Hmmm. Something about this letter makes me feel sad for the writer. I wish her well.
These have been so great to read! Right on, ABIAT.
Hmmm. Something about this letter makes me feel sad for myself.

I agree with Gus. These are great to read. I also think they'd make a great book.
@1 - Yeah, the whole bit of "I'm not the porn star he wishes I was"... And that she repeated that line a couple times. If he wanted a porn star, why not marry a porn star? Why marry a bookworm instead? I do feel like she's devaluing herself somewhat. But hopefully she will eventually find her very own playmate, and everything will equal out.
@1@4: you can't shake the fact that she seems to feel defective for not being enough or able to meet his needs. I got that, too, but shit. In the sum of things, this definitely sounds like a successful(ish?( monogomish.
Feeling sad for these people strikes me as so condescending, because they are all happy for the most! They don't require anyone's pity. He has some issues, so does she, but they are open about it and are trying to deal with it. That, more than anything else, seems to make a great relationship. It would be awesome if on top of all their bliss, their Libidos were perfectly matched, but they are not, and in the end, this kind of relationship is the one I would like to be in myself because it seems that they could work through anything life throws at them - and that makes me the opposite of sad. jealous, probably.
@3 I actually feel sad for myself as well, since my libido outweighs my huband's and I would love it if he'd agree to open up. But he won't, so I'm feeling a little sad myself.
I don't think the LW is saying she's not physically attractive when she says he wishes she were a porn star -- I think she's saying he wishes she had the (apparent) libido of the phony, gasping, ravenous females featured in m/f porn films, and she doesn't. The mismatched libido is unfortunate, but it does sound as though they've found a very effective arrangement to deal with it, and as long as their marriage isn't harmed who outside of it has any right to interfere? I say, good on them, both.
It is very possible that when the kids get older, her sex drive will re-emerge. Get the youngest part way through elementary school, and I'll bet her libido will have gotten higher. I know mine did. I just wish my husband's did as well. sigh
@6: Well said.

What's striking about this relationship is how incredibly normal it is. The wife is "totally satisfied by my husband and my work and my children" and doesn't have much want or need for sex. The husband, on the other hand, has a high libido and a strong need to feel sexually desirable. I'm guessing this description fits at least 50% of middle-aged heterosexual couples out there, maybe much more.

What's truly sad is that in most of these relationships, the hubby either divorces the wife, cheats on her, or resigns himself to a miserable relationship. I think the millions of folks in this situation would greatly benefit from reading stories like these.
@7: I hear you, babe. Let me know if you want to start a support club.
@1 and 3 I feel bad for Seth Green... That career is kinda over...
This letter ... ugh ...

"... perfectly fulfilled by intellectual pursuits and would rather read a great book than have sex for the most part (but I'll never tell him that)."

Broke my heart for her. What kind of marriage is it when you can't tell your husband this. This awesome woman deserves to have a husband who gives her a weekend off so she can spend it bookworming rather pressuring her constantly into being his "porn star."

-A wife who loves a good book AND watching her husband fuck other women.
Wow, that woman's husband sounds like a real dreamboat! She's one lucky lady!
Like others, I think something here is wrong because of the "can't be the porn star he wants" sentiment, but if it continues to work out, then good for them.

seandr @10 gets it right in his assessment.
Oh for heaven's sake. The letter was a beautiful description of two people making compromises to love one another. Thanks for writing, ABIAT!
He wishes his wife was a sex maniac like himself. She wishes she could be his sex maniac. Compromises were made. When her libido comes back, he'll drop his activities. Simple.
I see this as a perfectly sensible solution to a mismatch in libidos. She does sound as though she sees her side of the spectrum as full of inadequacies, but they have found a middle ground through compromise. He's not a dick by saying that she can't play also, and maybe eventually she will. No need to feel sad for her. This works or she wouldn't have written.

I see my own marriage headed in this direction. We're almost 40, my sex drive has increased while his is fading. We're discussing options, but it's as though neither of us has the balls to take the plunge.
I just can't wait for a married, monogamish officeholder to come out. Preferably one with an acceptable social platform (in other words, not GOP) and preferably hot. In response to a threatened outing or just to get some free media attention, doesn't really matter.

Given the super-alpha/stepford dynamic going on in the public perception of most political marriages, I'm willing to bet that there are more MMOs than there are CPOS in office in this country.
This is achingly sad.

An obviously brilliant neat beautiful woman bravely putting on a happy face (and blaming herself...) for the fact that she has a selfish POS cheating husband.

And he is a POS foremost, and even more than for committing adultery, for hammering into her that she is inadequate because she is not a 'porn star'....

Abusers usually brainwash their victims into blaming themselves.

She is trying hard to convince Slog and herself that it is her idea for him to cheat and that she doesn't really care that he chests and that she even wants to hear about it....

In Danny's Gommorah not only does your spouse cheat, you also have to pretend you like it.
honey, seriously--testosterone cream. it made all the difference for me. you have nothing to lose. ask your gyno asap.
#20-as a woman in a monogamish relationship, you have no idea what you are talking about. It actually takes very high self esteem to be in a monogamish relationship.
#21-don't be so sure about testosterone cream. It causes masculinization in women-beard growth, breast atrophy, and deepening of the voice-that is irreversible if it happens to you. Side effects are rare, but permanent. That's why men on testosterone replacement aren't supposed to have skin-to-skin contact with their wives until the medication is completely absorbed.
The Orgasmic Diet--I'm just saying. :)
I think I'm actually kind of proud of her, even with the inklings of self-doubt she seems to have.
Put me down as another one who thinks this comes off as really sad. There's not one exclamation point in the whole letter, she repeatedly refers to having a high libido as "being a porn star" which comes across as being resentful of her husband's desires (and her inability to fulfill those desires), and the way she keeps repeating "I just want him to be happy" sounds more despairing than anything -- more like "Ugh, I don't know what's wrong with me, I just want him to be happy" than "I love my husband and I want to make sure he's as happy as can be." While the LW and her husband do seem to fit the technical definition of a successful monogamish relationship, which is great, LW doesn't sound like a very happy person. I'm guessing that's why Dan chose this letter, actually -- if all your testimonies are "We tried this and it fixed everything and now our lives are great!" they start to sound a bit fake, so this shows that the people who try it are indeed normal and grounded in reality, and that sometimes it only helps a little bit, just like anything else people try in a marriage.
Those of you say this "makes you feel sad", or condemn the husband, simply hate and/or distrust the male sex drive.

Yes, you do.

Admit it. If the genders were reversed, most of you would have no problem with this letter whatsoever - it's only that it's a man wanting more sex that makes it illegitimate. This couple found something that works for them. What, would it be more appropriate for the husband who finds his wife has no sex drive to sit there feeling miserable and resentful for the rest of his life? Is that what you're looking for?

@ 10: The other 50% are the other way around.
@1,4,5, I don't get that she feels 'defective' or is devaluing herself; I only get that she is sad she can't fulfil her husband's desire. (My wife loves mountains, I don't; sometimes this makes me feel sad, I wished I could share that with her, but I really can't. Does that mean I feel defective or am devaluing myself?)

As for why he married her rather than the porn star of his dreams... well, because there are reasons to be attracted to someone and want to marry her other than sex. Don't get me wrong -- sex is very important. It's just not everything. And if you can work out an agreement that works well enough for both partners -- not optimally well, just well enough -- and they are both OK with it, I say they are among the happy couples. Judging by what I've seen and read, the LW and her husband are way above average in terms of shared happiness.
@27, you apparently missed @26, who feels said for exactly the opposite reason you attribute to all others: s/he thinks the latter is 'sad' because the husband is left unfulfilled.

I don't think it's "hating male libido" as much as thinking that comparing oneself to a porn star is always and necessarily a confession of insecurity or sadness.

I feel sad because so many people here are reading so much into the 'can't be the porn star' line and apparently ignoring so much of the rest of the letter. I can't help thinking that people are projecting all kinds of things into this statement that the LW did not intend. I wish she would jump in and offer a few comments on this here in the comments thread.
@19 he may not be hot, but former Colorado governor Roy Romer did just that, heading off a scandal by speaking honestly when a long-standing mistress came to light in the press:…

"I needed an infusion of spirit and energy, and I found that in Thornberry. It was a professional relationship that grew into a supportive personal one,'' the governor said in an interview.

"I was open with Bea (his wife) about it,'' he said.

Echoing her father's words, Mary Romer Ammons, his oldest daughter and the third of his seven children, told The Post in a separate interview: "I hope people can understand. This has not been a secret. This has been discussed, talked about, worked through, negotiated. My mother has not been deceived.

"These are very traditional people, but I am afraid the public won't understand that.

"I really respect the grace and integrity that these three adults have had. It has allowed our family to stay together and has allowed them to live their lives,'' Ammons said.
This sounds like a similar situation to my marriage.

My wife has been preoccupied with her career and other hobbies,and hasn't had as much interest in sex. Our situation was a source of frequent serious frustration for me, and some intense arguments, until we came to such an agreement ourselves (it was something we had talked out vaguely early on, but never really plunged into.) Since then, I've played around with a few women. She hasn't pursued anything on the side, but she absolutely has the right to (within the rules we both agreed to). Overall, it's not perfect, but things really do seem to be working more smoothly now than they did before - I feel a lot less resentment than I used to, and do what I can to ensure she never feels neglected. She's come around to it over time, as I've made it clear I will never fail to be there for her.

Is it perfect? Maybe not, but it's worked for us, and all the alternatives were far worse. We don't want a divorce, nor will it be healthy if I'm always frustrated and she's always feeling nagged. We love each other too much to let sex get in the way of our relationship.
whoops, meant to remove the "Overall, it's not perfect, but". I sound a little redundant there.
Apparently I'm been late to my own party. I actually just saw that Dan posted my letter, so I guess I'll jump in and address a few things. First, I agree with 6, 8, 10 and 27 (and others). No need for pity here. The whole reason I don't feel threatened by my husband having sex with anyone outside our marriage is because I've got pretty high self-esteem and cannot imagine another person threatening what we have. Definitely don't worry about me. I've got a PhD, I'm attractive, I have a fulfilling job, the most incredible children, and a husband with whom I share a deep intellectual connection. Am I making you sick yet? I'm making myself sick just writing this. I'm normally much more modest but all the pity is forcing me to disclose my good fortune (and my eternal gratefulness for the gifts I've been blessed with). And, yeah, it's a total bummer that our libidos aren't the same. But damn, I wouldn't trade all the rest of it just to fix that, especially considering that when my kids are older maybe my libido will return and I'll appreciate that side of him again (a girl can hope!).

And as for the "porn star" comment (that I repeated over and over!), the fact is that my husband really loves "porn" sex. Not just vanilla sex. But "the phony, gasping, ravenous females featured in m/f porn films" like 8 said. And he's no dummy. He wouldn't want to actually date a porn star, but like most men, he finds some self-esteem in how much he is desired sexually, so the more ravenous a girl can be for him the better. I feel a little sorry for him, in that respect, but not really, because I'm probably not above all that, I just feel above it because I have a husband who tells me how beautiful I am everyday, so I take it for granted (I'll pause while you vomit). But he also just really loves sex because he really loves experiencing all of life's sensations on every level. He's not the kind of guy who spends a lot of time on the couch. And though his libido is off the charts, if it were much less he probably wouldn't be the passionate guy that I love so much.

I just wish more people had a greater sense of self-worth and self-confidence because if we weren't so afraid of losing people all the time, we might actually let people be who they are and figure out situations in which everyone is a little less nagged and frustrated (yep 32). I think enjoying sex for all the varied and visceral sensations it can provide would make having monogamish relationships for everyone a no-brainer. I just want to raise my children to be the kinds of people who may not need a monogamish relationship, but certainly aren't threatened by it either.
@4 @8 @15 I got a different feeling about the porn star line, but perhaps it's because I've heard the sentiment before. Rather than expressing a sense of inadequacy, I've heard it used to present someone else's desires as being unrealistic. They're not looking for a real person, they're looking for a caricature of one, much like the manic pixie dream girl trope. It could very well be a defense mechanism (it's not me, it's him) or a form of resentment (it's not me, it's him). She says he wants to do it all the time, while she's GGG and down with a few times a month. What exactly is all the time? [cue Annie Hall clip]

I could be wrong (and hope I am); reading between the lines is a dodgy activity.
Uh oh. I just equated being a porn star with being a dummy. Let me apologize before I'm called out for it (and why is there no edit function for these posts?). I'm not a fan of generalizing like that. Though I guess being someone who went in a different direction in life I have made certain assumptions about the motivations that persuade some women to take up porn work that I probably shouldn't have (I do have Jenna Jameson's biography sitting on my night stand). Make no mistake, I am a fan of porn so I am a fan of porn stars!

And #35, I think you're spot on.
@29 love the mountain story. That's it exactly.
I'm in a similar situation as the LW and I've been trying to figure out a way to propose monogamishness as a solution. I had it in my head that once we could work out the ground rules, it would fix everything. I'm glad she said at the end that it hasn't fixed it all, but it has helped.
It's great when the letter writers chime in to expand, clarify, or respond. Thanks for your story, rhetphd.
OK, this, this is monogamish. This is what I understood it to be when the concept was first aired. This, exactly.

The other letter - day #2 - no. Somewhat ethical cheating, maybe, but not monogamish.

This is monogamish. I don't feel sorry for the LW at all. She sounds like a grownup. Way to be, rhetphd.
Hey, rhetphd, thanks for your candidness. I think that you're doing a great service for everyone.

That said, could you elaborate upon how your libido nosedived over the years (or, how you think it dropped off)? It sounds like obtaining your PhD, working on your career and then having kids killed it...all very reasonable and similar to what we often hear, but still very vague characterizations and hard for many of us to digest. [Or, am I the only person who would like to better understand how a spouse's libido dies off over time?]

Your candidness and experiences are very valuable to the rest of us, and we appreciate your efforts to open up.
@34-37(rhetphd; is this Ph.D. in Rhetorics?), thanks for giving your input! I'm glad to see that, as I expected, the "porn star" line didn't imply any lack of self-esteem on your part. Too many people (I think prompted by popular attitude towards men & porn stars) jumped to the conclusion that you felt insufficient and unhappy; I'm glad this is not the case.

You sound like a strong person who is in a good place and perfectly capable of handling it. I wished more people would be like that.

To me, it has always seemed that differences in sexual libido are like all other differences that exist between people in committed relationships: things that can be negotitated. I mentioned the mountain example with my wife: she loves mountains, I don't, so when she wants to go mountain-climbing she goes on her own, or with friends. I've tried it more than once, and sadly came to the conclusion that it's not something for me. Sometimes I feel sad about it; but it seems that that's the way it is. Maybe things will change in the future.

Likewise there are things I very much enjoy and that my wife doesn't. I'm very much into foreign languages, for instance. My wife is, a little (she speaks three languages), but by far not as much as I am. So if sometimes I come in with a new flame -- 'Sweetie, I've started learning Sanskrit! It's wonderful! Would you like to learn it with me?' she only rolls her eyes and nicely suggests this is not for her. I'm so happy studying a language that she also sometimes feels sad she can't share that with me.

But ultimately these things don't matter much, because the connection between us -- the things we do share (which, in our case, does include libidos that match pretty well: both of us like sex very much, and we love to explore each other's special interests...) -- are strong enough that we can live with the fact that there are some very strong interests we simply cannot share.

Sex is treated differently in our culture, but it ultimately is the same thing: an interest that can be negotiated if those involved are willing to, if the connection between them is strong enough. I'm glad you've found a good place for yourself, and also for your husband (who, despite not having his porn-star-wife, is, from your description, very much in love with you and happy to be where he is). Let's hope more people will be able to be in a situation that works for them the way yours works for you!
@rhetphd--here's hoping you are openminded. Seriously try picking up my book, The Orgasmic Diet. It has a good chance of triggering the biological ability to having porn star, ravenous sex. Trust me, this is not always a good or desirable state of mind, but in your case it would be an excellent fit. I'm not trying to pimp my book here, you can get it used very cheap (sob), but it is worth a try. It especially works well with moms whose libido has taken a hit. It balances hormones and raises dopamine.
Another relationship stressed and strained by the unrealistic expectations that porn puts in men.....

Well darling, we hope for the sake of your children that your brilliance, beauty, modesty and complacency are enough to keep your husband engaged with you and your family.

You are, however, playing a dangerous game;
one that usually works well right up to the moment that it doesn't,
one that usually doesn't end well,
one that usually hurts the children terribly.

Sexual desire is a consuming powerful force in human relationships; folks who are clever enough to contain it within their marriages will find it a powerful glue that makes an already strong connection even stronger, more intimate, more secure.
Folks who spend that force outside the marriage inevitably find that powerful force pulling the spouses apart.

If your husband develops an emotional attatchment with one of his porn star fuck buddies it is possible that your brilliance will hold him in the family orbit but the smart money will be on the porn star winning out over the Phd.

Good luck.
(just to hedge your bet, however, you may want to have your tubes tied....)
@rhetphd -- thanks so much for joining us in the comment section -- huge fan of when that happens!

Obviously with two young kids, work, etc, you are extremely busy, but I was wondering if you work out... I've found that working out on a regular basis does wonders for my sex drive and orgasms. If that's something you haven't tried and this is important to you, maybe there's a nice gym with child care near you...
Good luck!
RhetPhD - as a fellow PhD and full-time working mother, I completely get how sex drive can seem lower on the priority scale... but I also know there are ebbs and flows. I was in an ebb for a long time but now am in a flow... I completely respect and support the decisions you've made in your marriage (being quite monogamish myself, though for different reasons), and you are blessed to find fulfilment in so many ways. May you continue to be blessed.
@28: Right?

@10: I'm not sure how "incredibly normal" it is for women to be "totally satisfied." This whole idea that many men seem to have that marriage makes women happy while it makes men miserable is looney tunes. Marriage has the capacity to make everyone miserable, and you men need to stop thinking we like you more than we actually do!
@34: Your husband married well. Good luck to you both and thanks for telling your story.

@48: you men need to stop thinking we like you more than we actually do

Oh, believe me, I have no illusions about the value of a husband in a modern woman's life.
@48: Hmm, change "we" to "I" there so your not projecting your own views onto all women everywhere. You make a good point about the (possibly) unfair normalizing in that comment, but that doesn't mean it isn't the case for some or even many women.
@rhetphd Thanks for followup! The tone of your first letter was ... almost manically self-negating, especially compared to previous letters. So my reaction (there were enough other sad faces that at least I know I'm not crazy) should not have been a surprise to any of you.

I'm glad your life is full of rainbows and unicorn meat (potentially.) I hope your drive kicks in like crazy but if it doesn't well there are lots of great books, and obviously you'll be fine no matter what.
@41: here’s the story of my libido. It’s actually a pretty typical one I think, which leaves no easy answers on how to rev it back up again.

I’ve always been the type of girl who loved the power that sex had to attract. So I had a lot of fun in college and graduate school. And when I first started dating my husband, I was more fired up than he was because I felt pretty early on that he was the one. I mean, he was different from everyone else I had dated and I was enamored with his life experience, wisdom, wit, etc. And he was hot.

But it was quickly apparent that my libido didn’t hold a candle to his, and this became more apparent when we went through a few rough patches in the first year or so and in place of the emotional connection I was looking for, he just wanted to have sex all the time. I remember doubting whether he actually liked me, or just wanted to date me so that he would have someone to have sex with.

But the attraction we shared on every other level just overpowered the imbalance in our sexual lives. So from before we were married until we got pregnant, it was a struggle keeping up. But he was always very clear: he was a guy who loved sex and wanted it all the time and if I could give him that he would give me anything else I wanted (cleaning, cooking, etc.). I get that on a biological level so I was okay with trying to make it work.

Then we got pregnant and my second trimester was crazy. I was fired up like I hadn’t been in years. I was the dirty porn star he always wanted and I couldn’t have been happier. This is why I know that some of the issue is chemical. But I’ve been to doctors and none of them have been able to help. There’s just no easy fix.

Then came motherhood and breastfeeding, and I couldn’t have cared less about sex. Which makes sense, of course, because my body was just making sure that I was devoted enough to my baby to take good care of him. Motherhood is weird though, because the maternal energy I felt toward my son was overwhelming. It was as powerful as any sexual energy I had ever felt. I was in awe of evolution at that point because my body knew where my attention needed to be directed and it was not toward my husband. When I quit breastfeeding after 11 months I thought my libido would return, but actually my libido had completely died. Now it wasn’t a problem with me not wanting it as much as my husband; It was a problem with me being repelled by the very thought of it. This actually ended up being the result of the IUD I had put in while I was breastfeeding. My OB explained that because the hormones are isolated to the uterine area it can cause dryness down there and really dampen some women’s libidos. I had it taken out and things improved, but we wanted to get pregnant again so then things changed again.

As with my first pregnancy, my libido went through the roof in my second trimester. It was simply the greatest. Then baby #2 came along and it was back to breastfeeding and job and everything else, and I just didn’t feel like making sex a priority. My husband got a vasectomy, which meant I didn’t have to go on birth control and deal with the IUD nightmare from before (and please let me clarify at this point that I know MANY people on IUDs with perfectly normal libidos, so it was just the particular way I reacted to it).

But now, a few years later, I feel like I can chalk up my drop to a number of things. First, when I make a list about what’s most important in my life, sex just isn’t near the top. My husband IS, however, so I have to put sex up there with him. The other thing is that I became much more successful and fulfilled by my academic career so I don’t feel much of a draw toward anything outside of that, my-husband-as-my-best-friend, and my children. But that’s really not fair to my husband, and thus we arrive at our monogamish status. I am hoping that once the kids get older and I don’t feel such a magnetic draw to them, I will come around with a little more enthusiasm in bed. I know it’s happened to others so I’m holding out hope. I’ve been to doctors and there’s really nothing they can do. They recommended lifestyle changes rather than anything chemical.

I will say that I do need to exercise more. This is where having a great metabolism hasn’t done me any favors because, after being very athletic in high school, I haven’t developed good exercise habits because I haven’t really needed to to maintain a good weight. Now I want to exercise so that I can get myself healthy and toned. I’m sure that it will only benefit my libido. It’s just finding the time at this point.

In terms of starting the monogamish conversation, that wasn’t hard for us. In fact, I wish we had someone local who my husband could go to more regularly, but he’s not really interested in working that hard at finding someone because otherwise because we’re busy and we’re pretty happy. The sick irony, of course, is that if he weren’t so devoted to me and our children I may feel less secure about things and may feel like having sex more (from a biological perspective) to make sure I am able to keep him around. I know he’s not going anywhere, so my body hasn’t felt the need to kick into power mode to make sure the attraction is maintained.

But again, if these are my complaints, then I have no complaints.
"Then we got pregnant and my second trimester was crazy. I was fired up like I hadn’t been in years. I was the dirty porn star he always wanted and I couldn’t have been happier."

Testing a hypothesis: was it a boy, by any chance?

Reading your next paragraph, it was. It's about testosterone. Male fetus - the testosterone in the fetus spills over into the mother's system. You could get the sex drive of a porn star by taking "enough" testosterone. But your secondary sexual features would start to change: it would mess with your system over the long run. There's a word for people with enough testosterone to want to act like porn stars - "men".
@53: your comment made me laugh. My wife was pregnant 3 times with our 4 kids. We have 3 daughters. "Pregnancy Sex" was amazing all three times (though much more challenging as she got huge with our twins). In fact, it was better during the girl pregnancies than with the boy pregnancy. Maybe my wife's the exception or maybe your theory is like an old wives' tale.
Thanks 43, I'll check it out.

And 45, if my husband decides to leave me for someone else then apparently I don't know him very well. But in any event I'll be just fine. I love my husband more than anything in the world, but I'm a complete human being and if something or someone were to take him out of my life, that would devastate me for a while, but I'd get over it. I'd feel more concerned about my children actually. That would be terrible for them, but his concern for them is equal to mine. And actually, his FB in Boston is hot and smart (she has a PhD as well), and I thought I'd be threatened by that at least, but I'm not. So you shouldn't be either.

51, I genuinely do wish I had a higher libido, for my husbands sake, because I love him. If he weren't around, I wouldn't care one bit about my libido. But he also recognizes how off the charts he is, so he's learned not to take it so personally when I don't want to jump him every time I see him. But it'll always be a struggle, as any mismatch in this area might be, and it bums my out sometimes because I don't feel like having to deal with it. Mostly I wish there was a female Viagra that I could pop when I wanted to. Because I think if I had my husband's sex drive we wouldn't be very good parents because we'd be fucking all the time, but it would be nice if I could figure out a way to really get in the mood when I want to and do everything else when I don't. I'm working on that. I don't think my libido's gone forever, but I do think it enjoys good hibernations. I just need to work on being in the sexual moment better and really valuing sex for what it can bring to my life and my marriage. I've taken it for granted somewhat and that's something I'd like to work on.
So true, 53: "There's a word for people with enough testosterone to want to act like porn stars - "men"."

But I think 54's right about the old wives tale. I have a boy and a girl and both pregnancies were hot.
@52: Did you ever go through a phase of attributing your low sex drive to your husband's shortcomings?
@57: Sometimes we'll argue over something and he'll want to have sex as if nothing happened, and then get mad because I don't want to. In those situations I just can't believe that he doesn't get how my being angry or annoyed with him directly correlates with my not wanting to have sex with him. And yet, it's not that simple. Because when I'm most in love with him, I just can't seem to get my libido to reflect that. I mean, there have been times when I can't get over how fantastic a guy he is, and how much he deserves every slutty move I can make, but that doesn't translate into my wanting to have sex with him more, and that's the unfortunate part. I really wish it would. If my sex drive reflected how much I love my husband, we'd be having sex all the time. That's why it just doesn't seem fair. But certainly when he's being an ass I don't feel like having sex with him. On the other hand, regardless of what I'm being he'll always want to have sex with me. I've always chalked that up to a difference between men and women.
@58: your last comments really strike a chord and is consistent with conversations I have had with friends (men and women type) - and I cannot stand generalizing based on gender. I guess I can say anecdotally consistent with my own small sample size. I can have sex with my wife no matter how angry, tired or stressed I am (basically the only time I can't is if I am sick and then it is still pretty much on if given the chance). If we have an argument or something stressful happens with our kids or our parents, I know we are not getting down THAT night. And as frustrated as this makes me, I know it also frustrates her that I will act as though nothing earlier in the day or evening has mattered. And I am not sure that I am a high-libido person (higher than my wife, yes). It is just that I love sex with her.

I think people are missing a major point about mis-matched libidos. The person with the lower libido may care very deeply about her/his partner and may, as you have done, state in the abstract that they WISH they had a greater interest in sex with their loving partners. But not being into it is not being into it. Like the mountain example, I think of food - I cannot stand lamb and will never order or eat in on my own. But I will force myself to eat it occasionally because a friend or my MIL has served it to me. Every night? Even once per week? Once per month? Once per quarter? Maybe I could tolerate the latter two. And I love my friends. And I love my wife's mother. Don't get me wrong - I get really pissed at my wife at times but, as I write this in the abstract, I am sympathetic (and I wish it were different FOR US, not just for me). To torture the analogy further, there are time when she eats the lamb but her heart is not in it. And while I am glad she has eaten my culinary creation, I don't get much joy out of the fact that she did not enjoy it that much or at all.

At some point, we all have our breaking points but instead of leaving, there are so many other options and alternatives - just as rhetphd has written. On balance, I'd venture that she'd always prefer the perfect match between them (thus has mentioned hoping that her libido will return when her kids are a bit older). In that end, I hope for the same thing while being on the other side of the equation (though w/o opening the marriage).
@53 and 54: of my three pregnancies, the best pregnancy libido was with my third, a girl. I am on the high libido end of the spectrum as a baseline.

@rhetphd: I'm a professional woman as well, and I found that there are more societal expectations on me as a mother than I had anticipated. I was surprised and disappointed at how much I had internalized these expectations. We have an egalitarian marriage and I have a fully contributing and sexually satisfied husband (per his report). But there was a slump when I hadn't reconciled my professional needs with my family needs. I had to redefine both realms which was difficult, but ultimately each member of our family is better for it. I work hard to avoid my own resentment about what society tells me a mother should be like. I am not a particularly nurturing person, but my children know I adore them unconditionally and that I will always support them, and they volunteer this knowledge to me without prompting.

I am definitely not telling you to redefine your work and home lives (you did that with monogamish), but when I balanced my competing lives better, everything fell into place.
@58, @59, I'm a man, pretty high sex drive, and yet, curiously, I pattern more like rhetphd (@58) than like South (@59). I can very well understand the idea that, if I am for some reason angry at my wife, this will affect my desire to have sex with her at that moment (in fact, I've been in the situation of actually refusing her sex only because of some little fight). It does help that she also has a pretty high libido (which did not disappear at all after the birth of our daughter; if anything, she seemed to want sex more than before, as some sort of 'good place' she could go to to relax from the pressure of being a mom and also having an academic career). If her libido were like rhetphd's, I might also be like rhetphd's husband. But since it isn't, our relationship feels much more like an alliance between equals at the sexual level.

@59, it is true that low-libido partners aren't always (or even majoritarily) bad manipulators. No--as rhetphd clearly exemplifies, it's possible to be the low-libido one and still care passionately about one's partner, including his/her sexual happiness. It's just that, because our society has this still very ambiguous attitude towards sex (it's good, but it's bad, it's wonderful, but it's shameful, it's part of love, but it's dirty and animal, etc.), it's easier for people with low libidos to internalize this attitude and end up simply wanting to avoid the issue (because sex is 'an uncomfortable issue' still to so many people in our society). Shame, religious principles, traditionalism, old (and new) stereotypes: all those things tend to influence low-libido people towards finding some rationalization that justifies them in not paying attention to the needs of their high-libido partners. But of course this is only a tendency, not a law: low-libido people run a higher risk of building justifications, rationalizations, or even neuroses in order to ignore their partner's sex drive than high-libido people, but thank god high risk doesn't mean certainty.
@58 rhetphd,

Our work week sex times have gone to mornings, and that means more often than not one or the other just isn't awake enough. Our compromise has been to substitute a half hour or so of nude cuddling (stroking, murmuring about the day ahead, etc.) to enjoy being together. I have to admit that sometimes talking about scheduling during sex is a pretty effective boner killer, so even on days we initiate, the intrusion of the outside world is a problem (and cuddling is the best option). My point being sex doesn't begin or end at PIV.

In comparison to my wife, I have the higher sex drive, but what she has is very, very dependent upon how well the intrusion of the rest of our world can be kept... somewhere else. Creating special times separate for sex (kids at school or away, no appt.s or impending deadlines, noise and mess encouraged) REALLY helps.

Thanks for writing in.

Reading quickly because I'm traveling, but I wanted to say that often a woman's sex drive kicks back in when the kids are more independent, around the later years of elementary school. Also - morning sex is great! And if people have kids and don't have a lock on their door, get one! It won't kill your kid to hear you moaning in pleasure, it really won't! (Lessons I've learned...)
*sigh* Fish oil. Fish oil, fish oil, fish oil. Just give it six weeks; what do you have to lose?

Seriously. Key to women's libido is omega-3 fatty acids. Other things can interfere, but that's the main thing.

And love too, I'll give you that, but the love is there in this case. From a biochemical point of view--omega-3 fatty acids!
Oh well, so much for that theory. It was nice while it lasted.

FWIW, I'm a guy, but if I were angry at my partner sex would be off until things are repaired. Don't know how typical that is. On the other hand, I would see an offer of sex as a conciliatory gesture.
@51 - I concur. The tone of the letter, and then the tone of her subsequent posts are completely different. I don't feel bad for rhetphd at all, I feel for ABIAT... rhetphd, keep on keepin' on... :)
I have a question for rhetphd (and maybe for EricaP and any other women in open or monogamish situations). You mention that one of your rules is that your husband uses condoms with his outside partner(s). How do you deal with the potential risk of STIs that condoms are not very effective at preventing (HPV and herpes)? Have you obtained the HPV vaccine even though you are over the usual age at which it is provided? Has your husband and/or his partner been tested for HSV (herpes) antibodies? Is your Gyn aware that you are not in a monogamous relationship so that you can have more frequent pap smears/HPV testing than would normally be offered to a married woman your age? Thanks in advance.
These letters and threads are really bringing out my separatist streak. Very illuminating - and not always in a good way. Pity, as there's lots of interest to discuss, only I sense Julius King lurking near the surface in a way Dame Iris Murdoch might not have intended.

Anyway, I thank Dr Rhet for clarifying, and urge her to comment more often, though the dispensation from LMB applies only to the Monogamish series, which is, after all, designed for such claims of perfection as we have been seeing this week. In an unusual way, Dr Rhet reminds me of Ms Erica - does anyone else see a similarity? If nobody else does, it would be better if I don't elaborate.
@67 I don't know Dr. Rhet's answers, but I just wrote up mine in the weekly SL column. Bottom line is: yes, our doctor knows, yes, we get lots of testing, and, yes, we accept that we may get an STI. We don't want more children and in the end we're going to die either way, so...
@68 LOL
@67: I got the HPV vaccine at age 46. My insurance wouldn't pay for it because the AMA wasn't recommending it for women over the age of 23 at the time, but I thought it was too important. It was pricey--$200 per shot, three shots. But I've watched two friends die of cervical cancer, and there was no way I wasn't going to avail myself of a vaccine if it was available. There is no research that shows that a woman over 26 shouldn't be vaccinated. The thought from the insurance companies is that by that age, there is a significantly higher risk that you've been exposed anyway, so why should they spend the money. But no doctor should refuse you the vaccine.
@58: Yeah, all but one of the women I've been with would never have sex when angry.

The one exception was a girlfriend in college. We could go from yelling to fucking in a matter of seconds, and holy shit the sex was crazy intense and hot! Thanks to her, I still sometimes get an erection when I'm fighting with my wife.
the difference between monogamishit and open/poly is that the monogamishitas don't want to admit that they are sluts.....
I only wish they offered at the gym I go to, Dan Savage, that instead of heavy bags in the mma training area, they'd just string up faggots like you for us normal men to take our our rage upon.
It's just a primative thing, to eliminate the defective among your species, so no offense, okay?
I don't know if you're still reading, ABIAT, but I'd also tell you to give yourself a break because you have small children. In my anecdotal experience, most women's libidos go down significantly while their children are small. You're what, 36? Kids are 6 and 3? Yeah, just wait a couple of years; it might get nearly back up to where it was in your 20s. :)

Also, I second the fish oil.
@58: If you care so much about him, why can't you have sex with him more even when you don't feel like it? I really don't understand this. I don't mean this to sound harsh and I know it will come out that way. You say that knowing how fantastic he is and how much he deserves it isn't reflected in your sex drive; why can't it be reflected in your behavior anyway?

"If he weren’t so devoted to me and our children I may feel less secure about things and may feel like having sex more (from a biological perspective) to make sure I am able to keep him around"

This makes me a little upset to read or think about, but there's probably something to it. I've often thought that mismatched libido marriages would work better if the high-libido partner didn't treat the low-libido partner as well. Why let yourself be taken advantage of by giving your all when your partner isn't?
All of the 'this makes me sad' reactions remind me of several conversations I've had with people in happy second marriages. The gist was: I love my partner, we're very happy, I'd never give him up, but I never thought I'd be married to someone who didn't share my love for _____. There's frequently something. It's okay.

This does sound a sound, loving arrangement for a period in their lives when the divergence in level of desire is uncomfortably wide. I'm glad it works so well for them, and I'll bet she'll be more interested in sex again one day

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