I have an idea for those in sexless marriages! I know, I know! This topic is overworked! But I haven't seen mention of something that has been a wonderful discovery for us: WEED!
My husband and I are a pair of cis-gender, hetero, white, middle-class, middle-aged, unexceptional folks. My libido dwindled (as they evidently often do), from about age 45 to 55 or so, until it was nearly gone. He's ten years older, and his fell off almost as much over that same period. This bothered him a great deal more than it did me, and he did some fruitless exploring and experimenting in efforts to find ways to keep his interest up.
Then about three years ago, he revealed to me that he's always (since age 12 or so) been into cross dressing. This shocked me, but I knew right away that while shocking, it really shouldn't be a big deal to our relationship. Binge-reading your archived Savage Love columns online confirmed my initial take on things, and also re-kindled my own libido—I think because I thought more about sex over those few days than I had in the previous ten or so years. THANKS, Dan!
We got mighty frisky for a time, but his libido tapered back off pretty quickly. Leaving me pretty frustrated, since mine didn't as much. For a year or so, I was trying sooo hard NOT to be harsh, whiny, angry, or anything but supportive and patient. But I've been confused and hurt, and told him as much. He and his Drs (GP and urologist) couldn't find any physical reason for his lack of interest. Viagra and Cialis aren't the answer when there's no desire to begin with.
Then an old friend, in for a long weekend, pulled out some weed as we sat around visiting. Husband and I hadn't toked for years. It just hadn't been something we ever thought about. It's still illegal where we live—no medical MJ allowed or anything—so not easily, readily, or openly available. But WHOA! Our friend left us with a small supply, and after a couple of evenings of red-eyed snacking, we discovered that my husband's desire and capacity for sex was back! That was late in the summer, we've since found a local supply, and we've been happily toking every couple of weekends since then, and fucking about one out of every two of those nights.
Can I get a great hallelujah?!?
So there's something that other loving couples struggling with this issue might try. Weed doesn't do anything for me in that department—when I smoke, I just want to drift and giggle, not focus on the kind of effort needed to achieve or give sexual release—but it might affect some women in the way it does my man. Worth a try, huh?
Hallelujas All Around
Thanks for sharing, HAA. I'm like you: weed doesn't make horny. It just makes me snacky. But there are desperate couples who've tried everything short of opening up their relationships—so why not weed? And why not cross dressing too! Even weed and cross dressing doesn't do it for them, even if weed doesn't get 'em fucking, they'll feel happier and look prettier regardless.
Two more letters about sexless marriages to round out a week filled with letters about sexless marriages...
I read the "another sexless marriage" SLLOTD and I was like W's husband for the first half of her letter. I haven't cheated and have no intention to do so but I know my libido is lower than my fiance's. He masturbates daily and will frequently wake me up to try for sex. I'm always grumpy at being woken up and I shut him down. I'd say we have sex once every other month. I feel guilty about it. It's not that I'm super opposed to sex. I'm completely fine with him watching porn and masturbating and I feel like I'd be up for more frequent sex if things were a little different. If he tried before sleep instead of while I'm asleep; if I knew to be ready for it; if I lost 20 pounds. We've talked about it and he feels like his cycle isn't set up for before-sleep sex. We even tried having a sexy night once a week but it would always feel so awkward that we only tried for a month.
After reading W's letter, I asked him if he feels like that. If he's just with me because he doesn't think he can find better. He told me that he can't think of anything he'd rather do without me but he can think of endless things he'd rather do with me. We have problems with sex but he is okay with it. I should be super happy and I do feel reassured. But the guilt! I don't know if it's a Catholic thing but I feel so guilty that I can't do this right for him. I don't know if I'm writing you for absolution or if I really believe there's a solution but I'm hopeful.
Is there any advice you can give for the lower-libido member of a relationship? We've talked about open relationships a few times before and it's always been me who brings it up because I worry about not meeting his needs. He's really not interested and is very committed to monogamy.
Clueless In BC
First, you need to ask yourself—and you need to ask your husband—why he continues to wake you for sex after you've shot him down countless times, after you've explained again and again why that move doesn't work, and after you've informed him again and again that he might actually get some sex out of you (and some dick into you) if he made a move before you were sound asleep. Either your husband is dense and clueless—and the author of his own sex-deprived misery—or he enjoys being a sex pest, as the Brits call 'em, only your husband prefers to pester and harass the woman he married, not strangers on the Tube. Ask him which it is, CIBC.
Your husband can demonstrate his concern for you—and demonstrate his sincere desire to be sexual with you—by listening to you when you use your words. Proof that he's actually listening: HE KNOCKS THIS WAKE-THE-WIFE-FOR-SEX SHIT OFF RIGHT FUCKING NOW. If he doesn't knock it off, if he persists with his sex pestery, then he prefers annoying you to having sex with you, CIBC, and you shouldn't feel the least bit guilty about cutting him entirely.
Second, about those twenty pounds: make some time to exercise. Don't concentrate on losing those twenty pounds, don't obsess about a number, but create a regular exercise routine and stick to it. Exercise is a natural anti-depressant and a natural aphrodisiac. Regardless of whether you lose weight or gain weight (muscle is heavier than fat!), you'll feel better and you'll feel hornier if you're getting regular exercise.
After venting to a friend about my sad sad, sexless marriage of fifteen years, she suggested cheerfully, "Cheat! And read Savage Love!" After perusing countless tales like mine in your archives, I didn't immediately cheat, but the idea was suddenly viable.
Then, like so many, I met a coworker. He was cute. He began flirting. I found myself venting to him about my crap marriage and wouldn't you know it? He was in a similar situation. We flirted for months before he finally invited me to coffee. A hug goodbye turned into the kind of kiss that was so incredibly delicious, like my first glass of water after being in a desert for a decade and half. We found a few chances to be together more intimately—there is a ton of passion and it's so glorious—but it's wrecking our heads. We both swing between feeling genuinely guilty and feeling guilty for not feeling guilty. The longer this goes on, the more feelings we develop. We enjoy being each other's company and have an amazing time just talking. We're both broke (our partners are the bread winners) and we're both worried about getting caught and pissing off everyone and negatively effecting our children.
Now what Dan?
We are a wreck and the affair has only been going on for three months! I think I want to break it off then I feel so heartbroken. I tried to tell my husband I wanted a separation and he was so devastated that he made major changes. But I know it's a long way to go for me to ever love him again. I hate that I might be falling in love with someone who may or may not feel the same way about me.
The guy from work maintains that he loves his wife despite the fact that he is far more attracted to me. He and I like the idea of polyamory but neither of our partners would allow it. I suspect he will stick with her for financial reasons and I will be left heartbroken and alone.
Do what you gotta do to stay married and stay sane—if you actually wanna/hafta stay married, that is. If not, get a divorce regardless of what Mr. Guy From Work decides to do.