Need help with sex problem

AnotherConfused

New member
Can anyone recommend a good book, or maybe some good strategies, for fixing a dead sex life? I've gone for years having to initiate all the sex because my husband doesn't like rejection, and finally just put my foot down and said this is killing my self esteem. So he's trying, and I realize that he just doesn't turn me on. He'll start to touch me and I feel irritated, and then I get mad at myself for not liking it.

Meanwhile, just laying eyes on my boyfriend C is all it takes to get me going, so that I practically go straight to orgasm by the time he actually has his hands anywhere strategic. So I know I don't have a physical problem getting aroused, but likely an emotional one.

One factor might be my polyamory. I have some resentment around not being "allowed" to have PIV sex with C. (I see this less as a rule than an awareness that it would upset my husband too much, so it's not really something I can negotiate for.) I feel kind of spoiled by C, in that he focuses on me so much when we are together, and communicates with me several times a day when we are apart, and has an uncanny way of reading my body language so that he knows exactly what I crave. He recently questioned whether I had raised my expectations of my husband, and I suppose I have. I catch myself thinking, "Why can't he treat me the way C does?" Probably not healthy.

I'm also concluding that my husband and I simply have very different tastes, sexually. Or maybe too similar -we both like to be passive recipients. He's like a cat, wanting his beautiful muscled body to be stroked, and I really wish I could get into that but it does nothing for me, so it's just something I do to please him. Then when he's touching me I always get the impression that he isn't really enjoying it so much as he is trying to figure out what will get a reaction from me, so he can move on to penetration. When he doesn't get a prompt reaction, he generally stops and gives up.

I'm turned on by a dominant, passionate, I'm-taking-you-now kind of presence. When he tries to act that way, it definitely feels like acting. I've told him my submission fantasies, but he seems to confuse it with violence, or disrespect, so he can't get into it. Or he thought it had to do with wanting to be told what to do so I didn't have to make any decisions. It's just not a dynamic he understands, and I don't know that I can get him to understand it, or if I'm wasting my time trying to change who he is. (I just tell C "You're in charge," and he gets a naughty glint in his eye.)

He says he doesn't know what kind of touches turn me on. C says I'm more communicative about that than anyone he knows. How can a husband not have discovered what his wife likes, after 15 years together? And yet, just the other day I had to remind him yet again, I don't like my legs to be squeezed (instant turn off every time, always has been). It's as if he isn't even paying attention to me when he's trying to turn me on.

Is there a book (fiction or nonfiction) that might help a polite, gentle, passive man understand the mindset of a woman who wants to be passionately fucked? Or one that can help us figure out how to rediscover and enjoy each other as we are?
 

Marcus

Well-known member
I catch myself thinking, "Why can't he treat me the way C does?" Probably not healthy.

Your husband is passive sexually. You have learned that you are not sexually attracted to passive men (apparently you are repulsed and irritated by it).

As far as I can tell this is not a "sexual problem" so much as this is the end of a sexual relationship. Your husband shouldn't feel the need to change who he is to sate your sex drive any more than you should feel guilty about not being attracted to him any more. People change and it sounds like you need to come to terms with that.

One factor might be my polyamory. I have some resentment around not being "allowed" to have PIV sex with C. (I see this less as a rule than an awareness that it would upset my husband too much, so it's not really something I can negotiate for.)

This rule never works and you guys should scrap it immediately; it just builds resentment. Your relationship is the perfect example of why NOT to have this dumb rule.
 

london

Banned
I agree with Marcus completely.
 

AnotherConfused

New member
This rule never works and you guys should scrap it immediately; it just builds resentment. Your relationship is the perfect example of why NOT to have this dumb rule.

I agree that it is a dumb rule, but at the same time, it is a reality that my husband will not consider staying married to me if I cross that line. I think that in his mind, my second relationship is "cheating" on the vows we made when we married. (We didn't have that whole bit about forsaking others, but he comes from India and even in this culture, there is still implied sexual monogamy when you marry.) He wants me to be happy and he knows I need this relationship, so I think he's justifying the "cheating" as not real cheating as long as there isn't real sex involved. I just don't think he could mentally come to terms with being married to a woman who has sex with someone else. He never has; I was his first kiss. So yeah, I could say, "I don't like this rule and I'm not going to abide by it," but that would be the same as saying, "I care more about what I do with C's penis than keeping our marriage intact." And I don't. Neither does C, who maintains that his relationship with me depends upon the stability of my marriage; he doesn't want to be a family wrecker.

And as simple as it would be to say, "Hey, we're not sexually compatible, so let's not have a sexual relationship any more," what does that really mean? Divorcing, battling for custody of our sweet daughters? Over sex?! Or staying married and celibate? Outside of the bedroom I'm perfectly happy to have a sweet, gentle, kind husband. I chose him for a reason. I love him.

I just think there must be some way to make it possible for us to have sex, even if it's not fireworks and not frequent. Our marriage always feels better when that's working. I just need some help finding our way back to that.
 

london

Banned
Dude, sex is hella important to me. I'd definitely divorce someone that I wasn't sexually compatible with, especially if I couldn't have sex with anyone else, but then I wouldn't have married them to begin with.

Unless your husband "doms up", which you said comes across phoney, you won't be satisfied by him. You just aren't sexually compatible. Only you can decide whether you are willing to sacrifice good sex in order to stay in the marriage. As I've already said, I couldn't. I need to have fulfilling sex with all my partners. You aren't saying that you care more about C's penis, you are saying that you have to meet your sexual needs which isn't unreasonable.
 

gorgeouskitten

New member
This rule never works and you guys should scrap it immediately; it just builds resentment. Your relationship is the perfect example of why NOT to have this dumb rule.

Totally agree, I have two stories for you on P in V. One, when BF and I hooked up, after some rather hot rounds of fooling around and dirty talk, he laid it on me that he wasnt sure wife would be ok with P in V. I told him right there and then, if that was the case this wasnt happeneing. we are teenagers.

second, when i broached poly with the hubs, he said i might be ok with it if you dont have sex with him. I told him that was a deal breaker, consenting adults dont go on and on making out and never get around to sex. or if they do they get pretty frustrated and resentful. It was hard, he was mad, we fought, there was tears and harsh words...but it worked out and i enjoy sex lives with both of them.

I used to be like you with your husband...until i told him some of the things BF and i do, and when he saw how much it turned me on he decided to go for it though it wasnt his usual bag, and ended up enjoying it too and our sex life has been the better for it.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
And as simple as it would be to say, "Hey, we're not sexually compatible, so let's not have a sexual relationship any more," what does that really mean? Divorcing, battling for custody of our sweet daughters? Over sex?!

I think being sexually repulsed by your monogamous sex partner is more than enough reason to change the nature of your relationship. Clinging on to an arrangement which has quite obviously failed because changing it might be difficult is faulty motivation.

"Battling for custody of our sweet daughters" seems like you have the worst case scenario on the brain. Or is it reasonable that your husband will behave irrationally and try to harm you because you want to live your own life?
 

AnotherConfused

New member
It's a bit much to call what I'm going through lately being "sexually repulsed" by my husband. We have had plenty of good sex over the years. His body is attractive (he turns heads). I just feel like the dynamic between us isn't sexy these days. I want to fix that. I don't want to throw out an otherwise solid marriage and break up a family. I want to rediscover the intimacy. I was hoping someone had some recommendations along those lines. I know "give up" is an option, but to me it's a last resort, not a knee jerk response.

If I ended my marriage I would also be ending my relationship with C, because he is flatly unwilling to take me away from my husband. I could have PIV sex with C once, tell my husband, divorce, and have neither of them. What would be the point?

C has had, in all his past relationships, a sexual difficulty of his own. He can't orgasm during sex, or if he does it takes him ages and ages. Past partners have been frustrated with that. For him, our relationship has been the perfect antidote. He pleases me (I always have better orgasms with fingers anyway) and I don't pressure him to achieve his own orgasms. Or I just enhance the experience for him while he uses his own hand. As much as it would feel nice to remove the taboo of PIV sex, and sort of "have" each other in that complete way, he has said on many occasions that his sex life has never been so exciting or satisfying with anyone else. We're not trying to make a baby. We really don't need those particular body parts to interact in that particular way in order to have a satisfying time together. It would be nice, the way winning a lottery would be nice.

I found an overwhelming array of books on Amazon about rekindling the desire in a low sex marriage. Has anyone read any of those, who could point me to a good choice? Or had some sage advice from a therapist or a friend, that might apply? I'm looking for help fixing the problem, not running away from it. Thanks.
 
I'd stop trying to change your husband to be what you want and accept what he does offer sexually, and take it or leave it. If he doesn't want to change actively, its a waste of time to push for that. Comparing sexual dynamics between partners is a lose-lose situation.

That said David Schnarch has a lot of good books about the subject, I own a few of them.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
I could have PIV sex with C once, tell my husband, divorce, and have neither of them. What would be the point?

I have no idea. That is much to bizarre an arrangement for me to have any input on.

I'm looking for help fixing the problem, not running away from it. Thanks.

I'm not suggesting you run away from the problem, that is your assessment of what I have said (which is telling). I was giving my observation. You don't find it valuable but some lurkers might. Thanks.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
It is hard to feel sexually intimate with someone if you have blockages in other areas of intimacy. You list resentment -- that makes it hard to be close emotionally. You list there being an emotional problem to resolve first. So... resolve it. Maybe start with doing page 5 & 6 things -- reassure him on his jealousy to improve the emotional health of the marriage.

And in the mean time go easy on the sex side of the marriage. Don't give it up if you still both want to be sexual together. But be kinder to each other about it. I get that you want Mr Passion Animal from your husband. But if that's not possible for him to execute at this time? Or ever?

  • You could keep the want and the resulting frustration that he isn't giving you that.
  • Or you could let go of the want and be ok with what he CAN give you at this time.

You don't want to break up or end your sex life. Could be flexible then. Could put up with clumsy initiating for a while. See if over time practice makes better. And consider changing tactics.

I'm not saying to fake orgasm when he does whatever (because who wants MORE of what is not cool?) But could you find things TO praise that you do enjoy?

Could you focus on what you want MORE of? (Ex: I like it when you stroke my hair...do more!) Rather than focus on the leg squeezing you don't want? (ex: stop squeezing my legs!) Maybe he responds better to positive reinforcement rather than negative?

It's easy enough to say nothing about legs and take his hands and redirect them toward your hair while telling him how you love his hands on you and you love it it when he strokes your hair. REDIRECT without pointing out the leg thing. Esp since he's skittish about rejection.

I know that you want to be tended to without having to verbally explain what turns you on every step of the way. But if he's out of touch with what turns you on you have to spend some time teaching and let go of wanting him to mind reader you like C seems to be able to do. Some people have a talent for the non verbal and paraverbal parts of communication and some people do not. Your DH may not have those kinds of communication skills to "just know" what it is you want like C does.

And remember that part of this

Or one that can help us figure out how to rediscover and enjoy each other as we are?

is for YOU to stop this thought pattern

I catch myself thinking, "Why can't he treat me the way C does?" Probably not healthy.

He can't BE C. He is him.

Could stop wishing/ expecting him to be like C and accept he isn't.

Could stop focusing on what you don't have. Could focus on what you DO have.

Could stop focusing on what you don't want. Could focus on what you DO want.

Meet him halfway. Hopefully he meets you back.

Galagirl
 
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I have no books on the subject or advice but in your position, I would probably try to concentrate on what your husband does do that you really like (or did do that you really liked) and encourage more of that.

As much as it would feel nice to remove the taboo of PIV sex, and sort of "have" each other in that complete way, he has said on many occasions that his sex life has never been so exciting or satisfying with anyone else. We're not trying to make a baby. We really don't need those particular body parts to interact in that particular way in order to have a satisfying time together. It would be nice, the way winning a lottery would be nice.

This I agree with wholeheartedly. I have absolutely no idea why everybody is so utterly fixated on PIV sex. I like it, for sure. Like it loads. But, it's just one way of having sex. There are loads and loads of others and I don't agree at all with the idea that unless you are having PIV sex, it isn't proper sex.

I would guess that the reason everybody is so fixed on it in an unquestioning manner is similar to the reason that most people practice monogamy without having any idea why - it's just what you do.

We all grow up with this massive pressure around the first time we have PIV sex and then I think internalise it all so that afterwards no sex feels 'proper' unless it is done that way.

I feel that it's worthwhile questioning these ideas with a critical mind and seeing just how true they are. For me, I'm not religious and I'm not trying to get pregnant so PIV sex isn't a massive deal for me - and hasn't been for years.

There are loads of reasons why PIV sex might be off the table - wish to avoid pregnancy 100%, an STI, ED, religious beliefs, an agreement with another partner. I don't see why it should cause a major problem or be a particular focus.

IP
 

AnotherConfused

New member
I'm not suggesting you run away from the problem, that is your assessment of what I have said (which is telling). I was giving my observation. You don't find it valuable but some lurkers might. Thanks.

Sorry Marcus, I wasn't trying to dismiss your feedback. I just felt like everyone was answering a different questions from the one I meant to ask. Mine was about fixing my sex life. I felt like it was being misread as "Given this paragraph about my 14 year marriage, do you think he's worth staying with?"

I often feel that when I come on these boards and state a problem I'm having in a relationship, people are quick to jump in and tell me the relationship is not worth keeping. I could have prefaced my question with a history of everything that is right in my marriage, but again, I wasn't asking anyone to judge the merits of staying or leaving. I just want help with my sex life.
 

AnotherConfused

New member
I'd stop trying to change your husband to be what you want and accept what he does offer sexually, and take it or leave it. If he doesn't want to change actively, its a waste of time to push for that. Comparing sexual dynamics between partners is a lose-lose situation.

That said David Schnarch has a lot of good books about the subject, I own a few of them.

Thank you. I will definitely look for these books.

I know comparing partners is bad. At the same time, I find myself asking, "What is it that I want him to be doing? What kind of touch/words/action will get me excited?" and my point of reference is the relationship in which I do get turned on easily. But yeah, they are just vastly different people, and maybe the same kind of touch from C that excites me will just annoy me from my husband.
 

AnotherConfused

New member
It is hard to feel sexually intimate with someone if you have blockages in other areas of intimacy. You list resentment -- that makes it hard to be close emotionally. You list there being an emotional problem to resolve first. So... resolve it. Maybe start with doing page 5 & 6 things -- reassure him on his jealousy to improve the emotional health of the marriage.

And in the mean time go easy on the sex side of the marriage. Don't give it up if you still both want to be sexual together. But be kinder to each other about it. I get that you want Mr Passion Animal from your husband. But if that's not possible for him to execute at this time? Or ever?

  • You could keep the want and the resulting frustration that he isn't giving you that.
  • Or you could let go of the want and be ok with what he CAN give you at this time.

You don't want to break up or end your sex life. Could be flexible then. Could put up with clumsy initiating for a while. See if over time practice makes better. And consider changing tactics.

I'm not saying to fake orgasm when he does whatever (because who wants MORE of what is not cool?) But could you find things TO praise that you do enjoy?

Could you focus on what you want MORE of? (Ex: I like it when you stroke my hair...do more!) Rather than focus on the leg squeezing you don't want? (ex: stop squeezing my legs!) Maybe he responds better to positive reinforcement rather than negative?

It's easy enough to say nothing about legs and take his hands and redirect them toward your hair while telling him how you love his hands on you and you love it it when he strokes your hair. REDIRECT without pointing out the leg thing. Esp since he's skittish about rejection.

I know that you want to be tended to without having to verbally explain what turns you on every step of the way. But if he's out of touch with what turns you on you have to spend some time teaching and let go of wanting him to mind reader you like C seems to be able to do. Some people have a talent for the non verbal and paraverbal parts of communication and some people do not. Your DH may not have those kinds of communication skills to "just know" what it is you want like C does.

And remember that part of this



is for YOU to stop this thought pattern



He can't BE C. He is him.

Could stop wishing/ expecting him to be like C and accept he isn't.

Could stop focusing on what you don't have. Could focus on what you DO have.

Could stop focusing on what you don't want. Could focus on what you DO want.

Meet him halfway. Hopefully he meets you back.

Galagirl

Thank you so much. This rings true. I hear myself saying critical things and I hate what's coming out of me. I told him at one point some parts of my body that like touch, and that worked, but he seems to have forgotten already. I'll keep telling him.

Thanks for the link too. I don't know that jealousy is quite the problem. He's not usually a jealous person. I think he just has these deeply ingrained ideas of what is right and wrong (Catholic school) and he's not willing to have a wife that does "wrong". And I feel this, so I know another block I have is that I am afraid to let my sexual self loose around him, knowing that he doesn't approve of most of my fantasies and my whole other relationship. He has said himself that he doesn't feel like having sex if I'm about to go be with C, or have recently come back from seeing C, or am planning a trip with C.
 

AnotherConfused

New member
I have absolutely no idea why everybody is so utterly fixated on PIV sex. I like it, for sure. Like it loads. But, it's just one way of having sex. There are loads and loads of others and I don't agree at all with the idea that unless you are having PIV sex, it isn't proper sex.

IP

I agree. It seems to imply that women can;t have real sex with women, either, because no one has the requisite penis.

I think what people are mostly uncomfortable with is the idea that a third party can have control over what goes on in a relationship. That my husband would be able to limit what I do with C. However, we all follow all sorts of written and unwritten rules all the time in order to function as a society, a family, a couple. Putting the toilet seat down. Not farting at the dinner table. No having sex in public parks on glorious sunny afternoons. So this limit on my relationship with C isn't a giant deal for me, just something I am able to do in order to avoid pushing my husband beyond what he is able to tolerate.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I think he just has these deeply ingrained ideas of what is right and wrong (Catholic school) and he's not willing to have a wife that does "wrong".

Could this other jealousy article could help too – esp with core beliefs?

And I feel this, so I know another block I have is that I am afraid to let my sexual self loose around him, knowing that he doesn't approve of most of my fantasies and my whole other relationship.

I don't have anything handy like articles for how to cope with feeling "judged" or "unaccepted as you are." Maybe someone else has the line on those? :confused:

I think what people are mostly uncomfortable with is the idea that a third party can have control over what goes on in a relationship. That my husband would be able to limit what I do with C.

If that is what his limit are so he can be willing to be in a concurrent relationship? That's where his limit is then.

You could always say "no thank you, not willing to do that." You ARE Willing. So I don't have probs there.

So this limit on my relationship with C isn't a giant deal for me, just something I am able to do in order to avoid pushing my husband beyond what he is able to tolerate.

There's where I have trouble. I see that you are not willing to push him beyond what he can tolerate... But how close to the edge ARE you willing to run him? Yourself? How willing are you to let go of baggage yourself?

You have sex problems
You have emotional problems.
He does all he can to ignore C exists or that you spend time with C.
C's worried about being a homewrecker.
You are afraid to be you.

Haven't gone into CLEAR dealbreaker territory. That would almost be easier.

It seems to run right up to the edgiest edge possible without tipping over with no comfort margins left for anyone to breathe easy.

Husband doesn't sound truly happy to be in polyship like this. Yet you don't free him or you. And he doesn't free himself or you. Everyone carries baggage. It is sad. :(

I'll hope that as you resolve the emotional problems these things will also resolve so you can all be in a healthier way. Right now it sounds rough. I'm sorry. :(

Galagirl
 
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nycindie

Active member
I think most of the first few people to respond to this thread are just not familiar with your story, and might not have read your past threads or blog, so their responses don't really address you and your situation as well as they could have.

I know you and your husband were seeing a therapist for a while. Has that continued? If so, good topic for discussion there. But if I recall correctly, he is uncomfortable speaking about your relationship with a third party, and probably would also be much more so speaking about sex.

I also think it's important to try not to compare, but what I hear most in your posts is your resentment. You resent that he doesn't know what you like after all these years, doesn't seem to remember what you tell him, has put tons of limits on you seeing C., and treats C. as persona non grata. I used to have a teacher who would say that the degree to which we are successful in this world is directly proportionate to the amount of resentments we carry. They can only get in your way, and nothing he does will ever be good or right enough as long as you are fuming inside about stuff, past or present.

So, I would say ya gotta look at your expectations, & find a way to let go of resentments. Unfortunately, I don't know of any books to recommend. I wish you the best.
 

willowstar

New member
AnotherConfused, it sounds to me like you just have a compatibility issue in the bedroom. I have a similar dynamic with my husband and boyfriend. Husband is more passive, and so am I. We have had years worth of what I call "Lazy sex". No one wants to get on top, we touch the important parts and get each other off, etc. I found that the worst years were the 18 or so months after having a child, and may be partly related to hormonal changes in my body as well as changes in our family overall. Lately we have been able to make things much better, we have much more fulfilling sexual encounters, and we are both making the effort to do so. I also believe that me being able to express my poly side by having another relationship helps me quite a bit.

With my BF, however, there is no trying involved. It is clear to me that he and I are much more sexually compatible. I think this is partly because he is more sexually experienced than my husband is, and, well, practice makes perfect, right? So, he has learned more about techniques and desires, but he and I also have a very "switchy" dynamic that I have never really experienced with anyone else. We go from him being more dominant to me being dominant, then back again, and this can happen very quickly. It's like a dance, really. We are also not having PIV sex, but I can relate to your experience of knowing that can be just fine. :)

I wonder if learning something like tantra or trying some actual techniques would be helpful for you? It would give you both something to focus on, a specific thing to try. Your husband may simply not really know what else to do?? Or take a workshop of some kind? Maybe you can just realize that your husband will give you quiet lovemaking sexual experiences, and C will give you something different?

Just my two cents...

Willow
 

Marcus

Well-known member
I would probably try to concentrate on what your husband does do that you really like (or did do that you really liked) and encourage more of that.

Too true. All to often peoples first instinct seems to be to change their partner to suit their particular needs. It's kind of like thinking of a partner like they are a Barbie to be dressed up and modified to fit a specific role.

People are not built that way. When it comes to sex (as with anything else) some people are passive, some are assertive, some like lights on and some don't. The goal should be to enjoy what *is* good (as has already been said a number of times) and not to get them to change to fit an arbitrary quantity of whatever.

There are loads of reasons why PIV sex might be off the table - wish to avoid pregnancy 100%, an STI, ED, religious beliefs, an agreement with another partner. I don't see why it should cause a major problem or be a particular focus.

I for one do not have an opinion about what people do or don't do with their genitals; it is not my business. What I do have an opinion about and have expressed is the insistence that rules for how a partner should behave are going to help bring about a more harmonious relationship. The fact that this particular relationship has a rule banning something is what I call dumb and counterproductive... it is not hinged upon the PIV sex part.
 
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