have noticed a few reoccurring themes. First I want to state that I am not trying to tout myself as better than any other poster here. That said, we all have arrived at this forum for likely similar reasons. we are all frustrated with our current situation and are looking for a way to fix it. I will admit that when I first started looking at this, as well as other forums on this same topic, that I wasn’t looking for a fix (especially for myself) as much as justification.

    A little bit about my situation. My wife and I have been married for 8 years now, and although we started very strong in this department, over the last few years we have certainly tapered off. It seems as if the longer it goes the worse it gets. I understand that this isn’t entirely her (although there have been times when I thought tat it was), the more I get rejected, the less I want to “try” which then leads to the very power struggle you talk about. Me – “so you want to have sex?” (Already expecting a no to validate my expectations and blame, and obviously charming and full of effort) Her – “no I’m tired” (or whatever other excuses it happens to be this time). at this point I’m rather full of myself for being correct about my predictions, angry, and disappointed all at the same time. There seems to be a cycle of this, no matter what I have tried. I know that by this point the effort is no longer there on my part because of all of the times that the effort was flat out rejected. We are now down to the point where I am tracking days that we do or do not (which I know is bad, because it simply builds anger on my part), and by my count we average 1-2 times a month. I have experienced a lot of the things that it would seem a lot of the posters here have as well, the disgust at the thought of pity or duty sex, the trouble understanding why I have to work at something that seems like it should be a mutual desire, and the teetering on abandoned hope.

    All of that said I am glad I came upon this blog, because it has renewed my desire to try harder. It may or may not work, but what harm would it do to try? Certainly the payoff would be far greater than the risk. I am not saying that I think your effort here has convinced me that it is all my fault, nor do I believe that is your intention, but somebody has to make the first move in this stalemate, or it will only continue to get worse.

    I hope to come back here and post how my progress is going (hopefully with a success story), not only to help lend some extra credibility to your obviously extensive time spent constructing this, but also to serve as a reminder to myself, and kind of something to keep me on track.

    Thanks again.

  10. Trevor Says:

    Have never seen anything that you suggest on this page appreciated by any woman. In fact, this type of behaviour from men is treated with suspicion and contempt, and they KNOW they’ve got us hooked so they manipulate us for free meals in restaurants, trips to the mall, putting their kids (sired by the guy that she didn’t ask to wear condoms) through college, and drag it on for as long as possible, giving as little sex as possible. They keep the quality minimal so that we feel bad about ourselves, and keep trying harder to please them.

  11. styopa Says:

    I keep reading these stories that are so close to mine I almost have to check the signature to make sure I didn’t write them myself years ago.

    Same exact situation for me, except I’m in the weaker position of
    – 1) having had a porn addiction in the early years of our marriage. I’ve broken it, but I lied to her at least 3 times about breaking it before so I understand why she doesn’t believe me, and I otherwise can’t really prove a negative. – 2) In desperation at our sexless life around that same time, I’d once put up a ‘looking’ personal [never did anything] on one of those stupid sites, and she discovered it (never really a discussion of how/why she was looking, of course).

    Now I’ve been essentially ‘in the doghouse’ about that and the porn, and on the perpetually-apologizing track for 15+ years.

    I’ve just accepted at the point that she will never forgive me, and that we’ll never have the loving, intimate, SEXUAL relationship that I’d hoped we’d have, or expected we’d have after 27 years together and 4 truly wonderful kids. (shrug)

    I guess some things just never heal. Our kids need me and our stability too much for me to take myself out, and besides that’s a coward’s way anyway. I too had entertained the idea of just taking a lover, but I’m not conceited enough to believe it wouldn’t be discovered, and anyway again, I wouldn’t do that to our kids. They don’t deserve to pay for my stupid choices.

    I just didn’t expect that at 44 I’d be looking ‘forward’ to what amounts to a 30 year nearly-celibate prison term. It does make me a little bitter sometimes, to the point that occasionally when I do get pity/charity sex (we average about 4-6 times a year) it’s physically satisfying but frequently not much more than that. I can’t imagine it’s much better than that for her.

  12. NAME Says:

    I’ve just given up with my wife. Im 42 and been living with this for 17 years. Sex once a month is a luxury, and even then it’s basically the most boring and detached routine one could imagine, all on her terms. 18 months was the longest stretch. We get on pretty good, but she can’t talk about it, and of course I cant bring it up – I told her in my 20s how humiliating (not to mention physically tortuous ) it is to be rejected….but she just can’t change. I agree that all of the domestic effort guys put in hoping for some kind of sexual reward is a waste – it really is – women aren’t stupid! I’m guessing that nothing works but a total change in the balance of the relationship, and when you’re stuck bringing up kids and paying a mortgage, that isn’t easy. I had two flings with attractive women I didn’t love, mainly to confirm that I wasn’t a failure as a sexual human being, which is basically how she makes me feel.

  13. wibble Says:

    Reading many of the comments by men here I can’t help thinking that they are missing the obvious possibility that their wives are having affairs. Most “normal” women will only be emotionally bonded to one man at a time and will only want to have sex with THAT man. If that man is a secret affair partner then all your efforts at communication and all the other hoops you are jumping through are entirely pointless and will never work. That part of her life is with someone else. It rather saddens me to consider the rediculous contortions society will go to to pretend that women don’t have affairs just as much as men do. Who exactly are we to believe men have affairs with? Space aliens? Each other? The result of this is that when men’s wives behave like this they blame themselves and try to be “better, more attentive husbands” because they can’t accept that their wives may be playing away. If you reverse the gender roles and imagine how your wife would react if you treated her how she’s treating you, I can almost guarantee that the first thing to pop into her mind would be that you are having an affair. It probably isn’t that your wife doesn’t want sex, she just doesn’t want sex with you. So, before you drive yourselves nuts and go through all these emotional contortions, just confirm to your own satisfaction that there isn’t someone else. It may explain her behaviour perfectly and you may save yourself years of heartache by thinking the unthinkable now rather than after she has left you.

  14. Harry Says:

    You marry thinking you’ve just scored a lifetimes worth of sex; she feels she’s scored a lifetimes worth of provision and only one of you is correct.

  15. CS Says:

    Julia, you are brilliant and I agree with you much of the time. Today, I’m off somewhere else.

    My husband tries to be sweet once in a while and I have to say, it’s not going to save our relationship. He comes off as fake like he’s just trying to get laid…..because he is.

    How do you fix your relationship? FIX it!!!! Communicate! Find out what you’re doing wrong and try something else! My husband’s problem is name calling, insulting, harassment, bad manners, and plain old disrespect. He can fix it or choose to continue on as he has been. The truth is, if you always do what you have always done, you will get the same result. Do something else.

  16. PC Says:

    I am a woman…
    I enjoy sex, always have. Most of my life I have been able to switch off my emotions and simply have sex for the sake of sex. I was just like so many of the men who have posted on here that the act of sex as much about intimacy and connection as it is a sexual release. I didn’t withhold sex as a punishment, although I admit that occasionally after a fight I needed some time to decompress and get my head in a different place. I was the wife who asked for quickies, tried to initiate “showering” together, finding the time for the act, trying to make it happen. I even put on a black lace teddy, climbed on his lap, started nuzzling his neck and he was looking past me to the TV.
    As far as I know he has never had a affair with another person and I have indeed looked for one.
    I didn’t complain too much when every encounter felt like it was written in stone and seemingly so choregraphed that I could predict where and how the next touch was going to be. I never tried to make a big deal out of being hurt on a regular basis because he insisted on using a toy or his fingers almost like a weapon. Rarely did he notice that I was literally trying to climb up the bed to get away from it, if he did he would apologize and I would try to be cool and say “it’s ok, you just don’t have to try so hard.”
    My running joke has always been “Remember I’m easy”… Referring to both getting me to the bedroom and fulfilling me, in 10 minutes time I can have multiple 0
    What’s changed??
    Everything… I can no longer fake that those ugly things said in the daylight are forgotten come night time, I can no longer pretend that the routine isn’t boring. I don’t want to be touched by someone who doesn’t hear me, someone who ignores me, someone who acts like they are above me. Someone who touts how much they try but who in reality just pretends to try, someone who wants to be appreciated but doesn’t appreciate, someone who says “I love you” but who acts like your existence is a nuisance. Someone who seemingly always puts his needs above mine, who always works harder than I, who always gives more than I do. Someone who isn’t CONNECTING with me on any level, who doesn’t truly get me and at this moment in time isn’t really interested in getting me.
    Is he a nice guy? Most people would say yes… Will he do something if I ask him to? Most of the time… Will he do things to please me when he’s in trouble? Yes… If he’s really desperate for sex will he wash the dishes? Probably, he’s just never been THAT desperate…
    Does he share his thoughts and opinions with me? Daily… Does he tell me how he feels? Absolutely! I hear all of the time about how hard he has to work, how hard he tries, how stressed he is…
    He needs no less than 2-4 hours of TV a night to simply unwind from his day. He needs alcohol daily to assist with his getting to sleep.

    Now if I share my body with my husband I am pretty much always drunk. That’s when the sexually frustrated woman comes out to play but it’s always followed by a huge let down. It wasn’t intimate, it didn’t bring us closer and it didn’t really fulfill even my sexual urges, it was simply a romp easily forgotten.
    In other words without intimacy in every other area of your life, intimacy in the bedroom is just pretending… I have come to the realization that I am not able to truly switch off my emotions and simply have sex for the sake of sex.
    I have to like the whole person in order to get truly aroused.
    Surprisingly when I don’t like someone they really do smell bad…
    Except when they are freshly showered, with cologne on and teeth brushed. In other words all their essence removed, and or covered.
    It’s that simple or that complicated….
    Am I being selfish? Probably… Am I tired of trying? Absolutely…

    • buzzybee Says:

      PC, you have summarized it nicely. Right on. “Without intimacy in every other area of your life, intimacy in the bedroom is just pretending.” I don’t think there are many men who get this (nor do they know what intimacy outside the bedroom even is, in many cases).

  17. RECON Says:

    My wife of over 20 years whats me out of the house.I have NO place to go. A little about me. I was addicted to pain killers for over 15 years….I have been clean almost 2 years and she put up with A LOT of crap. We also have 4 kids. We have not been “together” in over 5 months. She says she cant right now because of whats going on. I take suboxone and its a great. It works well and i do not have ANY cravings. I also take ambien at night to sleep but there were times i did not have the money to get the suboxons so i would take 2=3 ambiena day. I know thats wrong and my wife yells that i take them too much and i do agree with her. When i have the soboxone and the ambien i take the suboxon from 6:00 am to around 8 or 9:00 pm and the suboxon before bed. Its always a fight for us. I sometimes think it not the meds…i think she hust does not love me. If i leave my house i have NO place to go. She has been working out for over 6 months and now she looks even better and i cant touch her and this relly hurts. I sometimes think about the easy way out but i also know its a sin. Over 20 years and i am IN love wih her. I will wait a few more months and hope i get some replies.


    • Dick Says:

      If she looks great and works out and you are not getting anything: she is seeing somebody else. Quite frankly, with all the drugs you are on I do not blame her. Sorry, do not want to make it worse but you probably have to kick the habit immediately, start working out yourself, be a man.

  18. buzzybee Says:

    Women stop having sex with their husbands…at about the same rate as their husbands stop caring about the woman’s thoughts, ideas, soul, spirit, interests, and life.

  19. Mrs. Yum-Yums Says:

    Women need to Get Smart and understand that it is their privilege to be their Man’s Favorite Little Screw-Baby and His Hot, In-House Whore! What’s up with women (and/or men) who stop the girl-friend, boy-friend attentions after marriage?? Sure it’s tough with the Rat-race Rut we are all prone to fall into. Maybe that’s why They say, “A good relationship takes work.” The “work” is really simply putting forth the same effort to do what was once “pleasure.” I remember belly-aching a few times about how my husband “didn’t really listen to me” and “didn’t really even know me.” Truth is, I didn’t even listen to me or know myself–but just because I attached myself to him, I thought it was his job to jump through these “act-as-if” hoops in order to Earn Entrance. At some point there was enough emotional “money-in-the bank” to trust his loving devotion to “us.” I don’t need him to initiate any particular conversational warm-up gestures. When he tries, I might smile, and then Jump-him and help him Get to the Point! This is a guy who has “put his time in” both for his country an his family. He faithfully provides for us, cooks meals, encourages me in my pursuits, and corrects me when I get childish. I over-look his messes and his swearing. We view each other as flawed but incredibly lovable. We also have a rule (which I made up to suit my purposes!) ” You can’t leave the other person in the dog-house for more than a minute, or else you have to get in there too;Otherwise it’s JUST TOO LONELY!!” It is “turning-toward” when one feels entitled to withdraw that keeps the grace and good-will, and might I add, the good-sex coming…and coming. I have also found that lots of Baby-talk helps keep things Sweet.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    OK I’ve read enough. Time to comment. We live in a world where personal responsibility has gone by the way side. I have spent the last 2 years “shut off” and at times feel very hurt. This is not rocket science. I am reaping what I have sowed in the last 20 years of marriage. Sometimes I get pissed and want to give up, but I know I have created my own prison and I am determined to fix the damage I have done. I was arrogant and abusive in many ways. I was involved in drugs and over drinking, I was known as a poor listener, and displayed no affection or love. I have always been a good provider, and strong husband /father in the eyes of others and in my own families. My wife has never made a negative comment about me or has never tried to change me. I woke up one day and realized who I was. My wife and I both quit drinking (I have been off drugs for years) and this is when the sex stopped. The natural response with any guy would be…start drinking again. I don’t want my wife to have sex w/ me because she is drunk I want her to want to have it. I have become way more kind and understanding, I have stopped trying to control everything, I have become an excellent listener, and I have become gentle and kind, complimenting my wife continually. I have changed in so many ways it is noticeable to even people that don’t know me well. The frustrating part is I am 10 times the man she married and I am getting half the love and adoration I used to (when I was a jerk). When we discuss the sexual topic she claims it is hormonal changes and her desire is gone, but she won’t go to the doctor. I am having a hard time not taking this personally after how hard I have worked to change. I continually tell myself you cant fix in 2 years what you broke in 18. I have options because women continually come on to me even though I am 50. I have no desire to cheat or have an affair, people are stupid if they think anything good can come out of that. I am in it for the long haul and I will continue to do my best to heal the damage I have done. I am not happy about the sex thing but to me a wife that has stood by me through thick and thin and has never tried to change me, and has never put me down in front of anyone is worth more than gold. I look at it like this.. if she had cancer and couldn’t have sex because of health reasons would I leave her? Obviously there has been a shift in something and I am determined to help. I would accept any comments from anyone who sees a clue. Say what you will I can handle truth.

    • Uncle Sam Says:

      Thank you for sharing and I believe your humble approach to your life is a grand one and is sex worth all this time lost? I think this book will help you! Read “Man of Steel and Velvet”!

  21. Uncle Sam Says:

    I am writing this not as judgment, but from my own experience. I am a 31 year old male. When a man comes to a place where he has to go to a blog, forum, or ask how to wow his wife, to get her sexually excited for him, he has already lost his ability to be a man to her, therefore loses his privilege to make love to her. It saddens me about how far away from the basics of man vs woman role that we as Americans and the world have gotten and are getting worse. I agree with Jason(the college student), we as a nation and the world raise our boys to be like girls and raise our girls to be like boys, and it is sad and immoral to the next generation. Please read “Man of Steel and Velvet” it has changed my life for the better. I do not agree 100% with the book, but the insight of understanding the differences of the 2 sexes. I do appreciate that everyone is going through their own unique situation. This book will open your mind to a time past of honor, chivalry, kindness, character, morals and the true life of happiness, in marriage, family, child rearing, friends and people we run into in life. I hope all of you find peace and honor in life.

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