"So, any time we want to have sex, it's a good hour's worth of effort."


OH NOES! An entire hour! She insists on foreplay!


...or maybe the problem is that you're a gigantic, selfish, self-absorbed douche? By all means get divorced: 40lbs lighter or not, your wife still could and will do better.
@1 That's what I was thinking too - "OMG! You actually have to put some effort into sex in order to please your partner! Including foreplay and making sure you're clean!"

He starts with "I'm starting to think that she just finds sex too much of a hassle" and then complains about how much of a hassle he finds sex with her. Does anyone else see the disconnect there?

Sounds like the guy wants to go from zero to fevered vaginal intercourse at the drop of a hat, and he's pissed off that won't do it for her.
@1, he's not saying it bothers him that it takes an hour. He thinks SHE doesn't want to do it because sex in her mind is an hour-long process and she's lazy like that.
@ 1, 2, you never have quickies?

Actually, given the microscopic detail of this letter, I read that as more facts he wants to get out there, not "OMG, can you believe she won't suck my stinky dick when I demand she do so."

You guys would have a point if a) she didn't always make discussion of this difficult and b) if they had sex with any regularity. (Granted, as always, we only have his word for all this...)
If an hour of some showering and foreplay is too much effort for him, I can't imagine how he'll fare as a single straight dude in the dating world.
@1 @2
As I understood it, it takes an hour just to get to the sex ( an hour of showering, foreplay, and oral for her only), and that only works if she is already up for it. Frankly, I think that's a plain sign she's just not attracted to him.
She should get a rechargeable vibrator, rather than relying on batteries. It would be much better for the environment, and cheaper in the long run.
@4: no. never. don't believe they actually exist. seriously, don't be an idiot. Of course I've had quickies. (GF and I have a kid: trust me, we know from quickies.) But I also don't think that (a) OMG AN HOUR is actually all that long (sheesh) or that foreplay is some sort of generally unreasonable demand.
I totally do not get all the hate on this guy right now.
It seems like his wife doesn't want to fuck him, and I don't agree that it is because it takes too much time and effort for HIM to fuck her. She just doesn't want to fuck HIM!
Booking a getaway, gift cards for her to female friendly sex shops? I think he will do fine in the dating world as a single straight dude.
signed, straight 20thsomething female who would looooooooooooooove some gift cards and a vacation.
" always involves both of us having to go for (individual [tried that]) showers first (at her insistence)..."

Does anyone else find this aspect a bit odd? Maybe she has some kind of germ-phobia or cleanliness fetish? Not that it really alters the appropriateness of the advice, but it stuck out to me.
1 & 2 - She insists they shower first. Separately. Every time, it sounds like. That's not foreplay.

And before you say, "The guy's probably a pig who won't take a shower unless it's a condition of sex," she has to shower before sex too.

Just from this limited information, I'm not going to say she must think sex is dirty (literally or metaphorically). But I think it's a sign she has some issues she isn't willing to deal with. Control issues, obsessive-compulsive issues, I couldn't even begin to guess what kind of issues. But the showering thing seemed a bit of a red flag to me.
They're both exceedingly lazy. I see her as Liz Lemon, "I just want to be in a relationship eight years in, when you can just go to sleep without anyone tryin' any funny business." And him as Tracy Jordan, looking for ways to avoid foreplay.
@4 Yeah, sometimes I do, and I'm grateful to have a partner who likes them too! Not everyone does.

I'd agree with your assessment, he's clearly asking Dan for permission to leave. But we do get to speculate that there might be another side to the story, and my gut feeling after reading that third paragraph was that maybe he's overplaying her neediness because he feels he should have to put in less effort to get what he wants. I fully admit I could be completely off-base.
He sounds like a turn off. She sounds like a turn off. I just think they're a mismatch. It was a mistake. Move on.
Hm... you guys may be on to something. I've read so many of these mix-matched libido/lost-all-interest-in-sex letters that I kinda skimmed what I thought was an epic reiteration of a problem we've been over and over.

For the record: demanding foreplay is not at all unreasonable; expecting your partner to be clean is not at all unreasonable.

@1 I don't think LW meant it that way. I took from that that this was proof on his wife's assertion that sex was too much trouble.
@1 @2 and nearly everyone climbing all over this guy's back:

His details about an hour long session are no so much him complaining about it--indeed, he sounds happy to have one with his wife--but an example of why he thinks his lazy wife doesn't want to have sex. Because he thinks SHE thinks it's too much effort.

To quote from the letter: "To be honest, I think the issue has a lot to do with laziness. She's always been a why-do-something-today-when-you-could-put-it-off-to-tomorrow type of person and I'm starting to think that she just finds sex too much of a hassle."

Reading comprehension, people: It's your friend.
Just a crazy thought here, but if the roles were reversed, there'd be a chorus of "HE'S A GAY!!!"

I'm not saying that it's right, but when I was reading this, I found my mind saying, "she's a lesbian!"
@10, I deal with those kinds of phobias in my current relationship. She (not always me) must shower immediately before, it always must happen in bed, we have to lay on "my" side of the bed in case of sweat, it needs to be night time and the lights must be off (though I've had success with candles). These things, I can only conclude, are just to make the process so complicated that she can justify not making the investment so often.

I also think it's indicative of something Dan brought up: depression. They have no kids, she has more days off than she works, he describes her as "lazy" and "a why-do-something-today-when-you-could-put-it-off-to-tomorrow type of person". It all sounds fairly unhealthy.

But, then, I could be projecting.
@17 I didn't put much stock in that sentence you quote. Let me explain why:

Dan receives and has printed what seems like a lot of letters from men and women who are basically looking for permission to cheat or permission to walk away from a relationship. These letters always have some kind of attack on the other partner's character or appearance. It's always "he/she is lazy" or "he/she put on weight", or something like that. Yes, of course those statements may be true, but in the looking-for-permission-to-leave context, I often find them suspect.
Hmm. He bought her Ann Summers vouchers for *her* birthday, not his? No pressure there, then! On her birthday, too, when he might be expected to be thinking about what *she* would like, rather than what he would like.

I'm not saying he's a terrible guy or anything; I expect he's probably desperate. But seriously, the vouchers for her birthday, the holiday booked primarily in order to get sex, not just because she'd enjoy it... I don't know, I certainly wouldn't find that attractive.

Sounds to me as though they're in a rut where he pushes and she's repelled by the pushiness. And yeah, also a libido mismatch.
Commenters 1 & 2, I commend you on your lack of reading comprehension. You win a bag of "get fucked".

Commenter 3 has it right; he said he thinks his wife considers sex too much of a hassle to pursue, and he illustrated why that might be the case by pointing out that she doesn't do quickies, and for them to do it "her way" requires them both to take separate showers, and is a process that consumes at least an hour. He isn't complaining that this is too much time, he's pointing out why someone who is a chronic, lazy procrastinator might consider that too much work to bother with.

Beyond this particular point, if you've never been in a relationship where the other person has a significantly lower libido than you, you have no idea how upsetting and depressing it is. I mean, look at the gaps in time between single incidents of sex; do you honestly think that this is the story of someone who is bothered by the idea that sex might take an hour?

C(AI)F, you have my sympathies. Best of luck to you.
@17 and several others: you are inferring that she is the one who thinks that showers+foreplay = too much trouble. But at no point does he actually say that. What he says, verbatim, is:
To be honest, I think the issue has a lot to do with laziness. She's always been a why-do-something-today-when-you-could-put-it-off-to-tomorrow type of person and I'm starting to think that she just finds sex too much of a hassle. She's never been interested in quickies; sex always involves both of us having to go for (individual [tried that]) showers first (at her insistence) then generally involves 10-15 minutes of foreplay for her before me going down on her till she cums. Then we get to have intercourse. So, any time we want to have sex, it's a good hour's worth of effort.

To me, that looks like he starts by complaining that his wife is lazy, and then finishes off by complaining that he has to participate in foreplay and that it takes "a good hour's worth of effort." At no point does he say "...and she thinks that's too much trouble."

I will allow that the shower thing is a little weird.
I dunno, this reads pretty sincere to me. And I understand him looking for someone with an outside perspective to confirm that he is not being crazy.
@ 15 - you're absolutely right, but it IS unreasonable to expect EXTENSIVE foreplay EVERY time. that's all.
WTF?? Wholly agree with #17 & #16. This guy is describing the failure of potential solutions that Dan's covered in the past regarding partners with mismatched libidos - namely quickies and handjobs.

Seriously, a guy's complaining about going without sex for 6+ months, it's not because he's got issues with it taking too long. She's not demanding foreplay, she's turning down sex because all the cleaning & foreplay is too much effort. FWIW, I had similar issues with my relationship (I'm the lazy one) & Dan's handjob/&c advice made us both hella happier. The difference here is that she's not prepared to admit the problem is partly hers to solve.
BTW, I love being lectured on reading comprehension by people who apparently spent 2 seconds skimming a multi-paragraph rant. That's awesome, keep it coming.
When you're really into someone, you don't care if they showered. Quickies are always hot with someone you're really into. If you have hang-ups about how you/they smell, how long you/they take, etc. it's time to reassess.
@1, @2: Surprised by your reactions to his letter. Taken out of context, maybe. But the whole reads like someone who is passive-aggressively avoiding sex for whatever reason by setting up rules and conditions that are unlikely to be met, so she can evade responsibility for being an obstacle. The 11-day period during the vacation? Trying to suggest he should feel guilty -- for putting pressure on her -- when he initiates discussion of their almost absent sex life?

There's wanting your pleasure in a way that's fair to all parties. On the other hand, there's trying to avoid sex while making the guy the bad guy. I think we're dealing with the latter here.

Does she even remotely sound GGG to you?
@19 I read those as depression warning signs, too. I also think she should get a decent endocrine checkup, a lot of that story made me wonder about polycystic ovary syndrome, which generally isn't diagnosed by anybody but an endocrinologist. I also second Dan's suggestion about reevaluating her birth control, I know from personal experience that it can really torpedo a libido.
But, yeah, overall this sounds like a person who doesn't want to have sex supplying a crapton of hurdles to make sex harder to get to. I'm not sure why people are piling on the letter writer, he sounds like he's been fighting the good fight.
It's possible she's got some sort of crippling insecurity from her underemployment and has just lost all interest in doing ANYTHING of worth.

@19: I agree, I'm sure more detail would lead us down that route.
@ 23

Um... He says, "... and I'm starting to think that she just finds sex too much of a hassle." That's pretty much him saying, "and I think she thinks that's too much trouble."
It seems to me like the practical issue here is that there's some kind of incompatibility that's driving her libido down to practically nothing and they're not emotionally intelligent or compatible enough to actually get to whatever that core problem is and figure out what to do about it. Honestly, how do you end up married to someone who won't talk to you about sex? What a remarkably bad idea.

And I'm not really buying all the recrimination here toward CAIF. In normal circumstances some of his complaints would seem selfish or insensitive, but making your partner shower and do you first, every time, and only going for even that once in weeks or months really makes me think that she's kind of disgusted by the idea - and act - of having sex with him.

And frankly even if he is an utter churl, you don't deal with that by shutting down, cutting him off, and refusing via various emotional landmines to discuss it. If he really were that bad, the solution at this point would still be for them to divorce, spend some time dating and growing the fuck up, and try again with different, more compatible people.
@23, 'At no point does he say "...and she thinks that's too much trouble."'

Actually, he does. Right in the middle of the block you quoted:

"'I'm starting to think that she just finds sex too much of a hassle."
She's never been interested in quickies; sex always involves both of us having to go for (individual [tried that]) showers first (at her insistence) then generally involves 10-15 minutes of foreplay for her before me going down on her till she cums. Then we get to have intercourse. So, any time we want to have sex, it's a good hour's worth of effort.

If time is such a factor-- and sometimes it is-- then I suggest taking turns. You don't both need to have orgasms every time you have sex.

But honestly, it sounds like wifey is being emotionally abusive. This isn't someone with little-to-no sex drive; it's someone who has a sex drive but prefers the convenience of masturbation. If she cared at all for her husband, or if she were at all invested in their marriage, she would have put the vibrator aside for a couple weeks, let the horniness build up, and then fucked the hell out of her husband. That she's unwilling to do so makes her a selfish piece of shit.
@21: "Sounds to me as though they're in a rut where he pushes and she's repelled by the pushiness. And yeah, also a libido mismatch."

Yep, It's a terrible situation to be in, because if both parties were happy, it would be a fun gift, but since they're not, she's insulted, and he's desperate and doesn't really know *what* would make her feel better.
32/34: Order, in the English language, is important. As is attribution. He begins the paragraph by theorizing that she finds sex too much of a hassle, and then spends the rest of the paragraph discussing behavior that he finds too much of a hassle: an unwillingness to do quickies, and an insistence on foreplay. (A whole ten minutes of going down on her! Unheard-of!)

Not only does this not support his hypothesis that she can't be bothered with sex, it suggests a rather different explanation.
I agree with Dan, but do make sure you have had the conversation about why she doesn't want to have sex. Could be hormones/birth control, sure, and if she were really into you, she would be concerned enough to find out why she doesn't want to have sex. But you say she seems to be using her vibrator, so, it doesn't sound like she has lost her sex drive. I'm with @18. Maybe she is a lesbian. Or maybe it is you, as painful as that could be.

But Dan is right. You are still young and there are no kids. If she doesn't want sex, then you need to find someone that does. Do your best to part ways with her on a friendly basis. Divorce can get ugly.
It sure sounds like they have a small fraction of the sex that he would like to be having and that she is the one acting as the gatekeeper. I completely agree with Dan's response.

Unless you've experienced the 11 day menstrual periods etc. with your wife it's probably hard to understand this guy's bewilderment with what to do. I feel your pain my friend.
I have to say, to me the first part of the letter sounded to me like he was speculating on why he thought sex might be too much work from his wife's point of view. I didn't at all read it like HE thought it was too much work. Ferchrissakes, he's gone out and lost 40lbs, he's tried buying her sexy clothing, he's tried getaway vacations, and other alternatives. Sounds like quite a bit of effort to me.

I will say this. This part: "Any time I bring up the issue, she tells me I'm "making [her] feel bad" or I'm putting too much pressure on her. " is interesting, especially given the amount of actual sex.

I have seen this sort of thing, multiple times, as a progression that happened this way (I describe this without putting blame on either party): The two of them fell in to this pattern of him always initiating sex *particularly* by turning any bit of affection into a sex session, or making it clear that he hopes it will turn into a session of sex. This pattern is exceptionally easy to fall into, especially for younger folks, due to cultural memes that reinforce the notion that the guy ASKS for sex and the girl GIVES it to him (if I could destroy one cultural expectation, this would top the list of candidates).

*This has the end effect of making any kind of touch, contact, whatever perceived as a request for sex.* Even if the guy wasn't actually asking for sex.

THAT is how you wind up with one person perceiving requests for sex -- even if they only actually have sex every six months -- as "pressure." I mean, the both of you can be laying in bed at this point, doing NOTHING, and she can be feeling that it's pressure right there to be having sex. This is very difficult to deal with, from BOTH ends of the issue.

At THAT point, there's probably little that can be done, as the pressure will *feel* continuous to her -- and she'll resent that. And of course he'll resent on the other end, exactly how LW describes. Getting past this requires a lot of heart to heart talk, the exact sort ANY couple, even in healthier circumstances, have a lot of trouble with.

Time to cut the losses, I think.
He says her libido isn't the problem -- "There's a collection of used batteries that suggest it's not the urge that's missing."

I don't understand that at all, actually. Can he really know that the used batteries come from vibrator use? And if she masturbates frequently, why doesn't he start by trying to be in the same room with her while that happens? If she won't touch him when she's clearly horny, then he's right to diagnose that she's not attracted to him.

The result is the same -- divorce -- but they can get there faster, and move on to better matches for both of them, if they don't waste time trying to fix her (perfectly active) libido.

Now you're just being a pedant. He established a thesis and gave examples as to why he presented it. Furthermore, he gave additional examples as to the effort he's putting into sex in his marriage: weekend get-aways, pounding the gym to look good for her, long emotional talks, shopping for costume and props to spice it up.

You'r reading as him being effortless and whiny about the length of the sessions is a poor one and now you're grasping because you know it is. Get over it.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around that this guy has only had sex a little over a dozen times (if you do the math) in 8 YEARS of marriage! I'm surprised the marriage has lasted this long. Her libido may improve after seeing an endocrinologist or switching up birth controls but the fact that she knows this is an issue and does nothing but buy more batteries is a serious reason to DTMFA.
@15: No, you were right the first time. She barely fucks him, she won't tell him why, and she guilt trips him when he brings up the problem.

Clear case of DTMFA.
Someone with whom you have a great relationship, but not sex, is a friend, not a lover.
This will sound stupid to a lot of you, but I'm a gay guy and I really don't know the answer. Why would she require so much foreplay before he even gets to go down on her, unless she really really really didn't want anything to do with him sexually (for whatever reason)? I always thought oral sex was part of foreplay when it wasn't the fullplay, especially for women. Why does she require all that working up to what so many women don't get enough of? Plus, the whole vibrator thing.
@42. Yes. Bad examples, and unintentionally revealing ones. But apparently I am not going to convince you of this. Whatever: his wife will be well rid of him, and the dating scene will undoubtedly be educational for him.
@46 I'm not sure I would consider oral sex as foreplay in of itself. Touching, hugging, kissing, rubbing, etc. Let me put it this way: when I was younger, I was a *lot*more self conscious about oral sex than penetrative sex. It was hard to relax (and therefore enjoy it) without getting relaxed and much more in the mood first..
@22/29 I'm willing to allow for the possibility that she was always like this. He does say "sex always involves..." He doesn't say "sex has recently turned in to..." or something like that.

Everyone is speculating about things that are not explicitly spelled out in the letter (part of what makes SLLOTD fun, in my opinion). If it is the case that she started putting in these sex requirements as a way to keep them from having sex often, then he deserves our sympathy - and yes that is a possiblity. However, it's also possible that she has always been like this (since he does say "sex always involves"), and he just stopped being okay with that, which has contributed to the drop-off in their sex life - that is also a possibility, and one that would make it unfair to put all the blame on her.

And if having a different opinion on this letter entitles me to a bag of "get fucked", then I will be checking the mail daily until it arrives.
@37: Thanks for shitting up this thread!
@50: you're welcome. I'm here forever, please tip your waitresses.
I wonder if her cycle being so long is part of the issue? Just from personal experience, the long cycle was an indication of problems. I also had repeated infections, and my physician suggested that I stop having sex all together (my jaw dropped) or resign myself to being on antibiotics. We went with the antibiotics until I had surgery, it was my choice. Surgery made a huge difference. Just a thought.
@1,2 (especially Doctor Memory),

I really don't see where in C(AI)F's letter you get the impression he doesn't like foreplay. The specific example he gives was bad because it was 1:30am and he had been up since 6am the previous day. As for the length of time, it's not like he protested against it, since he went through with it, but he's offering it as a possible reason why she doesn't want to have sex.

Why jumping to the conclusion he doesn't like foreplay?

Of course, we only have his side on this issue, etc. But considering they've had serious conversations (tears, etc.) about it, if the problem were him not liking foreplay, shouldn't this have come up already? Besides, if vibrators will do the job, is foreplay here really the big issue?

No -- the more likely solution is that we're simply dealing with yet another case of mismatched libidos.

You can't get the whore out of yourself so don't scribe about how you want to be soooo good.

Bird got to fly.

@46: Direct contact on the clit when you're not yet aroused can be painful for some women and uncomfortable at best to many more.
35 and 43 you are both right on the money here... She is a selfish POS.

I also think there is a strong likelihood of some hormonal imbalance or due to birth control pills. Both of which can also lead to depression, amplifying the problem for this woman.
But in the end it is up to her to figure this problem out if she wants to be/stay in that marriage.

I honestly don't think it'd work out any better for the guy if he stays in the marriage... she might try for a little while, but until she gets a wake-up call in the form of a divorce she's not going to try to fix her issues regarding sex.
@47, looking at the answers you gave to the question I raise (also raised by others), I think you're reading too much into what he says.

It seems to me the LW is simply saying this may be the reason why she doesn't want sex. I don't read in his prose this subtext of 'foreplay isn't interesting' or 'showering before sex' is bad; from what he says, he does it willingly (the one time he says he was annoyed was the 1:30am case).

Also, the idea that she's a postponer (better tomorrow than today) is apparently not based on sex, but on her behavior in other moments and about other things. Of course, we only have his opinion; but that's true for any letter.

So: he has a woman who, for other reasons, he thinks is a postponer. He notices she doesn't really want much sex with him. He wonders if it's because of her tendency to postpone. He looks at the sex scene and wonders what things in it might make her feel like postponing, and selects the ones that take more time or effort as possibilities.

You're deducing from this that he is the one who is turned off by the foreplay and shower, while I sincerely don't see it in the text (I've re-read it three times now). As far as I can see, he simply chose the more time-consuming parts of their lovemaking because the less time-consuming parts would be less plausible as reasons why a postponer would want to postpone sex.

I'm not necessarily excluding the possibility that he doesn't like foreplay and finds showering a hassle or wants sex to always last less than fifteen minutes. I just don't see in the letter that this is indeed the case.


You and Kim make a lot of sense to me. Other posters who suggested all the rules and extended foreplay she set up means she finds sex dirty just don't strike me right.... In my experience, if a woman finds sex "dirty," somebody going down on her is the LAST thing she'd want. Heck, even women who enjoy sex (myself included) still find a partner going down on them a little unsettling.

It sounds more like... thats just how she likes to roll.
It's funny to me that it never occurred to me to see this guy as the jerk of the situation. Seems to me he's done everything that he could be reasonably expected to do and that she's abusing him to reject him like this for so many years.

To me, the vibrator suggests that this isn't at all about mismatched libidos, but that she's simply not attracted to him. The showering every time bit could be about creating obstacles, sure, but it could also be that she hates his scent/taste. I doubt it's a germ hangup, though, just cuz of the sex toy thing... but maybe I'm wrong.

If she needs nearly an hour of foreplay for sex, so be it. But being a GGG partner should mean that sex should also sometimes be for his sake, which means she should be willing to get him off to keep him content with quickies, hand jobs, blowjobs, etc. until she wants her one hour session. But, again, it seems to me that she just doesn't want to fuck him and doesn't care about his sexual well-being, which means he should move on and spare himself further rejection.

Was he was selfish in his frustration with foreplay or oral sex.? Hmmm... I do wonder why he never mentions, amidst all his attempts, why they never included the vibrator in the their sex life... I wish I could ask him that.
I was so glad I agreed with the first and second commenters that I read all the other comments. I just got greedy, I guess. It's silly to expect people think a woman's sexuality matters as much as a man's in a heterosexual relationship. Cleanliness AND foreplay, my God. Plus, he said it's an hour's effort, total, not an hour's effort, then sex. I really think he should get back in the dating world. Or, more likely, the 'date experience' world.
If the batteries are really being used up in vibrator time that the lw isn't sharing, and there are all these obstacles to them having sex, she's just not attracted to him. It's that simple.
An 11-day period one time only is rare and should be cause for concern and a trip to the gyno. A loss of libido that pronounced, if unwanted, would likewise be grounds for, at the very least, discussion.
She sets down conditions that are diffcult to mee; only initiates sex when she's either desperate, drunk, horny-beyond-belief, or knows he won't be able to follow through and she can get points for being in the mood; feels pressured by him; cries when he tries to bring the topic up for discussion; apparently masturbates frequently alone.
She's just not that into him.
Why the hell is she on birth control when she has sex 2x a year?! Seriously?! WTF is the point? I really think that if you love someone and you have mismatched libidos, you meet in the middle. If she's not willing to figure out or just be honest with him about what her issue is, then it's time to move on. This is the rest of your life you're talking about...if you're not happy now, imagine what you're going to be feeling 5 or 10 or 15 years down the road. And as a side note, the worst part about marriage is how lazy everyone gets. It's just a horrible catch 22 of resentment.
She's denied sex to the man she married for 15 months at a time without talking about it, and resisted trying to fix the problem. That is evil. It's indefensible.

One of the unspoken rules of marriage is that you get to have sex with your She lied to him to get him to marry her, then reverted to her true form as an abusive monster as soon as she got a ring.

Add my vote to the chorus that says that if she doesn't want to shower WITH him as part of the prelude to sex, then she just isn't into him. Showers can be (hell, should be) excellent foreplay. If she finds the idea of a shower with him before sex revolting, she isn't turned on by him, period.
To everyone who says the vibrator is a sign that her libido is fine: Not necessarily. Making yourself come with a vibrator is a lot quicker and less effort than actually involving a partner. There's a difference between scratching the occasional itch and actually putting your energy into fucking.
I'm horrified that he is so clueless and stuck after eight years. EIGHT YEARS OF MARRIAGE. Why don't people talk to each other? He gives these lame, vague answers (guesses?) about why she doesn't seem that into sex, but the point is that he has no fucking clue.

Sure, sex seems to be the issue, but the real issue is that neither partner can be truly honest with each other, let alone fucking communicate.
My husband is not big on foreplay. I ( like the wife in this scenario) benefit from a pre-coital climax--primes the pump, so to speak. So I often will get myself off with vibrators and assorted other implements while he showers (he showers at night, I shower in the morning, negotiated through years of cohabitation). Somethimes he enjoys the pregame warmup, other times I'm ready to go before he's toweled off.

My first thought upon reading about the incriminating pile of batteries was that for me, the more orgasms I give myself, the more of the real deal penetrative sex I want. Sadly, that does not seem to be the case here.

I don't think this is a case of the mismatched libidos. It sounds as though she is not sexually attracted to him. That might be the weight gain (40 lbs and more to lose?) or it could be that she never was. It could be that she thinks that their relationship is really great except for this minor issue that she really doesn't want to have sex with him.

How is it that they have a really great relationship other wise? She rejects him, withholds sex for more than a year, emotionally manipulates him, and has the longest period on record that coincides exactly with what he planned as the getaway (from what?) sex vacation. That doesn't leave a whole lot of room for otherwise.
@60, possibly he doesn't mention using the vibrator during sex because he takes it for granted? I'm in a very similar situation to the LW, except not so dramatic (I get it more than once every six months, and we've been together three years--no 8 year marriage, which makes me shudder). When I talk/complain about my relationship, I never mention the vibrator which makes an appearance in most of my sexual encounters with my partner.

He's established that he's getting her off (every time, before penetration), she's not telling him what he can do differently. Whether they are or aren't using the vibe in their once-every-six-months-sex seems unimportant.
@66: You're right.
But taking the vibrator out (and making sure it has fresh batteries) takes some effort and planning and making time, too. No matter how much easier it is than interacting with another person, it is not something that can done in three spare minutes.

She appears to have some serious hangups or insecurities, and find bodies shameful or disgusting. But she still has a working libido.

Remember that she wants the lights out and they both need to have showered separately.
His showering is to make sure he smells "better" to her, so he is either stinky, or she doesn't find his normal scent appealing; her showing is because she is self-conscious and uncomfortable with her own body and knows that he will be going down on her.

FWIW, I prefer to do my showering alone, and I have a high libido.
@60, @62, @65:
If you are right and her libido is healthy and she's just not into him sexually for whatever reason, then I'll bet you anything she is fucking other men.

I know more than a few women who are/were in this exact situation - feelings for hubby died but stayed married for convenience/security - and every one of them is/was having an affair.
@71: You could easily be right.
@69: I was just going to tell the lw that he might not be getting her off. Maybe she's just faking. It's happened before.
just leave...the fact that she waits until 1:30 in the morning when u have to wake up @ 6,along with all the other issues pretty much says that she's no longer interested...o,and dont forget the manipulation...she may be depressed,but there's help for's not like dude's not trying,he is...she's not...8 years is too long to keep waiting for her to change...leave...
@70, it was my partner, not the LW's, who needs the lights out. Still, I don't discount your analysis, if she wasn't grossed out by him at the beginning, she probably is after 8 years of this horrible sex life they have.

@71, yes, that. She also gets to work only part time. She probably feels like she 'needs' him.

@72, a real possibility, but I don't think it changes the outcome. If she hasn't been able to tell him that he's not getting her off, or has been faking it, for 8 years, he needs to get out.
@67: "Why don't people talk to each other? He gives these lame, vague answers (guesses?) about why she doesn't seem that into sex, but the point is that he has no fucking clue."

C'mon, you can do it. Read it again. It's in there. (Answer: he _has_ tried to talk to her. She shuts him down.)
@60: Speaking as a woman who is decidedly fun and not frigid, IMHO: mismatched libidos. I'm not judging LW's wife, but neither would I deem LW misogynistic or uncaring-- the boy needs some lovin! What would you suggest? The hour-long rigmarole *every* time, which is next to never?!

not @60

sorry , I meant 61
@65 - Shared showers, in my experience, are more fun as a concept than in reality. It only took one time of getting bumped and slipping and having one very-damaging fall for me to nix the reality of shared showers evermore. They may look great in films, but if you aren't slipping and breaking your neck, then you're standing there freezing, covered in soap, hoping you get a chance at the water soon.

And as to why she insists on the showers - my guess is that he probably is just not attractive to her, and isn't making much of an effort to figure out why. Yeah, the weight was probably part of it, but maybe he's got rank, unkempt patches of hair and doesn't see any reason to trim them, maybe he's got a really offensive natural odor (some people's chemistry just does not mix), maybe his personal hygiene is just a little questionable. I have to take exception to the people who've said that when you're really attracted to someone, you don't care how they smell - for me, it's kind of the other way around. I'm not attracted to someone if I don't like how they smell. At a very base level, there are some people whose skin just does not smell good. I realize that I have a nose like a bloodhound, and that's not usual, but I'm not alone in this regard. It bugs the hell out of me if my partners don't get their teeth cleaned regularly, for instance.

Also, I want to second what @55 said.
He should also get counseling, to understand why he thought this was okay for so long: "It tailed off a bit when we moved in together then almost died away when we got married." He should have left when he realized that moving in together led to less sex, not more sex.
@78 - "it's kind of the other way around. I'm not attracted to someone if I don't like how they smell." Absolutely. But how do people get married without that basic mutual attraction in place?
Also a general comment on the hygiene commenters: it is an unsupported leap of logic to conclude that her imposing the requirement of a shower immediately before sexual activity equates to him being a stinking slob who never showers except when she makes him. He could very well shower and shave every morning. It could be just that anything less than freshly scrubbed grosses her out when it comes to contact with her more sensitive areas.

Hell, all else being equal, I prefer freshly showered sex when I can get it, too. That doesn't mean my wife stinks.

Try to stick to the details that are actually in the letter. Once you start extrapolating, you can turn the letter writer into as ugly a straw man as you please, but that doesn't mean the comments based on it are going to do the letter writer a damned bit of good.
Like others, I was also disturbed that this guy would bitch about having to actually (gasp) make sure he was clean and into foreplay before having sex. Those things are not unreasonable, and if you want sex so badly, one hour should not be too great a price.

Now, if even after meeting these demands the wife isn't into sex, then that is a legitimate problem. But it sounds like this guy won't meet her halfway and that, as a result, she has decided she won't accommodate him either.

Men often forget that for women, plain missionary sex isn't that exciting. Women rarely come, if ever, from that. If you aren't willing to make it feel nice for her with foreplay, oral, toys, kink, whatever she needs, then why should she be inclined to put on a sexy outfit just so that you can thrust in her a few times, come, roll over and fall asleep?

What a goddamned douche bag!
OK, the sock puppets must be coming out of the wood work now *facepalm*
If it weren't for the fact that they have huge dry spells and the LW has lost weight, I'd think my husband wrote this. My husband wears 40" pants and comments on my size 12 physique, says that oral is "a chore" if he has to do it every time, and literally considers coming to bed naked to be foreplay. He grew up in a horribly Christian household, in a small country school (grad class of 24 kids) with no sex ed, and he believes porn to be an accurate depiction of how sex works for women. Of course, ripping clothes off and grabbing a cock like it's water in the desert works with one night stands, but he can't figure out why it would change after a few years and a few kids.
I think this douche needs to figure out that his wife wants to get off just as much as he does. SHe's just one step ahead of him in that she's given up on him and he hasn't quite given up on her yet. If washing your dick and getting her off is a huge production, and if you're hounding the poor woman about it to the point where it's the subject of every gift you give her, no wonder she'd rather fuck a vibrator.
Hah, the selective hearing army! "WE READ WHAT WE GONNA READ."

@ too many to count.

One thing that hasn't been touched on yet (no pun intended) - the extended period of pre-penetration activities is a fairly long period of time where things can go south, ending the session early. I'd be interested in how many times CAIF has his take off aborted, so to speak.

Also, am I the only one to note that the foreplay as described is one-sided, and that she's taken mutual masturbation, blowjobs, and handjobs off the table? To me, that screams out that she's not interested in him. She's not totally repulsed by him, but she's not interested enough to take an active role. That would mean acknowledging his presence and his needs, and investing time and effort in his pleasure and happiness.

@71 - Seandr, you're a cynical son of a bitch. Which isn't to say that you're wrong, not hardly.
@78, @80: for me, it's kind of the other way around. I'm not attracted to someone if I don't like how they smell.

The science on this subject would agree with you - enjoying your partner's smell is a requirement for female sexual attraction, not a result of it.

One of the most interesting studies shows that women prefer the scent of men who's genetic makeup (MHC, specifically) is most different from their own. They had women sniff shirts that men wore for a weekend, and women tended to be attracted to the BO of guys with different makeups and revolted by the BO of guys with similar makeups. Turns out a guy's armpit can smell like death to one woman and love musk to another.

It's also been shown that women are more likely to cheat on hubby if his MHC is similar to her own.

P.S. Guys - if your woman always thinks you smell bad, even when you just got out of the shower, there is likely nothing you can do about it, so DTMFA.
I think people are bringing their own baggage into this and as usual, the man is wrong.

Forget showers, length of time, amount of effort, he's a douche, she is wrong blah blah blah.

This is what stood out for me once I got rid of extraneous fillers and presuming the guy is telling the truth:

1. She doesn't want to talk about it.
2. Filler
3. Filler

It's not about who is right or wrong, it's whether or not both parties want to fix a problem which counts. Apportioning blame will not solve the problem. Sounds like he wants to fix it.
"But taking the vibrator out (and making sure it has fresh batteries) takes some effort and planning and making time, too. No matter how much easier it is than interacting with another person, it is not something that can done in three spare minutes."

It most certainly can be done in "three spare minutes".Really, how long does it take to grab a vibrator from the bedside table? I would say 10 seconds max.... tad bit longer if it's buried under something. Some women can come very quickly, especially with a vibrator.
@82 OK, for the sake of everyone's sanity, let's run through this again.

Read, the letter through again, and you will notice that he never indicates that he dislikes showers/foreplay/taking the time. In fact, he has only bemoans this process once, when it came at 1:30 before work. He cites those things as examples of why she may think sex is a hassle. (She's a procrastinator, likes things the easy way, so the boxes she needs checked to sleep with him present obstacles for *her*).

There are a lot of asshole guys out there who may scoff at showers, extensive foreplay, or taking steps that exclusively help his partner get there. This isn't one of those guys; from the information we have, he's one of the good ones.
Jeez you guys. He's miserable, and she can't be bothered to do anything about it. That's not a marriage.

Expecting a reasonable amount of sex is part of being married - if you don't want sex, don't embark on a lifelong sexual relationship.
I guess other people are more patient than I am, but I just don't understand relationships like this. He's wasted almost all of his 20s on a woman who doesn't want to fuck him. I could understand this kind of behavior in someone who's settling down, or merely settling because they're desperate to get married and have kids, but most 23-year-olds have options. Take advantage of them for fuck's sake.

Eight Years!?! I wouldn't be able to tolerate that for eight months (with the exception of serious health issues).
@82: Men often forget that for women, plain missionary sex isn't that exciting.

This has to be the funniest thing I've read on SLOG all day. You're really got a handle on the male mind! You're right, here's what we're really thinking before sex:

"Oh no, here we go again. First, she'll want to 69, then it's doggy style while I slap her ass like some brute, then it's cowgirl, then reverse cowgirl where at least I can close my eyes so I don't have to watch. Then cowgirl again, then she deep throats me (gagging sounds, spit everywhere, ew!) while I work the Hitachi on her, and finally I make a sticky mess all over her face and try not to gag as she licks it off her lips (ew!!).

Just once I'd like her to hold me and gaze into my eyes while she makes sweet gentle love to me missionary style."
WTF is with the hate on this guy? He went to the gym and worked off 40 lbs. so his wife would fuck him, and still no dice. I really didn't think he was complaining about the hour for sex, just that it's one more barrier to it happening with their busy schedules. I also thinks it highlights just how controlling his wife is. They can't have sex unless it's done EXACTLY the way she wants it. Every time. That's sort of pathological.

Bottom line, C(AI)F seems like a good guy who has tried absolutely everything he can to keep his marriage going and remain faithful to his wife. But she is selfish and manipulative and not worth the effort.
It's clear, she doesn't want sex with the guy. That's why all the requirements, showering, 1-hour foreplay, initiating at 1:30 when he has to go to work at 6, etc. That way, if he says "lets do it" she can retort "well, it's so much bother and there isn't time, you have to go to work in an hour." Since there's no kids, he should DTMFA.
Even though this relationship is obviously fucked, I think calling the wife emotionally abusive is going a bit far. Sounds like two people who just aren't very sexually compatible and have no idea how to communicate. Just because the guy isn't getting laid doesn't mean he's being abused. Maybe the wife is being deprived of things she needs to be intimate with him and neither of them knows how to initiate a converation about it. Hard to believe they've been together this long and haven't even tried therapy. Neither of them seems to have put much effort into making the marriage work.
@92 More common than you think, amigo, and it goes for both genders, too. Something about being young, stupid, and in your first serious adult relationship, and desperately wanting to not screw it up.
I've seen this show before.

She's just not that into you. She probably never was, but thought she could be. I bet the pre-marital sexy times was because she was trying to make you happy. She's long since stopped trying.
@48 and @55 -- Thank you for clarifying that issue for me. I had no idea.
Let's examine the evidence:

1. Sex once every six months.

2. He has to go down on her; she has never and will never do that to him.

3. Her periods last at least 11 days.

She just seems really, really unattracted to this guy. She probably loves him and wishes she could do something about their sex life, which is why she gets all weepy when he tries to talk about it, but she just can't make herself be consistently sexual with him. I also think that cleanliness and foreplay are not too much to ask but in this case I don't think it's really relevant to the problem--if she was attracted to him she would want to have sex with him even if the whole process took an hour. Who is too lazy to fuck, really? That's like being too lazy to eat or too lazy to put on a sweater when you're cold.

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