Columns Apr 13, 2011 at 4:00 am

I Want My MTV


I may just re-up for cable just to watch you, Dan!
Catholicism has actually long sanctioned oral within the confines of a solemnized marriage so long as it is not intended as a substitute for the reproductive act.

IOW, you can jizz in her mouth, you just can't *always* jizz in her mouth as that is no longer part of a ordered sex life. I figured you'd be supportive of such an arrangement...
"Old fag" in Rome! I love it!
He tried to initiate sex 1 week after his wife gave birth? REALLY? 4-6 weeks is what Google's top hits say.

He calls himself a "perfect husband" but doesn't explain what that means. To some men, it would require being an equal partner in housework & child rearing, but to other guys, that can just mean not cheating and openly checking out other chicks. Not enough info to know whether or not PATH's real problem is needing to step up his game at home before recommending possible "accommodations" or if he really does deserve a "get out of celibacy free" card.

Dan, I usually think you're spot on, but this week you let your (deserved) diatribe water down your advice.
No, he didn't say that. He doesn't specify how long after the birth of their last child he waited, he states that after he decided to stop initiating sex, he waited a full week-and nothing happened.
Now, might a woman still frazzled over the birth of her last child maybe feel weird about her husband suddenly ending any attempt to connect with her sexually? And completely stopped initiating? Might that strange "ooh I'll withhold sex and then you'll want it and then you'll initiate and it'll be so sexy because all of a sudden your sex drive will be off the charts" attempt be less intelligent than waiting a few weeks, easing her into sexual activity again with first kissing, making her feel sexy, etc., then initiating sex? Maybe. All I know that if you wait two years where you are angry and depressed over not having sex and don't attempt to talk about it, perhaps your marriage is not otherwise as perfect as you thought it was.
PATH should give more thought to what kind of sex his wife might like. His letter is weird, with this "perfect husband" crap mixed in with no communication until he "lost it and confronted her." And he thought that would fix everything. I feel as if he never paid any attention to what his wife actually enjoyed in bed. He doesn't say: "she always used to love extended oral / giving me blow jobs / having a finger in her ass / talking dirty." In fact, he sounds pretty convinced that she never liked sex, and just tolerated it. Does she masturbate? Would he know? What does she think about sex, or their marriage? Maybe he should start trying to find out...
Dan, I love you, and I'm sure someone else has pointed this out to you, but this is not MTV's first foray into non-music-video programming. Cf. numerous Real World seasons, 16 and Pregnant, Daria, and Jersey Shore, among others. Unless you were being facetious and I'm actually very dumb and consequently a little embarrassed.
After I had a child, my libido took a back seat to complete exhaustion. My then-husband would complain, "We never have sex because she's always bathing the kid, or feeding the kid, or changing a diaper, or putting the kid to bed". The solution was right there in front of him. If he would help out with some of this bathing, feeding, changing and putting to bed, in other words do some parenting, then I wouldn't have been so exhausted and would have been receptive to his advances. I missed sex too! But working a full time job and doing all the parenting while he watched TV I simply had no energy left for it.
This is far from an otherwise perfect marriage. The lw is resentful and depressed, frustrated and short-tempered. He's been rejected sexually and emotionally for over two years.
His wife may well feel resentful, too. She may feel unattractive (and her husband's not making any sexual advances might reinforce that feeling), or feel too over-worked to feel sexy. Her opinion as to the lw's level of "perfection" husband-wise, might not be the same as his assessment.

He says he "finally lost it and confronted" his wife--and then was surprised that she didn't bring the subject up again. If this was the way he initiated what is clearly a charged and complex situation, I'm not surprised at all that she didn't want to bring up an opportunity to be "confronted" by someone who has "lost it" again.

They need help. They need honesty. The wife is not being honest. I suspect that she is deeply unhappy, and only too relieved that he has stopped initiating sex, as sex had become a tiresome obligation she resented having to perform. I speak only from my experience and that of many of my married female friends, so I may be projecting, but I doubt she would characterize her husband as perfect.
After I had a baby, my libido took a back seat to utter exhaustion. My ex would complain, "We never have sex because she's always feeding the baby, or bathing the baby, or changing a diaper, or putting the baby to bed." Well I was always doing those things because he never did those things, and those things had to be done. If he'd been willing to share some parenting, I wouldn't have been so exhausted and would have loved to fool around. I missed sex too! I was simply exhausted at the end of the day.
@7: I thought the same thing. Perhaps we're both missing his joke.
@9 - excellent analysis, and probably fairly common for new moms. Question - is the loss of desire a loss of desire to have sex in general or just sex with the husband? For the letter writer, I am not sure which is a worse reality.

For (most) men, sex is a need that doesn't go away. Without a release, it builds up tension.
Here's a scenario: let's say the wife was going through a phase where she didn't want to have sex for whatever reason (exhaustion may be one, as cited by other commenters). And let's also say she's internalized the bullshit idea that it's the man's job to initiate sex. So even if she suddenly got her libido back, she's not going to indicate it because that's not what the woman does. Plus, she may think her husband doesn't want it anymore because he goes for two years without bringing it up, and SHE doesn't want to pressure HIM either. Then: boom!

Sounds sexy.
@8 that's a carrot in front of the nose, but after a year and a half of having new expectations for sex laid out after completing all the old expectations (in my own case), i realize that this is just a stall tactic used by wives to turn the table, and make us feel like we're the problem. Maybe not in all cases or even half the cases, but I bet a lot of them.

Either they want it (with you) or they don't. In this case, she just doesn't find him sexually attractive. I'm in the same boat, but hey don't sweat it. There is always hot yoga - just joking.

To all the other men out there complaining like myself and this dude, we just need to shut up. I don't think its going to change... especially after a year. If you can't take the drought you should get out or cheat -- imho -- it beats being resentful and mad about something you can't change.

@9 yeah, I agree, no matter what this guy does, she's not digging it and probably feels resentful as well.
@ 8 - I'm glad he was described as your "then husband." You really have to wonder about the logic of some of these guys who have children and then act like they aren't actually one of the parents. You'd think that a man would say, "hmmm, my wife carried this child for 9 months so let me help out a bit." It's selfish, selfish, selfish. It is also typical of the "average" man who these other men who want to moan about not having parental rights after break ups should be talking to instead of whining to women who were fed up with having to do all the work to begin with and then badgered for sex. Guys, it is offensive to watch your partner sit on his rear whilst you do all the work in raising children only to have that same guy whine, moan and complain about lack of attention.
You want more sex and your wife gave birth to YOUR child then get off your ass and help out. Geesh. How hard can it be? It is astonishing the amount of entitlement some men feel they deserve. Why? What have they done to deserve it? Nothing.
If you're too lazy to help out then you certainly wouldn't have the energy to have sex now, would you? If you're too full of shit to help out then go and run a marathon and do some weight lifting and write a few essays and read a text book of some sort whilst your partner is looking after the child and then you'll be just as exhausted and drained. THEN, come back and see how much sex you want.
No, I will not be back to engage in tedious "debates." If my words have hit a nerve then you are EXACTLY the sort of person who needs to hear them the most. Don't argue, just "do."
Yep, I'd say you were projecting a lot. Very little of what you criticize the lw for was actually in his letter. How would her husband's lack of advances make her feel unattractive when it was her total rejection of those advances that made him stop? And he stopped because he thought to be a "perfect husband" meant supporting his wife in every decision she makes. I wouldn't define that as being the "perfect husband," but I'm sure a lot of women would.
She didn't "bring it up" because you were silently nagging her. Oh, yes. Anyone who is aware of their surroundings is able to feel pressure from others. I'll bet you could have cut the tension with a knife in your home. In other words, you didn't actually do anything to alleviate any problems. You just expected everything to change just because you weren't talking about it. It don't work like that, honey. YOU have to change your thoughts before others change. You can best believe that your wife had it in the front of her mind that you were just waiting to nag her again for sex. There is nothing more repulsive than a man who does nothing but nag, nag, nag. If you want more sex then YOU have to become sexy and a man that SHE wants. You've also had a kid, for crying out loud. Are you doing all you can to make life comfortable. It doesn't sound like this guy was ready to have a child or maybe even be married at all.
@13 what's so sexy about two folks who want to have sex but don't because they don't want to pressure one another? I think that just sucks personally. If you reject your lover enough, they will just give up -- bottom line.
@7: Thank you for pointing that out. Dan gets so confused sometimes.
@17 -- thought you weren't coming back
@14/18 - okay, you are facing the same kind of drought that PATH is, so tell us what your wife used to love in bed. What kinds of things used to turn her on? What was sex like with her, before the drought? Does she still masturbate? Are the two of you physically affectionate in other ways (hugs, massages, kisses, handjobs)?

(Also, note that sahara29 was being sarcastic when she wrote "sounds sexy" @13)
If a guy goes for two years without making advances, and without bringing up the problem, and then 'loses it' in a confrontation, then he is at least partially to blame here. We don't know what share of the housework & childcare he does or does not do. We don't know if she also has a paying job outside the home. We DO know that both of them are pretty crappy at communicating about sex.

Have you tried all the standard stuff? Non-sexual, affectionate touching (holding hands, footrubs), talking about something besides the kids, going out for a date? Try reading to her...novels, poetry, short erotica, whatever. My girlfriend and I are working our way through the Chronicles of Narnia. Classic YA fantasy such as these is really a fun thing to do together--The Phantom Tollbooth, Kipling's Just So Stories or The Jungle Book.

Point is, Dude's gotta take some more responsibility for this one. Talk to your wife in a low-key but serious way about the problem. Be prepared to hear some negative things. Try not to get defensive, and try to work toward a better understanding and a better solution. Good luck.
@21 -- A.) parties, dressing up, vacations, presents, wine etc...
-- B.) head, kissing, caressing, and finally sex if everything goes right.

with a kid, A.) isn't as easy and B.) well its off the table without A. When we get around to A -- we find ourselves rushing home for our kid rather than B. So, its more of an 'environment' thing. However, the thing is, it still feels like rejection even if its a rejection of the environment of our kiddie land home.

@23, maybe you don't care to be grilled about your own sex life, so just ignore if you're not interested in hashing it out.

However, are you and your wife financially able to hire an overnight sitter (maybe a local family member?) and get a hotel room? That could get spendy, but it might be worth it to you. Have you and your wife had an open, honest discussion about sex, and she said, "No, I am not interested in sex even if we dressed up, went out to dinner, and then had a hot shower in a hotel room"? If she's flat-out said she's not interested, no matter what you do or how great you are, then something is wrong wrong wrong. If so, ask if she's open to looking into getting a physical--maybe there's something up with her hormones that can be treated.

But that open honest discussion needs to happen first. Not trying to paint you as any kind of bad guy; as a victim of LBD, I feel for you.
We got PATH's take on what's going on but not Mrs. PATH's. I'll take him at face value and assume that they are not communicating on this issue. Wouldn't that be a start? The one attempt he descibed was understandably unproductive. They do have professionals to facilitate these things, you know.
The wife no longer qualifies as a 'new mom'--it's been 2+ years since the last child was born. Another consideration is what type of birth control the missus is using. Obviously none is needed when there's no sex, but the pill and other types of hormonal birth control do a number on a woman's libido.
Yeah, so a woman's libido is based a lot on how they feel about their spouse and their relationship. Like, if you're being a passive-aggressive asshole who has the nerve to *experiment* with your relationship (gosh, how long CAN a woman go without sex?) and is simultaneously very poor at communication and maybe a little stubborn, then you will get the results you were expecting, I'm afraid. Women are very sensitive to context and emotional intimacy. The feelings of resentment and inaction emanating from you like lethal radiation?: THAT is what killed her libido.

@20 I read that part as a pretend dialog within their relationship.
LOL. Or yeah, maybe it's the Pill. That sucker KILLS female libido. And it sneaks up on you and wrecks your libido before you know what's happening.
#14 I would guess it is absolutely a stall tactic used by wives who are mad at the husband and delight in torturing him through the process of titillation and denial.

I mean seriously, he waits a YEAR and "nothing happens" and STILL he doesn't want to "pressure her." Sounds like they are living separate lives of desperation. If this frigid wife wants to live like that then she should join the asexual threads.

He should find a WOMAN to share his life with rather than a sister.

I am sorry for all the women who feel they are put upon by having to carry the baby, breast feed and all that crap but denying sex like this is inhumane and cruel. Give me a fucking break- 10 minutes twice a week is to much trouble to satisfy your husband? Well then how about you try failing to satisfy your EX-husband.

This story has nothing to do with "exhaustion" and "changing the baby" and all those other excuses you women are bringing up and which are not even mentioned in this guys letter. Projection anyone (yes I know- me too but in the opposite direction).

It has everything to do with one simple fact- Your wife doesn't want to fuck you any more. She wants to prance around and show her feminine power by torturing you and make you pay for whatever real or imagined affront she believes you did or did not do. The really fun part is she will NEVER tell you what it is. She will tell her girlfriends, her hairdresser, and her mom but she sure as hell won't tell you.

Go to and live a little. Life is short, have an affair. Want to bet that little Ms. frozen pussy will suddenly discover that she really cares about sex after all and can't believe her husband would "betray" her like that when he comes in stinking of tramp juice at 4:00 a.m.

Alternatively, you COULD lay it on the table. Not in a confrontational way as you describe but just very, very calmly explain the consequences of continued sexual denial. Don't make it a threat. Don't make it a big deal even. Just calmly explain how you have been chatting rather explicitly with a nice young lady online and how you have agreed to meet for a date and how it might turn into a sexual encounter. Gee, I was really hoping WE could go out on a date some time, ya know?
Until my boys were of school age, I was exhausted. My husband just seemed like another little baby that wanted to sick at my tit.

Surprise, our boys got older, my husband started to do more around the house, and my boys were no longer so dependent. Welcome back libido!
@14/18 - Let me just answer these for what I believe to be about 90% of the potential respondents. I could be wrong and am sure I will here about it.

"okay, you are facing the same kind of drought that PATH is, so tell us what your wife used to love in bed. What kinds of things used to turn her on? What was sex like with her, before the drought?"

Answer: Sex was whatever the guy liked. Usually he stuck it in, got off and that was it. She pretended to like it. Now she is not willing to pretend.

Does she still masturbate?

Answer: Now there is a question Erica can help us with maybe but I would guess very rarely and very surreptitiously although I understand you could also get off easily in the shower every morning and never need sex.

Are the two of you physically affectionate in other ways (hugs, massages, kisses, handjobs)?

Answer: No. Any physical touching might lead to sexual desire and is prohibited.
@7, 11, 19

Of course Dan was being facetious. It's a JOKE.
@29: "If this frigid wife wants to live like that then she should join the asexual threads."

@32 notes: "Sex was whatever the guy liked. Usually he stuck it in, got off and that was it. She pretended to like it. Now she is not willing to pretend."

So, uh, yeah. Couples should talk about what each person actually enjoys... And Professor, where do you fit in? Are you just trolling as usual, or do you have a personal interest in this?
jaansdornea @23, I donโ€™t understand your answer. Are your (A) answers what used to turn her on? vacations, presents, dressing up?
And (B) (ie sex) was what you might earn, if A went well?

Then you misunderstand me. I mean, what kind of physical touching did she like? Scratching, licking, hard nipple tugs, feathery caresses, ass play, foot rubs... Is her clit super sensitive or does it need a Hitachi to wake it up... what about inside, does she like her G-spot caressed, or thrust against, or maybe rubbed in circles, a bit to the left side (thatโ€™s me). If you don't know what kind of touching your wife enjoys, then she's just bored with sex and with you. Get the book Passionate Marriage, by David Schnarch. And take intercourse off the table, explicitly, while you figure out how to make her swoon with your fingers and tongue. Will she let you masturbate when she's in the room? Will she masturbate with you in the room? These are crucial steps to rebuilding your sexual relationship.

Also, clashfan @24 has good advice!
@27're kidding, right? He's gone for two years without sex because he's "experimenting" and being a "passive-aggressive asshole"? Sorry, unless this guy is going for a Nobel prize, I seriously doubt anyone would conduct that kind of experiment on his marriage. Have you experienced this, out of curiosity? Because I have, along with other moms on the thread: Libido doesn't die because your husband is "seething with resentment," it dies because you're so freakishly tired you practically pass out while taking a shower. It comes back naturally for some, for others they have to work on it. Unfortunately, for a lot of women, after they've had kids sex rates pretty low on the importance scale, and unless they get a rude wake-up call, things just continue on in that vein. I also believe that women really have no idea just how important and necessary sex is to men, and that if someone could communicate that to them, along with all the other baby information they're absorbing, marriages would be a lot happier. We women find convenient excuses to not have sex, "I have to do the dishes, finish the laundry, I want 15 extra minutes of sleep," whatever. Sex comes last on a very long list. Unless you want to be wrangling weekends with your ex-husband, you need to find a way to get your "sexay" back. And fwiw, I disagree that finding a bit on the side is a way to keep a marriage together. While there are special cases of illness, for the average person, 15+ years is a long time to go without intimacy. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'd think recreational fucks on the side would not make up for zero sex with one's wife for close to two decades.
Bizarrely, a paragraph has been removed from this version of Savage Love, but it's still available on

"She's a stay-at-home parent, so she does most of the shopping, laundry, etc., but I contribute to the housework. We live in a large house, so we also have house cleaners and landscapers. Additionally, our kids are respectful and have been taught to pick up after themselves. The bottom line is that I've removed all of the obstacles I can think of."

So yeah, if everyone could get off the tedious, sanctimonious "men are such pigs who never do anything" tip, that'd be great.
Wow, whenever commenters start filling in a lot of very specific details that aren't in the original letter, a red alert "PROJECTION" meter goes off for me, and there sure is a lot of that going on here on both sides of the issue: some who are sure that PATH is a lazy father/couch-loafer; some who are sure that PATH's wife is uncurably frigid. Meanwhile, Dan never directly answered PATH's letter, so PATH's left with our answers.

PATH, I feel sorry for you, even if I do think you've been far short of the perfect husband by repressing your needs and expecting your wife to read your mind about your needs and meet them (or to meet them after you "lose it"). From what you've said (which is very little), you don't necessarily deserve the rants about housekeeping (even if some men do) and your wife doesn't necessarily deserve the rants about frigid women (even if some women do).

Given how little you've explored this issue with your wife, how little you seem to know about your own needs and how very very little you seem to know about your wife's sexual needs, there is nothing to do but TALK. You've spent two years pent up verbally and sexually to no avail. Try two years of open, honest discussion about what she wants/needs/likes/hates, what you want/need/like/hate when it comes to sex. Remember: these are your needs, not hers. It's not her job to bring them up again unless you explicitly asked and she explicitly agreed. But it is your job to express your needs and her job to listen and respond with care. Doing so respectfully--giving her the head's up you need to talk, making sure the time/place for the talk works for her, etc--is not the same as pressuring her. In fact, a "perfect husband" makes sure he does respectfully let his partner know what he needs. Do this and you'll probably end up getting laid. But if you don't get laid, you will for sure have a lot more information about why not and maybe then Dan and his followers can offer you some helpful advice. And, since you mentioned cheating--it would definitely be a CPOS move to go there without attempting discussion for at least as long as you tried to avoid it.
Canuck @36 I think the husband is the "someone" who should communicate to his wife how important sex is. But most men don't seem to have the tools to explain how it's about connection, not just orgasms.

@37 - one of their kids is only 2 years old, so I don't really think that tot is picking up after himself. But the real issue is the lack of communication in their marriage.
@37--I'm so glad you found that missing paragraph. The rants about what a crappy domestic contributor PATH "is" are way uncalled for (and so are the rants about PATH's wife).
PATH might deserve a good rant about staying silent for 2 years (minus one day of "losing it"), because he admits to this--and it would be fair for people to suggest he look at possibilities--maybe he's not taking on enough chores, maybe his wife is frigid--but to rant on as if those are facts? Crappy advice, to say the least.
EricaP, I agree, but why is it when our husbands say things, it can be very easy to dismiss them, whereas if we learned this from what we viewed as an impartial source, we might believe it better? I think a lot of men have trouble communicating that sex is what makes them feel the connection in the first place, rather than being the reward for the connection they've already established.
@39 Actually, we have no idea how old the youngest child is. After the birth his advances "were increasingly rejected" before he decided to stop pressuring her, and then two years passed. They could easily have been having increasingly distant and infrequent sex for a couple of years before he reached his decision not to initiate.
@39: The thing is, it's not just about connection OR orgasms. It's also about that powerful, hungry force inside of us -- a combination of life force, libido, and other things -- that needs something to desire, to point itself towards. Part of marriage is about making your spouse be, and maintaining him/her as, the exclusive (or at least primary) object of your desire. It's hard work at the best of times, and when one spouse rejects the other's desire, it really does strike at the foundations of the marriage.

Also, for God's sake, men are constantly hectored on this and other websites about how if their wives/girlfriends aren't feeling it sexually, they need to back off, give her space, do everything they can to make her feel unstressed and not pressured, and so forth. Yes, it was a mistake to let it go TWO YEARS, but could we at least acknowledge our collective complicity in this?

It sometimes seems like commenters here are bent on setting up rhetorical structures where everything is the guy's fault and the guy's responsibility to fix. Maybe his wife has no excuse for her behavior -- maybe she wishes she'd married someone else, and by withholding sex and passionate affection from her husband, she's trying to get him to do something (like having an affair, becoming abusive, etc.) to justify her resentment of him. Maybe, in other words, she's just a worthless passive-aggressive piece of shit, and not a specimen of poor victimized womanhood.
Thank god for the unkillable sex drive of men. I've lost mine from time to time, completely, for years, and the only thing that got me going again was the patient skilled hands of the guy who wanted me. I had no recognizable sex drive when I was not with him, but he could wake me up out of that dead libido state, even if only for a little while, it was such a gift to me to be able to feel completely alive and female again. I was severely depressed at the time, nobody has suggested it but maybe that's what's going on with the wife. Her life sounds great from some people's perspective, but that's meaningless if your head isn't in good shape, and I could see it being a particularly hellish prison - everything is perfect, you must be crazy to be unhappy. And that kind of thing is pretty easy to hide, mostly. Other people don't want to see it, don't know how to look, and you don't want them to know. Just a thought.
And the obvious sex-positive marriage counseling hasn't been suggested yet either. Not surprising he hasn't pushed that either if they've had one conversation, well, ever, about sex in the marriage.
@43 - maybe she was hoping he'd cheat and then they'd never have to talk about it, because that's the only way she can really imagine them staying together without having sex with each other. It's really the traditional way, this whole open marriage thing is kinda new to most people. And no adult female in their right mind assumes a guy can comfortably, easily and willingly go for years without sex when they don't have to. We are aware.
@44, I take it back, Dan suggested it - mental and medical health eval./treatment.
Dan, I am really offended by the insults at the Catholic church in this article. Hurl insults at this woman if you want, but you don't have to sound so bitter and angry at a religion that does positive things for people and provides a positive impact on the world.
Just wanted to say it really hurt to read your statements. Oh, and you barely gave that guy any advice at all about getting his wife to open up and reignite her sexual relationship with her husband. (Eh, now I'm just guessing you made up that letter.)
"She wants to prance around and show her feminine power by torturing you and make you pay for whatever real or imagined affront she believes you did or did not do. The really fun part is she will NEVER tell you what it is. She will tell her girlfriends, her hairdresser, and her mom but she sure as hell won't tell you."

This is one of the saddest, most pitiable cries de coeur I have ever read here, far more wrenching than the original letter. My god, Professor. Is this the kind of woman you're in a relationship with? Is this what you think of as normal female behavior?

If this has actually happened to you, and especially (god forbid) if it's happened more than once, please get some kind of help. Read a book, see a counselor, hit yourself with a cast iron frying pan whenever you find yourself irresistibly drawn to a woman - do something to snap the hell out of it and use your brain.

Because the women you've been with may well have all been manipulative, sadistic, passive-aggressive bitches, but here's the horrible old saw that's nevertheless absolutely true: what do they all have in common? YOU PICKED THEM. Stop dwelling. Stop whining. Stop making dumb choices. You can do it.

@ 48 - He's a troll; just ignore him.
@41, agreed.

@43, Structurally we find ourselves giving advice to the person writing in. I'm sure that every failed marriage has two people who made mistakes.

But with these sexless marriages, it's usually the guy writing in. We could tell him to DTMFA, but unless he thinks long and hard about how they got to this point, he's just going to go through it again with his next partner. It's common for the sex in long-term relationships to get boring (and trickle off). So the letter-writer deserves advice about how to discuss sex openly with this partner or the next one.
@15 The guy may be selfish, but the wife is worse. The guy has the small excuse of being an idiot. He not getting any and he has no idea why, because he is an moron.
The wife knows excactly what is wrong - he is a lazy bum - but she would rather do all the housework herself and then stew in her own resentment, than open her damn mouth and say something. That is not just moronic, that is cruel.
Drop the baby in his lap, say 'he needs changing' and then go for a long walk in the park. Tell him he cant go out with his friends this friday, because he was out last friday and now you're going out with the girls and somebody needs to look after baby. Don't ask, don't argue, just assume that he takes half of the work with the baby and plan accordingly.
And if he really doesn't want to help, if he flat-out refuses to take his share, then dump him. You don't need an extra child around.

But don't make the oh-so-common womens mistake of thinking that the guy can read your mind. He can't.
I am a woman with a high sex drive (can't go a day without masturbating--Mrs. PATH could be the same), though at this point (recent virgin) I still find penetration quite painful, so that doesn't happen that often. I'd be surprised if a woman who has given birth would have the same sensitivity, but she could: she could be depressed, sleep-deprived, have a drinking problem, travel for work, have her needs met through porn/masturbation/an affair/food... he is not doing himself any favors by playing "chicken."

If this is what middle age means, hopefully I either die a merciful young death or never get married. I likemaking out, oral, and anal play, so why should that stop just because I turn 45? Here I was expecting it to get better as I gained experience! :-/
Oh Jesus, the comments here! It is VERY COMMON for a woman's hormones to go all wonky after birth, particularly when it's her second or third child. The first thing she should do is get bloodwork done by an endocrinologist. That is assuming she isn't being utterly exhausted by childrearing and the husband is doing his fair share to help with the housework. Also, if she is still breastfeeding, forget about sex--lactation hormones kill a woman's sex drive. It usually takes about six months after weaning for the body to bounce back and sometimes it doesn't.

In addition to seeing an endocrinologist, she should read my book, The Orgasmic Diet. Changing her diet will help her physiology get back in balance. A woman's omega-3 fatty acid stores are particularly stressed by pregnancy, and they are crucial for libido.

The problem is that when women lose their libido like this due to physiological changes, they literally forget why sex is important. Not that this guy should be belligerent, but he has to press the issue, and he should not have waited so long.
@11 -- The joke's been done before, and it's been done better.
You need to pack the kids off to grandma's and take your wife on an extended trip somewhere romantic and relaxing. Someplace with with bubble baths and long dinners and lots of wine. You'd be surprised what a change of scenery can do. If the two of you aren't able to reconnect outside your normal environment, then the issue is indeed deep seeded. Level with her about your needs, ask her about hers and suggest you try to reconcile them in therapy.

@29 "10 minutes twice is week" is all she "owes" her husband. With an attitude like that, I'm amazed any woman would ever fuck you.

Whenever I read the tale of the long-denied husband, I always wonder if he's denied because he's a lousy lay, seeing his wife as a receptacle for his relief rather than a woman with sexual needs of her own.

I'd happily give my partner the 10 minutes he "needs" a few times a week if I knew he'd fuck me senseless for a few **hours** at least twice a month. And not see oral sex as a "chore," toys as a "threat," think I'm a whore because I know how to and care about getting off myself, and so on.

GGG straight men are, unfortunately, rare, which is why this is such an old old and familiar story of the married couple who BOTH see sex as a wife's duty to keep her husband as miniminally satisfied as necessary to keep him around. It's a suspect contract--a recipe for certain unhappiness once the "deal's" been sealed--from jump.

I'd bet money the wife isn't interested in sex because the sex has never been about her.
Oh, Look, 4, 6, 8, 15, 17, 22, 51 are here to play the role of Greek Chorus Blaming the Man for a woman's lack of sex drive. Rather than deal with the facts presented, they simply make shit up and project it onto this guy.

How very unusual for this board. /eyeroll

Then there is #37, which pretty much shatters that whole train of thought.

The Greek Chorus is singing the standard verse, and thus the woman in this described situation can never, ever be expected to sit down and express her mind and explain her actions, right? The guy is supposed to figure it all out, because men, unlike women, can read minds. And surely the main driver is the guy's behavior. Surely.

Letterwriter and young guys, listen up: DON'T LISTEN TO THE GREEK CHORUS blaming the man.

Don't. listen.

That kind of person (usually a middle-aged woman or young guy without kids/wife) will tell you that your not doing chores, not fussing with the baby, not listening to her true feeeewings and all that is why your woman is not screwing you. But ask yourself: was I doing that when she wanted to screw me like a fevered weasal? Nope, you weren't.

So why would that turn her on now? Truth is, it doesn't. When she did want to screw you, she didn't care if there was a dirty dish in the sink. She wanted to screw you.

Every guy who married and had kids also had lots of guy buddies who did the same. Go talk to them about this part of life. Their life stories will tell you way more about what is going on her than the Greek Chorus. Those people have much, much less to share than they think. They are narrow-minded people of little empathy, who quite ironically pride themselves on being the exact opposite.
Dan could have given the guy the courtesy of a direct answer instead of dragging his tv show into it first.

That said, he's in the same position that every advice columnist since Dear Abby has been in with easily 50% of published letters -- having to tell someone there's no substitute for Using Your Words, and knowing the advice is probably going to be ignored.

I don't know what's wrong with this marriage. And neither do you, other commenters -- there's not enough information in the letter. But the only path to solving it is going to involve a long, uncomfortable, non-exploding conversation between husband and wife. Even -- maybe especially -- if this guy wants to follow Dan's reflexive advice to open the marriage. I just don't see this guy as having the courage or the willpower to have that conversation.
My amateur advice to PATH - write a letter:

Start off by emphasizing all the great things in the relationship. But the lack of sex is threatening the union. Explain why sex is both emotionally and physically important to you. Give detail on the effect the lack of sex is having on your psyche and your sense of self-worth. Emphasize that the sex you want is with her, not just anyone. Tell her how much you miss your early stages of sexual adventure together, and perhaps describe a couple acts you did together in the past that you loved.

But also - I think you need to give her a wake up call. Whether it includes the possibility of ending the relationship or going outside, there needs to be a concrete statement that you won't allow this to continue.

Invite her to write you back. Ask her to explain what you can do to help bring her interest in sexual intimacy back. If there are other deeper issues preventing her from wanting to be intimate with you or anyone else.

The letter writing process has worked for me. It allows you to soberly explain your feelings without the heat of argument or saying things you regret.
Canuck @36 - I love your insight into how (some, many?) women feel. My two thoughts from the man's perspective:

1) Not to give too much credit to the rant @58, but his second and third last paragraphs resonate. I know helping with dishes, diapers, etc will lead to more sex. It still stings to know that the wife doesn't have the urge to throw the dishes on the floor and fuck on the countertop like the old days. At the risk of making a very sexist comment (let the arrows fly) the equivilent would be me faking interest in my wife's day so she could feel connected enough to have sex. Just as the wife would like to think her husband cared about the details in her life, the husband would like to think his wife actually has a raw desire to fuck her husband irrespective of the pile of laundry.

2) Your comment "And fwiw, I disagree that finding a bit on the side is a way to keep a marriage together." A lot of men can compartmentalize sex and emotional intimacy. I am only speculating as I have never done the CPOS route. But if I hit the kind of drought PATH hit, finding an outlet safely and discreetly on the side would relieve a lot of tension and allow me to focus on the good of the relationship with Mrs. Horton and keep the family intact.
Dan - Have you ever read the Bible? we have been released from the old testament law by Jesus. We no Longer have to adhere to the rigors of the Law because Jesus came to provide us a way to God if only we beleive.

As far a being Gay, it is stated it is wrong in the newtestament as well. God created man and Woman...not two men. We are instructed to love you where you are, but we are not to love the sin that is the Gay lifestyle.

We can not create our own God!
I'm glad we all got to hear about what Dan's been up to. Good thing he reserved a few sentences for advice!
@ 62 - " We can not create our own God!"

The mere fact that there are many religions with different gods that are each supposedly the sole and rightful one is clear evidence that we have created our gods.

If that's not enough for you, then read the incredibly inconsistent book known as the bible, and ask yourself if one single god really would have inspired this piece of crap writing.
@30 - I'm not surprised your libido returned. But, if you really thought of your husband as just another baby for some years, it seems a bit lucky that it returned aimed at him. If it was largely an act of will on your part to direct it that way, well done.
Bravo, Dan. You are a brilliant man. And that bitch it totally wrong, I'm a lady and you have given me the best sex advice ever.

/threadjack flag

Don't feed the troll
"...and it seems a little hypocritical of Gallagher to suggest that I'm not qualified to offer advice to women, since I don't fuck 'em, without first telling that old fag in Rome to STFU already."

Oh, you've done it now: GLAAD is not happy when people use the word "fag" (not sure about British references to cigarettes, though smoking's bad 4 u, so I suppose they should be), even/especially gay men who sometimes/frequently self-identify as a "fag". And don't even get them started on the 'false-consciousness' of trans-persons who self-identify as "trannies". For the sake of a specific, sanitized, norm-conforming vision of The Gay Community, please apologize, Dan.
Hey, Tim Horton! Re: the compartmentalizing, funny that no matter what we say, we still come at things from male/female perspectives that can be so different! For me, when I'm mad about one thing, I would never say that my relationship was good in ten other areas, it's kind of all or nothing, and that may be how a lot of the tension/confusion starts in male/female relationships. That's where I genuinely don't understand how a man can love someone, think they're a wonderful person, agree on politics, praise all of their lovely qualities, and yet be missing something so essential to them as sex. But as you say, I think men are much better at compartmentalizing that way than women are. For me, if sex/intimacy was missing from my marriage, getting a bit on the side wouldn't work long-term, because I would want that intimacy/connection with my partner. But your take on it, that men can separate sex from intimacy, and that (hypothetically) you could be relatively happy in your marriage as long as you were getting sex somewhere is totally eye-opening. And I completely agree that if you were in the kind of insane drought that LW is experiencing, going outside of your marriage would be completely justified. It's good, I think, that men (in general) are able to compartmentalize that way, because I was thinking you would still be really sad about the lack of intimacy, but if it's more of a "basic maintenance" thing, then that's kind of win-win for your family and you, in Dan's context of trying to keep families together. And the letter thing, isn't that the greatest!? I've always done that (don't always send them, though, sometimes just lets me vent...), as it lets you get your thoughts out without being sidetracked.
And not to be a nosy Parker, but I remember you saying you were "counting down" to when your kids were the magical age EricaP's were when she got her groove back...I might humbly suggest that your wife won't necessarily have an epiphany when your youngest is eight, or whatever, that she needs more sex, you may have to "prepare the soil," as it were. Personally, I'd start sooner rather than later...reading sexy stories in bed at night, weekends without the kids, etc...just to speed things along :)

I am reminded of a time back in the day when we all had young kids and one of our friends was reported to have said, "I wish that just once I could wake up in the morning without a hard dick poking me in the butt."

Not surprisingly, she eventually got her wish.
Do you wonder if gals like #30 ever reflect much, during that time they infantilize their mates, on the (likely) fact that the extra "baby" around the house is working his ass off to bring home a paycheck and abjuring sex with other women to maintain his relationship with her?

The thanks for the "baby's" multi-year devotion to the family, demonstrated daily? Being seen (and likely treated, as a result) as just a another "kid" around the house.

Talk about treating someone like shit who doesn't deserve it.

Do women like 30 pause to seriously consider how they are treating the men they are supposedly in love with? Seriously consider, and then ask the men? I have yet to meet a man who experienced that. I have met loads of very mature, responsible guys, though, who were treated like kids by their mates.

If you consider a grown man just another kid, is that really what the guy in your life--the father of your children--deserves?

Because if so, you made a really, really bad choice in hooking up with him. Remedy that by setting him free from obligation to you without rancor or bitterness. You made a mistake in assessing him, and you should let him go find someone who will appreciate him. Oh, and then live with the consequences that follow.

Another interesting facet of 30's mindset is that the husband will typically have many friends, relatives, co-workers, and work subordinates who view him as competent, mature, and quite helpful. But when he goes home, -wham-, he is viewed quite differently by the person who is supposed to treasure him most. That is the reverse of the adage that if you meet ten assholes in a day, they are not the asshole, you are: If your mate is viewed as pleasant, useful and competent (perhaps even attractive) by others who encounter your mate, but you cling to a view of them as a boner-killing "baby", my guess is you are the one off base, not everyone else.

In sum, viewing a grown man as just another kid is a GREAT way to kill a man's interest in you, ladies. It is like your guy sitting around obsessing about your crow's feet and cellulite. Dwell on it enough, without considering the positive, and you are ending the relationship without bothering to tell the other person.
Lots of interesting takes on this topic already.
And we've recently had a similarly informative and enlightening discussion on slog in response to a SLLOTD about a married man who wasn't having enough sex with his wife (but nowhere near this two-year desert!).
There is a lot of anger here on this thread: anger from women who feel or have felt exhausted, unassisted, and resentful at their husbands, whom they regard as another of the people making burdensome demands on their time, energy, and bodies, and anger from men who feel as though some sort of bait-and-switch has been pulled on them, and who want their wives to WANT to have sex with them--enough to not mind that there are chores to do--and not to see sex as an obligation.

All these discontents are legitimate. Both sides are valid.

Several people, however, have made some very important points, which may or may not be operative here in this particular letter-writer's case, but which may also apply to the disgruntled people who are weighing in with their dinner-plate-sized chips planted on their shoulders.
Marrena (@53) was right about a number of things: the fact that hormonal shifts associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation often affect libido, but also that for many women, when their libido drops and the sex tapers off,they truly do forget why sex is important and how much it brings emotional and physical satisfaction. That is, if the sex is good. As maddy811 (@57) says, many men aren't interested in the woman's pleasure, and after years of sex which has nothing much in it for her, a woman may understandably not care to make it a priority if her libido is low and she is feeling exhausted anyway.
And it isn't always hormonal shifts or resentment, but just plain old exhaustion that can get in the way. When I didn't have time to do what I needed to do to make myself feel attractive, I didn't want to have sex with my ex-husband, because then the sex didn't feel like it could possibly be about his desire for ME, it just felt like he wanted to stick his dick in a hole, and mine was the available vagina. It didn't matter if he still thought I was sexy and desirable: if I didn't feel it, I couldn't buy it that he did, and I couldn't let myself enjoy it. And for several years after having babies, for a combination of all those reasons, I didn't feel it. It came back. I also think that even those of us women who love sex and have a high libido (and I am again in that category), don't have the same response to lack of sexual release that men do. There's no doubt that I feel happier in my daily life if I'm getting good sex on a regular basis, but I don't think I'd be actively angry, jumpy, irritable, and snappish if it wasn't happening frequently. Or maybe I would feel those things, but wouldn't think to make the explicit connection and ascribe my general dissatisfaction with sexual dissatisfaction--an interesting thought.

But finally, I think that Canuck (@41) has really hit on it when she said: "I think a lot of men have trouble communicating that sex is what makes them feel the connection in the first place, rather than being the reward for the connection they've already established."
This is crucial. This can only be resolved through communication--long, patient, talks, not confrontational accusations couched in bitterness and resentment. For whatever reasons, this is often a huge disconnect between men and women, particularly in the context of a long-term relationship, and it needs to be remembered and addressed.
Probably already said, but how is it being the perfect husband to tamp down on your feelings for more than a year. What's wrong with asking "Yo, babe, when we gonna start fucking again?" as soon as you want to know? Can't hurt to ask. Now they're stuck in an ugly pattern. I know Dan thinks marriage counselors are not very sex positive, but these two are apparently having communication issues that go way beyond sex.
When I had my first child I joined a support group for new moms. One day when our babies were about 4-5 months old, we started a discussion about how our sex lives had changed as a result of motherhood. One after the other, we reported being too bone-tired or having no libido as reasons why the sex was virtually non-existent--and that we didn't care. And then one of us said, "I have sex 1-2 times a week." We expressed our doubts that she was in the mood and she said, "No; but I feel it's too important to our relationship. I want to feel connected and keep that sense of intimacy. And I hope that at some point my interest in sex for its own sake will return and I think it will be better if we don't have to start up from scratch then."
It made a lot of sense.
@ 67 - As far as I'm concerned, anyone who tells me who I should answer or not is a troll. Especially when they're not registered.
i had the same problem - no sex after our child was born. i tried to initiate and was rejected so many times i got totally turned off sex. went 2 years without even a fantasy, because any sexual feelings brought on feelings of pain, loneliness, rejection and anger.

but i'm a woman, and it was my (first)husband who withheld. my life is good now, but i stayed in that marriage way too long.
I have the perfect Solution. The wife should hire a female to help her with the "load" she's unwilling to bear herself. Or he can find someone himself!
Any girl or woman over the age of 12 knows what a big deal sex is to men. They may not understand why it is so or what men experience emotionally but they absolutely know that sex is a big deal. Don't make excuses for people who refuse to see that. It is their enormous failing. They are subjecting other people, people they profess to love, to extreme hurt.

While it's perfectly reasonable to say that one's libido can disappear with physical exhaustion it's inexcusable to say that women experience some kind of selective amnesia about sex. If your husband went out and fucked someone else you would absolutely explain the importance of it to him at length. Don't lie about that. Deal with it. As Dan says, you should acknowledge the rough time your marriage is experiencing and at the very least give credit to the person being sexually deprived.

If a married couple don't have sex for 2 years and neither one of them talks about it then they are both EQUALLY to blame. They should both have screaming alarms going off in their heads.

If my wife doesn't have sex with me it's not because I have a history of treating her like a cum dumpster. What gives you the nerve to belittle me or my wife or our marriage like that? Fuck you.
@ 69 - About "basic maintenance", I remember telling a female friend who thought I was sex-obsessed - those were my mostly-sexless days, a long long time ago - that there's one thing women can't seem to understand: after a few days, it actually hurts not to have sex. Physically. No wonder sex soon becomes "the only thing men can think about. (Ever heard the term "blue balls"? Well, it wasn't coined for nothing. They may not get blue, but it sure feels like it.)

I'm nearly 38 (yes, I started counting backwards from 42 as you advised), and I can now go sexless for about 5 days. Needless to say, at this rate, masturbation got boring about 30 years ago (sorry, I meant 23).

I won't go as far as saying that men like or want sex more than women, but I'm quite convinced they physically need it more.

And your point that "sex is what makes [men] feel the connection in the first place, rather than being the reward for the connection they've already established" is absolutely right on.
@69 and @72 - I really appreciate your candid insight into the female psyche. Specifically this @72: "There's no doubt that I feel happier in my daily life if I'm getting good sex on a regular basis, but I don't think I'd be actively angry, jumpy, irritable, and snappish if it wasn't happening frequently"

As a frustrated husband, I have had all those feelings and more. The best I can describe lack of sexual release is like an itch I have to scratch. It can literally cause knots in my stomach. It becomes consuming. I can't think of anything but the itch. Then, to be around the only person who can ethically scratch it, and who refuses, causes the resentment that follows. That causes the viscous passive-aggressive cycle: If she won't even scratch the itch, then why am I bringing home a paycheck, helping with the dishes etc?

Having someone else scratch the itch (compartmentalizing sex from emotions) isn't going to replace the loss of emotional intimacy but it will allow me to focus on the good rather than have the itch cosume the relationship.

Three things that have helped us, that I would share with other men/couples in this boat:

1) Accepting that the wife's lack of desire is not personal, but hormonal + exhaustion. I heard this from her, but reading candid anonymous comments here helps sync the message.

2) Counting oral sex as sex. And viewing my wife's offer of quick oral a couple times a week to get rid of the tension as a sign that my wife cares about me rather than her trying to shut me up.

3) Hearing that things can and do get better as the kids get older. Thanks EricaP and others.

Canuck @69 - love the suggestions for laying the groundwork. I would be more effusive in my love for you but I don't want to be John Deere and cut GloomyGus's grass....

In the inimitable words of P.G. Wodehouse: "Marriage is not a process for prolonging the life of love. It merely mummifies the corpse."
Ricardo, I think that's a very important distinction: Not that I would speak for all women, but for a lot of us, while we look forward to sex, lack of it doesn't have quite the same physical toll. (The cranky, antsy, pent-up feeling that men are describing.)

jenesasquatch, while I agree that women know sex is important to men, I really think they (women) tend to put it into the context of their own desires and needs, much in the same way they might say, "well, I want chocolate cake for breakfast, but I don't need it, and it's also kind of juvenile to want it so often in the first place." It probably seems like such a no-brainer to men, the physical importance of sex, but for a lot of women, they truly need to be taught this, not just in the heat of the moment, but patiently, over time. I'm aware that there are some women who will be told this repeatedly, and still belittle/ignore it, but I think a lot us us just need that wake up call.
Tim Horton@80 Woot! (as gus and I would say...) about number 2 on your, you're still getting BJs? You are golden, seriously. Speaking as a formerly tired mum, if your wife is doing that for you, that speaks volumes, in my humble opinion. Women don't do that when they're out of love, pissed in general, or any other negative thing. That is an offering of love...I sense things will be looking up (heh) for you once your kids are no longer quite such demanding rugrats.
And gus? Not to worry...our unique imaginary relationship has weathered worse storms than a little lawn maintenance...separated at birth as we were, and all... :)

Is that soapbox full of Ivory or Irish Springs? Come on,'re a SEX columnist. Yes,yes, it's cool that you advocate for issues that you blahblahblah, but lately your columns have been more MEMEME than helping USUSUS. Jesus.
"Waking up to hard dick poking in the butt" - while this is not PATH's problem I will say that I hate to be poked for sex when I'm in the middle of a sleep cycle! Whether I'm exhausted or just down for another hour, it's annoying to be woken up to a different kind of alarm clock - someone else's. It takes me 15 mins to warm up to sex at a time like that, and I have to really want to please my male partner so I can set aside that feeling of irritation and be a GGG girl. Took me YEARS to get to the point where I could be generous and not resentful.

On PATH. Says he wanted to be the perfect husband so he stuffed down his feelings. That's so sad! Sounds like my Dad's generation, actually. Stoicism was how it was done. My Dad dealt with my Mom's rages by total denial (which really did a number on the kids) and when I asked him about it all these years later, he said sadly, "I just thought these things had to be endured."

PATH, if you have an affair you wife can soak you on alimony. But you can't force people feel a certain way, or act a certain way, if it's not their will to do so. The only thing you have control over is yourself: your actions, your attitude, your choices. While seeking solo therapy isn't going to make your wife lustful again, it might help you clarify what your next steps should be, since you seem to be in a terrible bind where you want what you can't have but you won't accept alternatives.
I think, as usual, Tim Horton hits the nail on the head. A letter, expressing his feelings, exactly how he outlined in THIS letter, would be great, especially if he starts with how much he values the marriage, how he does NOT want to look outside, and all the postives he has put forth. But OMG!!! If she does not pick up the slack after that, I am not one of those who says "divorce, divorce divoce", because, well....look at all those good things, and now they have children, but man....

Contrary to the fable all those ridiculous bible thumpers beleive in on the thread, this is all we have got folks! Do you really want to have your one go around without SEX???? Screw that. Go get yourself a lover. There are a lot of poor neglected ladies out there, and with the letter, you are absolved of the CPOS label. She has had fair warning. She won't work with you, she won't gave her *more* then adequate space (hell, I was back in the saddle 6 weeks after #1, and only made it 4 after #2...but I know I am weird) is too short. Find someone married like you and discreet.
I heart Canuck :)
And...SOME girls have the same feelings as guys when we go without sex! Its a physical need for some of us too! I get the same way...snappish, grouchy, moody....almost the same exact way I get when my blood sugar drops too low. I know a lot of women are all emotional and lovey dovey, and I can get that way as well, but trust me guys....sometimes there are girls out there who just need a good lay too, just like you do! Now way in HELL I could go a week, much less YEARS without it. I would take someone's head off! Really inconcievable. I guess it just depends on a person's individual hormonal make-up, as I know there are poor undersexed ladies out there who are struggling with their hubby's lack of desire.
Man, reading these comments all the way through now has me completely depressed. "He does this!" "Oh, yeah? Well she does THAT!" Blah blah blah. This issue is complicated, folks. However, most issues are never as effing complicated as all our talking makes them out to be. First thing's first, LW: RELAX. I know you're upset, hurt, angry, or whatever emotion in response to this right now, but getting worked up never helps. The longer the couple goes without, the more the pressure builds until the pink elephant is actually busting out the rooftop. Get rid of the pink elephant in your mind. Take a deep breath. Relax. Then, say in a very calm tone of voice, "Honey, what's up? What's up with you? I wanna know what's going on so we can work through this. Together. You start, and I'll listen." Then actually listen. Try to do so without thinking of your retorts. Let her say what's up. Don't make up your mind going in that you know what's up (which is what feeling rejected really is--deciding you know why you're getting shot down, and that reason is you suck). Just. Listen. Then. Talk. Usually when I do this, I find out my partner and I were always more on the same page than not. The fight was about the fight.
@82 Canuck
I think you have a double standard. If a bunch of men were on here making excuses for the X-withholding husband (X=love,respect,affection,etc.) of a female LW you would rightly come un-fucking-glued. You can't rationalize away the callous disregard of someone who denies their lover any one of a number of essential needs that you goddamn well know they have. You wouldn't be gently encouraging the woman to remember to explain to the man that women have this different need from men. You would say DTMFA because he reached adulthood and marriage without spending 5 minutes understanding the opposite sex. Or worse he understands but didn't care enough to make even the discussion of it a priority.
@ 82 - "while I agree that women know sex is important to men, I really think they (women) tend to put it into the context of their own desires and needs"

I think that's a mistake we all make, men and women, gay or straight, in relationships: trying to reconceptualize our SO's desires so that they fit ours... One of the main reasons my last relationship failed. My ex just couldn't care when I said "I need X", since he didn't; he just hoped that if he was patient enough, I would stop asking/nagging him, not realizing that it really meant "or else I'm out of here". (Wait a minute, make that my 5 last relationships)
Erica P., and Canuck, can I be you when I grow up? I don't have any skin in this game, yet, but I've watched a few friends go through it, and from what I've seen, constant communication is key. That, and blow jobs are sex.
Dan, what the fuck? I waited all week for this? Need to step it up, glad your getting all famous and stuff but don't forget what got you here. More crazy kinky, fucked up letters please! Maybe it's because you're getting old that your column sort of sucks now.
jenesasquatch, I'm sure I have a double standard, even if it's unintentional, that's what I was trying to say, that women sometimes come from such a different perspective on this subject that they truly are the same way we say men are clueless if they never talk, communicate, show affection, etc., and then wonder why their wives are put off (I'm not talking about you, here.) I really shouldn't speak for all women, obviously, so I'll just give you my personal experience: I don't generally consider myself to be unaware in general, or clueless, or callous (okay, really sarcastic, but...), or an asshole in general. I know I have plenty of faults, but I honestly Did. Not. Get It. when it came to not enough sex. After fucking like rabbits in the early days, when it dwindled after kids, I just did not grasp how important it was to my husband. And this probably isn't helped by female culture in general, the eye-rolling amongst friends, "oh, it's never enough, is it?" which is completely obnoxious and unfeeling, but maybe this is what women do to gain a little power. I'm NOT justifying, just trying to figure it out.

All that said, when a husband has explained the importance of sex (we aren't mind readers, either! we know in some nebulous way, but it helps to have it laid out), and if his wife is still rejecting/denying, then that IS a problem that needs a wake-up call.

riley: *mwah!*

divine miss em: careful what you wish for, dear, my husband, for one, views me as more of a cautionary tale.. :)
@86. Thanks Badgirl, and I agree with you. I have never understood how it is more virtuous to end a marriage (with kids) before you step outside of it. Staying for the sake of the kids is cliche for a reason (or so was my experience as a child of a messy divorce). If after PATH writes the letter or has the ultimate discussion and nothing changes, it would seem to be the lesser of two evils to get something discreetly on the side than to toss the kids back and forth between two houses depending on the day of the week. If there is no marriage to save, that is different. But if everything is otherwise good, it would likely benefit the kids to see his smiling face every day than every other weekend. And be the beneficiary of 100% of his financial resources.

As for your lack of religion: I used to be in the agnostic camp, but as I was reading Dan Savage's response to Maggie Gallagher I started yelling "AMEN" a lot. I am calling it an epiphany. If we get another shot at this world, I would like to sign up to be Mr. Badgirl. I will settle for Mr. Badgirl on the side.

Lots of good ideas here, and lots of bitter, bitter, people as well. Maybe we need an IGBP for couples whose relationship is in the sexual doldrums?

Let me start: Boys, IT GETS BETTER. While I can't speak to relationships that are sexless for non-kid reasons, I have gone through the post-baby sex drought twice, with two different women, ten years apart. In fact, I am still in the tail end of the second one. (Heh, "tail".) I've actually had sex twice in the last three days, and it's the first time that frequency has been reached in almost a year. (The youngest is almost ten months old. Coincidence? I think not.)

It is getting better, and it will continue to do so. And while we can talk about who is tired and who is doing chores and who is working all day to bring home the bacon and who should be keeping whom serviced and how long it should take and how often and do blow jobs count and is masturbation enough and oh yeah do you ever go down on her and and and... I don't think any of that matters as much as two simple things:

1. Communication. TALK ABOUT IT.

2. Attribution. DON'T BLAME EACH OTHER.

1 helps you get to 2.

Post-baby monasticism is a temporary condition that can be attributed to fatigue, hormones, and a general "I don't feel sexy" attitude that is the result of the very real physical changes caused by pregnancy and birth. If you don't want it to become permanent, recognize and remember that fact: it is temporary, unless your reaction to it - e.g. resentement - creates new reasons - e.g. resentment - for it to continue.

And remember: you love each other. That's why you got together, that's (I hope) why you had kids together, and that's (I hope) why you will, on the one hand, accept that you aren't going to get as much as you are used to right now and, on the other hand, accept that you are going to need to offer a few maintenance hand-, blow-, or tit- jobs.
Wow your hatefilled comments here really reveal what you are about. You hate everything that is wholesome, traditional, or Godfearing. Its good to finally recognize your name. I think its time for you to learn what people of traditional values and mindset feel about your ripping apart of everything good and holy -- just for the joy of you pleasuring your johnson.
Canuck: you might be a more typical woman. Maybe I am more in between, but I *know* I am not alone...because of my vagina (lol!) I have been privy to those conversations where I hear talk of the "dutiful" blowjobs...really?!?!?!? you REALLY don't LOVE the incredible moans, the delicious sense of power, or hell, just the incredible sensation of your lovers member sliding down your throat??? Are you *kidding* me? Of course, my housewife friends are equally agast at my enthusiasm, and then tell me promptly to stay the hell away from their husbands, lol! As if...*roll eyes*. So maybe that is why I am with the boys here, and I am trying so hard to understand this concept of "dutiful sex". I guess the more boring sex with my husband as opposed to my lover....but that is only because it sucks. And even when I go too long without that, I *still* want that! And I know I am not the only woman who feels this way!

So...its NOT guys vs. girls!!!!! People keep saying that! How many letters has Dan answered from poor frustrated WOMEN?????

And Tim Horton *smewtch*!!! For sure, you sound like a real catch *grin*. Perhaps you would even be able to keep up! I would like to think perhaps I could be (mostly) monogamous if I were being satisfied at home ;). I do think too many marriages end for infidelity....we need to take a more European outlook on the whole affair thing. Let's just keep then safe and discreet...hell, I can't imagine how moody Mr. Badgirl on the side would be if I were not his release valve! I know he goes *months*...I am providing an unknown service for her ;).
@ 97 - If god is love, why is it in any way required to fear it?
The one thing he didn't say anything about is romance. I initiated sex sounds like I turned on the ignition in the car. They definetly need to be more honest with each other but the perfect husband may want to wine and dine the mother of his child so she can feel sexy. Or maybe send her to a spa for a girls day
I'm a gay guy who was married to a woman for 20 years; we had 4 children. I'm sure I was a crappy lover to her (I had to pretend she was a guy, or that I was some other, straight, guy) but I LOVED our babies and I loved helping take care of them. I fed and changed and bathed them whenever I wasn't at work. We took turns getting up at night, too, when one of the kids cried. I know my early involvement with their development aided their acceptance of our divorce, my coming out, and finding a gay partner. And I'm still friends with their mom, too.

Anyway, my point is, she LOVED having sex and didn't mind initiating it...probably because I helped out with the kids and the house enough to prevent her from being exhausted.

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