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  • BIG problems in the bedroom - need advice

    My wife and I have been together for 13 years, and have two children.

    From the beginning our sex life has been a bit awkward. My wife has a very low libido, and sex is limited to Saturday night at 9:22 (pardon the sarcasm), and often my wife is not engaged in the intimacy, which is very hurtful to me.

    Moreover, she will not allow digital penetration, oral sex on her, sex from behind, or anything vigorous. She rarely moans, or expresses any verbal affirmation, and to all of these behaviors she sticks to the claim "that's how I am". Also, she hardly ever flirts and is very offended when I give her a flirtatious touch on the bottom, or make a gestful inuendo.

    She has had physical exams to look for problems, which were all negative. She has read a few books on sex, etc, but none of these efforts have produced a noticeable change.

    Last night was a deal breaker of sorts. In the middle of intercourse, she was stiff as a board and just laying there with a look of intolerance, and asked "are you almost done?" I was extremely hurt, as this has happened quite a few times, and stopped what I was doing, and an argument insued. Ironically, I particularly loving and gentle in an effort to convey my love for her.

    I am at my witts end with our sexual problems and honestly have done my due dilligence the past to focus on her feelings and be supportive. I've suppotively gone along with her suggestions for "sex breaks" lasting a month or two, and counseling. After a long and trying run of that, I now feel resolute about expressing my dissatisfaction, and having my needs met.

    Honstly, when I think about going the rest of my life w/o giving a woman oral, or being able to have more physical, playful sex on occassion I become very depressed. To the point that I told her that I am considering a divorce. I don't know that I have the conviction to go through with this, as we have two children that I adore and want to be with constantly. Furthermore, she is a good mother, and supportive, loving spouse. However, our intimacy problems have devastated my inate desire to be close to her.

    Married women in particular, what more can I do? All of my past sexual relationships have been very healthy and mutually enjoyable.

  • #2
    Re: BIG problems in the bedroom - need advice

    I went through some of the similar behavior when I was married but not to the extreme of your wife. I am sorry this is happening. In my case my lack of drive was directly related to my own happiness. My ex and I were constantly at each others throats about a variety of stupid petty things and then he would expect me to be intimate when it was bedtime. That didn't work for me. I have found myself in the same situation now in my current relationship and it is causing problems in my life again. But once again, my partner and I are not getting along and it is an instant drop in my sex drive. I guess what I am getting at is, my sex drive is directly affected by my mental state. How is your wife? Is she happy with life right now, are there money problems, does she feel taken for granted or anything like that? Have you tried adding in some romance, like little cute sticky notes, weekends away, etc. Good luck, I know how it feels from the other side as well and I am sure it bothers her too that she is not satisfying your needs, it always bothered me.

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    • #3
      Re: BIG problems in the bedroom - need advice

      Originally posted by Sniffer View Post
      I went through some of the similar behavior when I was married but not to the extreme of your wife. I am sorry this is happening. In my case my lack of drive was directly related to my own happiness. My ex and I were constantly at each others throats about a variety of stupid petty things and then he would expect me to be intimate when it was bedtime. That didn't work for me. I have found myself in the same situation now in my current relationship and it is causing problems in my life again. But once again, my partner and I are not getting along and it is an instant drop in my sex drive. I guess what I am getting at is, my sex drive is directly affected by my mental state. How is your wife? Is she happy with life right now, are there money problems, does she feel taken for granted or anything like that? Have you tried adding in some romance, like little cute sticky notes, weekends away, etc. Good luck, I know how it feels from the other side as well and I am sure it bothers her too that she is not satisfying your needs, it always bothered me.
      Thank you for the reply.

      On occassion I think she feels pressure to offer sex, and it happens to be at a time when we have recently had a disagreement. To that end, what you said in your reply is something I can completely relate to, and perhaps it's a bigger issue than I suspected.

      Funnny you should mention stick notes. A few months ago I tried that in the hopes of building some anticipation and it was not well received. Beleive me, they were PG-13 content, but by the second note in a week she called me on my cell and scolded me. Therefore, I feel insecure about trying to set any kind of mood that implies sex.

      Suffice to say, I stopped initiating sex a couple years ago. She declares she loves me, and proves it in her actions outside the bedroom.

      I workout 7 days a week, am very attractive (or so I'm told). All in an effiort to be physically appealing to her.

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      • #4
        Re: BIG problems in the bedroom - need advice

        I don't think its a medical problem but a mental / emotional issue on the part of your wife. Whatever that problem is, you cannot fix it.

        - Leave and find a healthier / happier relationship
        - Stay and find a healthier / happier relationship
        - Stay and be miserable

        That's it. That's all there is. The kids, etc, etc, are just details you will use to justify whatever choice you end up making.

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        • #5
          Re: BIG problems in the bedroom - need advice

          Wow this is so sad, but it seems to me like she was like this from the very beginning? If so, then you knew what you were getting into before you married her.

          I am not married, btw, but I have heard stories of women who have a very high libido before they are married, and then once they are, they slow right down. I am female and i am not trying to knock anyone, but i have heard this. Is this how she was with you? It would be interesting to know and maybe we all can then provide more advice.

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          • #6
            Re: BIG problems in the bedroom - need advice

            Originally posted by Winter_Rose View Post
            Wow this is so sad, but it seems to me like she was like this from the very beginning? If so, then you knew what you were getting into before you married her.

            I am not married, btw, but I have heard stories of women who have a very high libido before they are married, and then once they are, they slow right down. I am female and i am not trying to knock anyone, but i have heard this. Is this how she was with you? It would be interesting to know and maybe we all can then provide more advice.
            Well thank you for the kind words. Yes, her libido was stronger, and certainly 13 years, and two children will have some effect on a libido - mine included.

            My complaints are more directed at the quality and not the quantity if that makes sense. I can be contenet with once a week, but I struggle with the forbiddance of giving her oral for example, and the lack of affirmation from her that she finds sex enjoyable.

            You are right, looking back I did know what I was getting into, but dismissed the icey grip I had in my stomach and chose to believe things would improve, and that eventually I would be less concerned with intimacy.

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            • #7
              Re: BIG problems in the bedroom - need advice

              I don't think you can change it either. I don't think you two are right for each other, I think she sees you as a friend and not a lover. You could try seeing a sex therapist or just an ordinary therapist but it won't help if she doesn't think anything is wrong and doesn't want to change.

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              • #8
                Re: BIG problems in the bedroom - need advice

                A lot of it is the fact that your focus may seem to be on sex. Make those sticky notes about her or how pretty she is, how much you love her, how you're proud to call her your wife, etc., rather than PG-13 content about what you want to do with her later.

                Additionally, her slump may be a lot of psychological run down. Mother of 2, 13 years of marriage...she probably feels emotionally drained most of the time.

                She may also not know much about the fact that sex is a good, healthy part of any marriage.


                Have you ever discussed with her, alone, when she's not exhausted over the kids, about her feelings towards sex or towards you? Have you held her in your arms in bed at night...not trying to grope or have light foreplay and just tried listening to her and getting her view on all of it? A counselor is one thing...but a person usually will put on a good front for a counselor (my ex-fiance sure did).

                Is she on hormonal birth control right now? What about general symptoms of depression? Would she be willing to send the kids off to grandma and grandpa for a weekend or to some friends so the two of you could do something together - no sexual pressure, just visiting a city or taking a tour, generally reconnecting on a level of intimacy without sex.

                Intimacy is more than just physical for a woman. I'm sure you know that. We need to feel treasured, cared for, and protected by our husbands on a deep level. We need to communicate beyond "how was your day" or "how were the kids".

                There's a movie out called Fireproof right now. It comes out on video at the end of the month. With the exception of kids, it sounds a lot like yours...where there's no communication, no intimacy on an emotional or physical level. In the case of the movie, the man's physical need for sex had to be neglected to rebuild what he lost with his wife before they ended up in divorce as well.


                Overall, she may have a block towards sex from her upbringing which means that she sees sex as a chore or a "wife's burden" in order to have kids. This is something she'll need to go to a sexual health counselor independently for since you're probably not equipped to break through that. I'd even recommend a Christian sexual counselor since Christians often get the bad rap as being "prudes" and may open some windows to her understanding of how beautiful sex really is. This is something she'll need to go through with your support (not pressure, your tender support that you seem to have) under her.

                Another resource could be Tommy Nelson's sermon series on Song of Solomon. Boy, that will be an eyeopener for her if she thinks sex is dirty or a burden. In my personal opinion, if it's in the Bible as something intended to be unbelievably tender and connecting between two people...it's worth it.

                Regarding the oral, some women do not like the idea of it. Don't push it with her. Honestly, if she doesn't want it, why even do that? It's like telling someone you don't like chocolate ice cream and then having them try to give you some all the time ("try it, you'll like it" --- she may have tried it already and didn't like it...she's entitled to that. It shouldn't make you depressed.). Overall, tackle one issue at a time. The two of you definitely need to see a counselor and be REAL with them (both...I'm sure she put on a good front).

                You also need to be real with each other. Do things for her that are non-sexual that "speak love" to her. Ask her what makes her feel most loved. Then follow through on that list.


                It sounds like there's a major disconnect in intimacy outside the bedroom, which will translate into lack of intimacy within the bedroom. Plus, if there are other issues causing fights, she may feel beaten down - - - and then you ask for or expect sex.

                Now, mind you, I don't think that you would intentionally do anything to harm your wife emotionally. I just know that inadvertently we often step on each other's toes in marriage. I've done it to my husband, he's done it to me. We don't mean to, but we harm someone. They internalize it (because afterall, we all want to be forgiving people, don't we?) then it scars them. The next time, the scar gets worse. Eventually they either blow up or shut down. It appears your wife has shut down and is in a survival mode. Whether you both played a role or these were unintentional...it can still be repaired, but you need help to put the emotional and supportive pieces back in place before a physical intimacy can be truly possible or fulfilling.
                Surviving hostile forum trolls since 1999 :-)

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                • #9
                  Re: BIG problems in the bedroom - need advice

                  There could be any number of reasons why your wife is not enjoying sex. However, I would be taking a stab in the dark about this. In the context of a loving marriage, when one partner is having a big difficulty with something, the other tries to accommodate them. When sex is approached this way it can be quite a big deal. You try to accommodate her lack of desire and she tried to accommodate you while neither of you are really satisfied. The two of you need to be able to communicate very openly about what is going on in a healthy respectful way if you are going to negotiate this issue. Right now it sounds like neither of you are able to truly empathize with the position of the other person. Something is up and I think that seeking counselling would be a good idea to help both of you resolve this conflict.

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                  • #10
                    Re: BIG problems in the bedroom - need advice

                    is she on any medication that could cause a decrease in libido?

                    and has she EVER had an orgasm?
                    29/female/Toronto
                    I'm so cool I've got my OWN SMILEY!!

                    English. It's your language. Learn to type it.


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                    • #11
                      Re: BIG problems in the bedroom - need advice

                      I think she sounds like a really asexual person, and that you won't be able to change this about her. Some people are just this way. If she doesn't even like the occasional butt-tap, then I don't think there is much hope (most girls love them, so long as they are gentle).

                      I would recommend divorce, so that both of you can find fulfilling relationships. You need intimacy and emotional connection in your sex life, and she needs to not feel pressured to have sex and to have a relationship that is more platonic than sexual. Nothing wrong with either, unless you are together.

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                      • #12
                        Re: BIG problems in the bedroom - need advice

                        She may have issues from the past such as abuse.

                        She may not be attracted to you physically. I know this is hard on the ego but it could be true.

                        Give her an ultimatum. Sex or you walk. And be prepared to back it up. At this point you need something dramatic. Or you will continue to suffer.

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                        • #13
                          Re: BIG problems in the bedroom - need advice

                          I think that an ultimatum might backfire if you wish to continue in the marriage with your wife. If she feels pressured to be sexual with you, then she may dig herself further into a position of not wanting sex, especially if she has a history of abuse. In my opinion, she needs to know how much this is negatively affecting you without feeling like you could care less about her. An ultimatum may make her feel like she owes you sex.

                          Something drastic needs to happen, but I’m not sure that this is it. Going to a sex therapist would be a very good idea. A neutral third party that deals with this issue professionally all the time is something that I think your marriage needs.

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                          • #14
                            Re: BIG problems in the bedroom - need advice

                            What i can't understand is how you consider her a loving spouse, yet she refuses to engage in quality sex with you. I am not saying that in a mean way, but you put in your OP that she is a loving person. Anyone that really loved you would want to please you sexually as well. I would think so, anyways.

                            I remember something like this happening with a girlfriend and her husband years ago. He wanted sex all of the time when he came home just after work and she did not like the idea, especially since he was all dirty and such. She said that he made her feel like "his goods" that he could do whatever he wanted with her sexually. And she hated that. They almost broke up too over this sex thing. All the poor guy wanted was enjoyable sex.

                            So, i had a chat with her to find out what the problem was with her. (I used to be very close to the both of them, so i could get the story from both of them). She told me the issues, including him wanting sex right when he came home and she felt that it was dirty and such). Not saying that i was instrumental in helping them, but I told her that I know that they are going through a rough patch right now, but I know that you both really love each other. (you would not know it from the names that they used to call each other during this time). Anyhow, i told her that all he wanted was sex and decent sex, and since he has done his best to create a wonderful life for you and your daughter, you should be providing him with that. I told her to install a chandalier over the bed and take up trapeze acts or read books. Or, at least intice him into the shower and go with him. Make the effort and he will come along. Meanwhile he was really intent on divorcing her. I told him that with his luck he will meet someone just like his wife now, and that she wont even share the same bond as you and your wife does, with your current kid. (That was his, too). My words were, you will meet someone like your wife, but with a different face....LOL.

                            Anyhow, again i am not saying that i was instrumental, but i know that alot of the other friends in the group were saying the exact same thing. Long storey short, 9 years later, they are still together and as far as i can see, sex is not an issue to them anymore. I never got a chance to check out though, if she took my advice and installed a chandelier above her bed. LOLOLOL

                            On the other hand, as you clearly pointed it out to the forum, you did know what she was like from the beginning, so you have to take that into compensation. Speaking as a mature woman, it is difficult to find a compatable person at this stage of your life. Time and time again, i have heard from men who divorced their wives to find something else in life (better sex or more love or whatever) only to find another woman and after a few years, wish that he had not left his wife, because the new one turned out the exact same way. (same type of person, just a different face). One man that i knew well even lost the support of his family, including his grown children, for the sake of finding something different in a relationship. He was one of the ones regretting it.

                            If everything else is what you say that it is in the relationship and sex is the big issue, if you truly feel that she loves you and is a good loving spouse or whatever, then i say that you should go back to counselling. The last person that you went to was not very good, so go to another. One of the other posters suggest christian counselling, which may be an idea. I would make a serious commitment to finding something that might help her understand that it is important for a man to have good sex in his relationship. Heck, sometimes i don't want to have sex either with my boyfriend when he is home, but i do anyways because i know that makes him happy. I get happy too, just seeing him be happy. But when i comply with him, he is smart enough to tell me the next day how happy he was that i complied even though he knew that i was not in the mood. He thanks me for that. And he has a smile on his face all day. So, you know what? The next time that he is interested and i am not, I know that he appreicates it and tells me so. That makes me want to do it again for him. A few nice words goes a long way with me. Not about sex either, but gee you look nice today, you have a beautiful face and i am so happy to be with you. I love looking at you. Say some compliements to her and really, really mean it.

                            This can be fixed, but it has to start with you and hopefully she will see this and want to respond. I hope so for her sake too, because you seem like a decent person who is really interested in keeping your marriage together. There is nothing wrong with you having your needs and I hope that you both can find some way to work it out.

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                            • #15
                              Re: BIG problems in the bedroom - need advice

                              Thank you to everyone that replied. I'll try to ansewer all of the questions.

                              Q: "Is she on medication/birthcontrol."
                              A: No.

                              Q: "Has she ever had an orgasm?"
                              A: Yes, and typically every time we have sex.

                              Q: "Have I held her or been affectionate w/o sexual motives?"
                              A: Yes I have, and focused on that behavior for years. However, now I find it difficult to do that since it really never seemed to help.

                              Q: "Why give her oral if she doesn't want it?"
                              A: I really enjoy it, and being deprived of it for the rest of my life is depressing.

                              The responses have been very helpful. What I am thinking I will do is offer to go to a different therapist that specializes in sex, and if that does not work, consider divorce.

                              Ironically, I've been depressed for the last few months over this, and lately she is almost begging me to go to the doctor to get some pills to make me seem happier. obviously that does not help our intimacy, but it has become a circular problem.

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