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The following post was inspired by TerriblyTorn13.  If you aren’t familiar with her blog, I highly recommend it.

For many years, Ashley and I have talked, on occasion, about what works well and what doesn’t in our relationship.  We tend to come to the same conclusion each time.  In most every respect, we have what most couples dream about and never achieve.  We’re best friends, and coming home to each other is the best part of our day.  We share equal financial responsibility for our household, and an equal share of the housework.  We talk about our work and lives outside of our marriage, and we take an active interest in what has happened to each other when we’re apart.  Sure, there are a couple of things here and there that we could do differently, but this usually amounts to little more than whether the dishes are done every night or every other night, or who will scoop the litter box.  Our marriage really is a partnership in most every respect.

That is, until you get to the sex issue.

I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears further discussion.  For the past three-plus years, Ashley has been decidedly asexual.  This wasn’t always the case, but her once dynamic, sexually curious side seems to have disappeared.  We usually make love only once a month, if that.  This may not seem that bad when some couples have sex once a year, but for a young couple married less than five years, this is a very bad sign, an indicator that you may end up in that once a year category.  This is the last thing I want, because I wouldn’t remain in a relationship wherein I can’t be physically intimate with my wife.  It would be like being married to my sister, someone I love but with whom I could never, ever be intimate.  I know it would spell the end of my marriage.

And today, I told her so.

It’s hard on both of us, me leaving for weeks at a time to go on research trips, and we make it a point to talk via Skype as frequently as we can.  During our conversation today, I cracked a joke about her showing me a little webcam skin.  Her response, coupled to an exasperated sigh and a roll of her eyes, was, “God, don’t be so gross.”

When she said that, I suddenly thought about all of the things I’ve been putting here.  Pouring my thoughts and memories and exploits into an anonymous, honest venue.  Hearing the feedback from my readers.  Reading the hatemail.  Forcing myself to dwell on what I do, why I do it, and why I can’t be more honest with her.  I realized, on some emotional level, that I hold so much resentment and frustration because of her refusal to help with my sexual urges.  In that instant, her words just made me so fucking angry.  And I never get angry at anyone, much less her.  Why the hell is that gross?  What the fuck is wrong with wanting to find sexual pleasure in the woman I love?  I wanted to scream at her, tell her everything I’ve done, and what I planned on doing at that moment just to spite her.  But instead, I just closed my laptop without a word and walked away.

An hour passed before I finally came back to my computer.  She immediately called me, and I could tell she had been crying, a lot.  She’s an emotional girl and tears up frequently, but when she cries out of grief or fear, her face takes on a drawn quality.  Not sickly, but drained, emptied.  It broke my heart to see it, because I had caused that, by losing my temper and letting myself get caught up in my emotions.

She asked me if I was mad at her.  I told her, yes, I am, and I have been for a very long time.  She asked why I was mad.  I told her because I have tried to be a good husband.  I have tried so hard to change who and what I am to make myself worthy of someone like her.  I told her I fail a lot, and that I have let her down, whether she knows it or not, but I struggle every day to overcome my own issues.  But I need her to be more than a partner.  I need someone who will do more than put her head in my lap to watch a movie.  I need a lover.  I need her to be the one and only thing I think of when my body is screaming for release.  But she can’t be that thing for me if she always refuses to be involved with me sexually.  And if that doesn’t change, as much as I love her, as badly as the very thought makes me ache down to my bones… I will eventually leave her.  And when it happens, I won’t feel guilty about it, because I will have become so bitter and angry that loneliness will be a better alternative than suffering through a failed marriage.

That’s not verbatim, but it’s damn close to what poured out of my mouth.  When I was done, Ashley stared me, mouth agape.  I suddenly felt very self-conscious, and I waited for her to start crying.  But she never did.  Instead, she wiped her eyes and asked me how long I’d felt like this.  I told her years, and didn’t she remember all the times we talked about how upset I was because we no longer had sex?  She did, but thought it was an immediate thing, like “I’m not getting sexed up right now, so I’m mad!”  I was just as shocked as she was.  We’d had dozens of conversations about it, and she had never understood what I was saying.  It had never registered to her that our marriage could be in real danger if we didn’t find a solution to this.  Today, it did, and it scared the hell out of her.  So she asked me, “What can I do to fix this for us?”

We talked for a couple of hours about it.  During our discussion, I learned that sex has never stopped hurting her.  She experiences physical pain before and after, and it makes her not want to be intimate even when her body is really feeling it.  I asked her why she never told me.  She said, “Because I love having sex with you, and I didn’t want you to think you had to change something.  You’re just too big for me.”

Makes me feel like a bit of an asshole, but there it is.

Anyway.  We don’t know what the best solution is, but we have agreed, when I get home from this trip, we’re going to sit down and talk about this, try to figure out what she is willing to give, and what I am willing to concede.  Ashley doesn’t want our marriage to fail, and neither do I.  We’re going to see if we can make it work better for both of us.

I think writing this blog has been therapeutic in some respects.  I don’t know if your stories and feedback gave me the push I needed to really confront Ashley about our problems, or if forcing myself to be honest here made me want to be honest with her, too.  Hell, maybe I just snapped.  But I feel that I have begun to look at myself a bit differently over the couple of weeks I’ve been working on this.  And I now have real hope for what may change in my marriage.

Thanks for keeping up with me, folks.  Psychiatrists are quacks, but you people are not.

And no, I’m not leaving.  I have a hell of a lot more to say and share.  I just like the way that last sentence sounds.

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22 Comments

  1. dammit, i just had an almost same situation with my partner last friday night, and i might write about it soon. i left him yesterday (for the meantime, to think), and decided not to communicate with him the whole week. i need to think. your post almost made me cry. 😦

  2. I can’t say I relate to this, because I’ve always been too fucked up to maintain a relationship for a period longer than a few months. I really admire your honesty and your openness in these posts, though.

    I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in love with someone and not be able to express that physically on a regular basis. I’m sorry and I hope it gets better soon.

    • Thanks Imperfect. I do too. I’m not sure that whatever repairs we may be able to make to the physical side of our relationship will also help me overcome the compulsion to cheat, but it certainly won’t hurt, and would be wonderful to finally have that part of our marriage back.

  3. YES!!! You hadda talk about it! That’s GREAT! 🙂 I don’t really think you were “as” angry at her as you were at yourself though. I think the self loathing you mentioned yesterday came up and out as well. She’s not saying your idea is “gross” or you are gross… she’s saying she’s uncomfortable with the idea of herself being on a webcam because of whatever personal reason she has about it.

    If I can find it and it’s okay with you, I’d like to put a link here to a conversation I had with someone about him breaking up with his girlfriend. You may be more patient than he was … but the context was the same insofar as comfort levels of certain things sexually. Lemme know I’ll be happy to dig it out… 🙂

    I am so happy you talked… 🙂 !!! As an aside, I know what you mean about not enough. I asked someone a few months ago if they didnt’ get bored with a person over time sexually. They said no… I’ve found that the guy puts less effort into it over time and then I’m the one who is bored. Getting into detail is not my thing however it is an important factor in a relationship.

    Communication ! Amen! 🙂 I’m so happy you talked to her.

  4. Hello there. Good post. Isn’t writing interesting? Anonymously too. It helps us to consider where we are and where we’re going. You’ve only been married 5 years – it’s early days and you will be absolutely fine – both of you. Speaking openly and honestly is the perfect way to realise the sexual life you want with your wife. Love and lust are tidal – particularly with women. Think of how the sea moves – well women are like that. Sometimes we are urgent and filled with currents and other times we are like clear limpid pools – calm and still and just resting. I was very much asexual in the early days of my marriage (now I’m a sex crazed maniac of course!). It’s natural and it’s never static. It takes time for a woman to discover her sexuality to allow herself to be unbuttoned literally and figuratively (to know what we want as opposed to what we are told to want) – your wife was a virgin so she has no barometer no experience to show her the way). Women’s appetites increase as they become more realxed about their bodies and their desires – peaking at around 45 – that’s just nature. Rolll with it and love the journey – it’s an intimate one. So it sounds like you have a big cock – then you have to learn to open her up slowly and relish that journey together too. It’s exciting. It’s new. It’s about being close. Good for you. Really. F – xxx

    • This is so true… Nicely said 🙂

    • I am sincerely hoping that, since we seem to have finally connected about this issue, our sex life will vastly improve. Now that she knows just how much it bothers me, Ashley is expressing a real interest in improving things, whereas before she thought I was fine with the status quo. We are both going to try things, because it’s likely not wholly her fault. Maybe my approach has been wrong. Maybe I need to be less aggressive, or maybe I need to be more. No idea. But I’m happy that we’re even discussing it. With any luck, this marks the beginning of a real change in our marriage.

      • I’m thoroughly happy for you Bimodal. You know, every woman is designed differently. I remember an ex of mine making a comment how I didn’t like something over the holidays (long story, I kept his family) and I advised him that it wasn’t what he was doing insomuch as when and that I was a different woman and liked something else. Way back when we’d never had that discussion, even when I’d say something it flew over his head. I think he assumed because it worked one with with some women, it would work the same way with me… this was thoroughly not the case.

        Preference and being able to talk about it would have been much better. Had he listened… I’d say no, he’d do it anyway… So, it was like, Okay… you’re not listening. Greeeeeeat. It wasn’t anything that wouldn’t have been easily remedied either. I just got frustrated thinking about it. LOL 🙂

  5. Okay okay, so I looked it up anyway… 🙂 To read the entire thing, it would take a while. BUT the blog post itself and then go to comment 10 where it started with the fella there as to conversations about women and their comfort levels with certain things sexual goes on from there. It’s just food for thought, for you and Ashley … you have NO idea how happy I am that you two had a conversation. Good for you honey! Good for you!

    http://mysterycoachdsi.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/how-some-women-treat-men/

  6. Bimodal–First, thanks for following me 🙂 Second, great post–honest, real, putting yourself out there. And this is the first post I’ve read, and I normally would not comment without reading more, but it’s the morning and I’ve got to get ready for my day job, but I just wanted to say something… It should not hurt to have sex. Ever. She needs to figure this one out, get to a doctor, something. I saw in one of the other comments somethng about her being a virgin, but if you’ve been married almost 5 years, there should still not be any pain, unless we are talking about a cock the size of a horses! Even if you are very endowed, pain should not be an issue, maybe some uncomfort, while the body adjusts, but not pain. (Hell, vaginas are meant to push out 8 pound babies, and if someone out there has an 8 pound dick, I want to see it!) But really, she needs to talk to her GYN or even her PCP about this. It could be as simple as an infection and a few antibiotics and it’s a whole new world. Also, invest in some lube… If you are on the large side, and she’s not, you need to make sure she’s wet enough. Even if she feels wet, sometimes it’s not enough or will dry out quicklly. Anyway, looking forward to reading more. And get that poor girl to a doctor!

    • I think there’s something going on medically as well. That’s one of the things we’re going to do when I get home, go to a doctor for an exam and blood test. She suggested that maybe her hormones are off or something. I don’t know. I doubt she has an infection, as that would be a 3 year long infection that surely would have been noticed at one of her many gynecological exams. But we’re going to pursue it.

      Also, lube is an absolutely must for us, always has been. We’ve tried just about all of ’em at this point! 🙂

      Thanks for the support, by the way. I look forward to following your blog, too!

  7. You know our situations are not the same, but I can relate in a way. I mean with my ex. I had the sex but constantly cheated on him for the kindness. You kind of have the opposite. It feeds on itself.

    My own field research leads me to believe that people have very different levels of drive and I have heard of people who don’t have any. Sex isn’t gross though, that is a Victorian idea. I feel for you, for Ashley, this is hard stuff, but also this could be a really good thing, you may really grow as a couple, I am not going to recommend counseling though…lol, that can be a very bad thing.

  8. I am so happy to read you’ve talked with her about this and ot went so well. Honestly I think it will be a fun problem for you two to work on together. I hope it brings you both the pleasure and togetherness that a loving couple needs.

    …..and a big thank you and hugs for the kind words

  9. It doesn’t sound like you guys need any counseling just yet – and the talk kind, not the medication kind. It does sound like she needs to see a doctor, though. Like LoveSexAndMarriage said, sex should never be painful. I’m sorry to hear she never told you. I also don’t buy the whole “you’re too big” thing. I know women are built differently, but blaming the cock entirely seems a little unfair. It’s all connected – the more turned on a woman is the more accommodating her vagina becomes, her cervix lifts, she gets wetter, big dicks can enter and be happy.

    I also want to commend you on your breakthrough to honesty. I was sexually mismatched with my ex and I never said what you did. I couldn’t bring myself to hurt him; I knew he couldn’t do more than what he already was (emotional blocks and medication setbacks) so I felt like it was pointless. Don’t get me wrong, I’d told him I needed more and done everything I could think of to make it happen, but after 7 years nothing was changing and so having that conversation just never seemed appropriate. We were just simply incompatible sexually. That wasn’t the sole reason for our divorce, but it was a large contributing factor to my unhappiness, for sure. I really hope it works out for you two.

    • In response to your first paragraph: I don’t know whether that’s the whole story or not. I mean, I’m not Ron Jeremy or anything, but I’m sufficiently sized to cause a fair bit of discomfort if I’m not careful. And Ashley is surprisingly small in the nether region, and not prone to lying, so I believe she truly thinks it’s a size issue, coupled to her own out-of-the-ordinary internal plumbing (more than the tightness). But I do think there’s more going on. She’s had to switch birth control several times now due to insurance and moving to new places, so I wonder if she has a hormone imbalance or something?

      As for the second: I’ve lived most of my adult life lying about who I am, and what I think. Not about the little things–I’m not pathological or anything–but I don’t share most of my beliefs and desires because I suspect most people would think I’m a fucked up person (which, as I so frequently say, I believe I am). It was incredibly hard being so honest with her, probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, because I don’t like putting myself out there like that, and I don’t want to hurt anyone. Frankly, I can’t believe I did it at all. But I’m hoping that by doing so, I may have set things into motion, moving our marriage toward the sort of physical relationship that I so desperately need. I doubt that any changes will completely eliminate my promiscuous behavior, but it can’t hurt, and it would be wonderful to have that intimacy back.

  10. What an honest post! Have you really been getting hate mail? That’s not good – but I guess some people can’t put themselves into other people’s shoes very easily… : (
    Its great that you talked to Ashley so honestly. Of course it must have been very very hard… But only good can come out of that.
    Its really frustrating when sex drives don’t match (!) – but if Ashley is willing to work on it – it might not be soooo bad.
    I’m not sure why sex should hurt Ashley… Did it hurt when you were both fucking alot?

    • Yeah, I’ve gotten a surprisingly large number of e-mails from women accusing me of boasting about sexual conquests and my infidelity in general. The nastiest I received was the one I addressed in another post (“I Can See Your Misplaced Anger From Atop My Soapbox”).

      Ashley and I have spoken a few more times since then, and I can tell you, she was seriously about making an effort to be more sexually receptive. I won’t go into details in a comment box (maybe later, in a full post), but suffice to say, she has some interesting ideas about things we can do to rev her up a bit.

      And yes, she said sex has always hurt her, every time. She just figured it would eventually stop. But it never did, so she stopped wanting it, or so she says (I believe her). But again, she’s got ideas about what we can do to make it not hurt so much!

  11. Part of blogging surely is to reveal yourself…
    Sounds very positive with Ashley. Hope the pain does somehow go away. That can’t be the greatest turn on!

  12. Bi – I’ve got some down time at work and was reading your back catalog and came across this post. I’m too lazy to read all the comments, so this might be repetitious, but has she ever been checked for endometriosis? I had and sex felt like I was being beaten from the inside out. I also avoided sex and thought my guy was too big for me. Turns out I had endo and didn’t even know it. It wasn’t until I had my C-section that it was discovered.

    Anyway, just throwing that out there.

    • Actually, I don’t know. That possibility had never occurred to me. She does exhibit several of the most common symptoms. I’ll have to run that by her!


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