Comments

1
*discreetly
2
I think you should do what Dan says AND start slapping her on the ass in public once in a while, with a bit of a loving, leering grin on your face. I am dead serious (and playful)!
3
I was in this situation with an ex. What I didn't like about it was not what other people thought (who cares) but that I was horny, that the teasing made me hornier and that I didn't like that it wasn't actually going anywhere.

Now I'm in a different relationship, three + years in, mid forties and we have sex every single day. Sometimes more than once. The keys:

-Be so go at giving her oral sex that she wants to have you do that because it feels fucking amazing. Give her a bunch of oral sex then leave the room and let her go to sleep. Masturbate like you were going to anyway. My bet is that for every few "selfless" instances oral sex you give, she'll instigate your piv sex one additional time - but you have be willing to leave a lot giving NO PRESSURE.

-Talk and talk about sex so that you know how to do the above and what she wants and so that you can convey what you want, sensitively. You've been married for 30 years. Be gentle and slow. You can figure this one out.

-Let her know how much you like giving her orgasms and licking her clit and feeling the inside of her pussy and having her all over your face. You have to fucking love it. The Vice Guide to Eating Pussy on the webs sets one of the right tones. I can't quite remember but I think it includes the recommendation along the lines of "come up looking like a St Bernard, shaking off his sopping face with a massive grin on, clearly knowing he's done a good job." If that's not a suggestion, it should be. You should seem to be as into it as she is. Ideally, actually be that into it. Or go for the chocolate/roses/candles etc pre-oral sex. Make it special. Your neck will stop hurting on day five or six and once your tongue stops aching, your face muscles will be stronger for any convincing fake smiling you have to do later on (see below).

-She wants to be desired and she wants to be seen as sexual but she may or may not actually want to fuck you (and if you think about it... that's ok). Understand Responsive Sexual Desire. See Emily Nagoski's book "Come as You Are" or read her blog The Dirty Normal. Responsive Desire was a major thing for my ex and I had no idea. It's a major thing with my current partner. Basically, let her know how much you want her and how sexy you find her, whether or not you'll be having sex.

Being rejected a lot will make it difficult for you to let her know you want her. Easier, I understand to just be irritated and not feel rejected again. I remember what that's like and it's hard. But, um, keep it up. Let her know - or smile and pretend very convincingly (for months if you must) that she is turning you on and that you like the dick teasing. If you don't come to like it, you can stop. And give her the same back when she gives it to you - tell her she's sexy in whatever way she actually likes to hear it. You still won't have sex much perhaps and you'll still be masturbating like a demon but likely, you will actually have sex with her more too. To not feel resentful or irritated, you may have to re-frame it in your mind: you and your wife are having sexy interactions that will almost certainly go nowhere but you will be having fun sexy interactions. Sexy interactions are fun and a good way to connect. Even without the possibility for sex.

I know this is all perhaps so elementary. But it will likely work if you can "fake it until you make it." Your wife likes dirty talk at least so you are some of the way there. But if she knows "it irritates the shit out of" you (she knows) then you're fucked. Or rather, you're not fucked.
4
Most long-married couples your age are having a lot less sex than that, if they're having sex at all. So that seems like a pretty good foundation on which to build, ROSIE.


Dan, I think you've been reading too many letters from desperate marrieds. Most of the long term married couples I know (and I'm one of them) are still connecting a reliable 2x a week.
5
Drugs? LMB - even if that puts me in a class with Elizabeth Castorini lunching with Rumpole and convincing him not only to eschew meat in favour of a selection of fresh vegetables (by pointing out that all the meat eaters look like chartered accountants) but also to avoid wine on the grounds that they didn't need any artificial stimulants.
6
Perhaps the wife is performing an act meant for other people than her husband. To project an image of "30 years married but still having a great sex life" without actually having that implied great sex life.
7
@3: "She wants to be desired and she wants to be seen as sexual but she may or may not actually want to fuck you (and if you think about it... that's ok). "

No, actually, that isn't okay at all. It's using you. Would it be okay for you to want to be seen as a great chef, to make a point of creating elaborate feasts, sitting her down before a steaming plate, taking a photo of her and her meal (for the benefit of all your Facebook friends) and then 9 times out of 10 whisking away the plates before she could take a bite? And let her go hungry? Perhaps tell her she's welcome to get herself a bowl of cold cereal afterwards? You'd be a fucking psychopath.

"Let her know - or smile and pretend very convincingly (for months if you must) that she is turning you on and that you like the dick teasing. If you don't come to like it, you can stop."

Wrong. You never, ever train someone to do something to you that you actually don't like. What does that get you? Lots and lots of the activity that you don't even like, when they could be spending that same time actually pleasing you. That, and a confused spouse who doesn't understand when you finally come clean about hating it, after encouraging it for months. You have just admitted to lying to them, and they will lose trust in your word. But at least it explains the constant shitty mood that you aren't actually quite good enough of an actor to conceal.

I notice you aren't in that relationship any more.
8
If you want an honest communication with her, I would suggest that every time she does one of those dicktease moves, act pleased and attempt to take her up on it. When she turns you down, ask her, "Why did you do that?" Every single time. Get her to examine her behavior.
9
Get her jealous, nothing like a bit of competition to smarten people up. You sound like a sweetie LW, and yes you should be pissed off at her silly games.
And Dan's answer was perfect, once she's tasted a little of the green monster, she'll be more open to hearing you.
Doesn't have to be anything too over the top. Flirting with women, while she's around.
Long marriages are long, so you got to juice them up along the way.
The Change for each woman is different. It can also be a time of sexual liberation for a woman, no more periods.
Be creative. Maybe each time she grabs you, talk dirty to her. If others there, they just get to hear.
10
He's 52. She's probably the same age or a few years younger. Meaning she's in peri-menopause, and her hormone levels are bouncing around, meaning she gets horny in spurts while her overall horniness levels are going down. It's possible that she really is feeling it when she says the teasing sexy thing, then isn't just as suddenly when she backs away. It's possible that she wants the warmth and connection from sex without the sex so she reaches for his crotch. Talk to her. Talk to her gynecologist (I mean together).
11
My two cents--if she's open to it, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. I agree with Fichu.

Her acting sexy in public is what's keeping her having sex 2-3 times a month.

Dan, for obvious reasons you flubbed this one. This is a menopause issue.
12
@3

That sounds pretty awful. I think I'd rather be single than go through that.
13
Hormonal fluctuations can account for the low frequency of arousal in the LW's wife, it's a bit of a stretch to say her public come ons are a result of that.
She is playing a public persona, that's how her husband reads it. He sounds an intelligent and loyal man, I trust he's reading the game properly.
Most adult women were trained pretty well about the concept of prick teasing and this man is her husband not some random.
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@2: "I think you should do what Dan says AND start slapping her on the ass in public once in a while, with a bit of a loving, leering grin on your face. I am dead serious (and playful)!"

Talk first. The gesture may not be taken so well.

@11: Worth the read- https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/bio…
15
13- Lava-- I reread the letter carefully after seeing your comment, and now I'm confused.

She says things around the adult kids, friends and acquaintances that "I'm sure everyone interprets as an indication of a healthy sexual desire."

" She will fairly frequently say things to me that would be flat-out propositions if I said them... She also will grab my crotch or ass sometimes (not even all that discretely)."

But are those things said in public? Is the crotch or ass grabbing done in public? I didn't think they were public the first time I read it, but now I'm not so sure. If they are public, then you're right, that's unrelated to hormone fluctuations, and I don't know what to say.
16
I was in a similar situation a few years ago. My partner and I got together when we were eighteen, so menopause was not a factor in my situation. Anyway, the sex was alright (not stellar) for the first year - my partner was a virgin before sleeping with me and we had a strong emotional connection, so I was mostly willing to overlook the warning signs.

Over the next four years we were together our twice a week sex life dwindled to twice a month, once a month, and then in the final year we went an entire five months without any kind of physical intimacy. I have a fairly high sex drive, so this was a serious source of conflict throughout our relationship. Adding to the strain was the fact that, even though I had to beg for a reluctant blowjob (she preferred this to mutually stimulating activities), my partner would constantly make comments about our secretly non-existent sex life in public that ranged from simple exaggerations to blatant lies. At first I interpreted this to mean my partner wanted sex. I knew she enjoyed masturbation. I thought I must somehow failing to provide what she needed. I would have done anything for a little physical intimacy, even if it meant the orgasm I gave her wouldn't be reciprocated. Even if she had included me in a round of mutual masturbation I would have been thrilled. I didn't care, I just wanted to feel like my partner was attracted to me.

But the comments continued, and try as I might my partner never warmed to my advances. Eventually it became clear to me that she didn't need me physically in the way that I needed her, but she did need to be perceived as a sexual being in public. Her casual lies in front of our friends made me feel like a prop in her identity play. The lack of sex was making me bitter, and towards the end of our relationship I would actually start correcting her when she would boast about my sexual prowess in a social situation. She never took that well, and I'm not proud of myself for going out of my way to hurt her like that.

Anyway... Our relationship came to an amicable conclusion a little over two years ago. My ex has come to terms with the fact that she just does not enjoy partnered sex (a fact which she readily discloses to potential dates), and my sex life has never been better. It's clear to me now that she was exaggerating because she was ashamed of her low libido, and nothing I could have done would have changed her level of desire. She didn't need to be changed. We're still good friends, we were just fundamentally incompatible and too young to see it. I think LW's wife may be trying to compensate in a similar way.
17
@3 She's turning down oral sex. She doesn't sound very interested in sex at all. And while I'm glad at the 3 year mark your sex life is still healthy, 3 years aint 30.

It's one thing for your partner to lose interest in sex. That happens. It's another thing altogether for them to lose interest in satisfying you sexually. It sounds like the LW is pretty frustrated and his partner doesn't seem to give a shit. I also get the impression that he's trying so hard to not be an asshole about her losing interest in sex (kudos) that he's neglecting to effectively communicate his needs.
18
My point is that the wife may be turned on by the public PDA, a little bit of an exhibitionist, and she might be overcompensating because she's feeling a drop in her hormones--a sort of reverse puberty. It's hard for a woman who has lived life with a healthy sexual desire to suddenly have that taken away. So she might be using that as a turn on in the same way a middle-aged man might look at porn to get himself turned on for actual sex.

The LW is expecting a straight cause and effect, PDA leading to sex, but it might be she's just priming the pump and hoping her hormones come through.

As for bioidentical hormones, that's a very strange link. It says that regular HRT is molecularly the same as bioidentical HRT, which as far as I know is false. The article in The Medical Letter that the link references is behind a paywall, so I can't check the reference. Here are more references on the safety of bioidentical hormones:

http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/20…

As far as I can see the website hosting that link is not a peer-reviewed journal, it's just an online forum. And the premise is sketchy, because bioidentical drugs cannot be patented, as occurring naturally in the body (unless they have a method patent). If Premarin were truly bioidentical, they could not have had patent protection.

Basically the link seems to say that since no studies have been done on the safety of bioidentical hormones that proves they are unsafe, then cites three whole cases of cancer in women who take them (presumably these three cases did not have controls). Then says the real problem is unregulated compounding pharmacies, which is a legit concern, but...the article is just bizarre.

Actually, if the wife is going through perimenopause, the first thing that should be checked are her iron levels. The typical heavy bleeding during that time can push a woman towards borderline anemia, which has a really big impact on libido.

And if her iron level is fine, even a temporary test of bioidentical hormones, say, for six months, could at least help the couple determine if her drop in libido has a physical source.
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Mr Topia - You refused to enable and collaborate in your own closeting. I don't call that going out of your way.
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TFRK @16
my partner would constantly make comments about our secretly non-existent sex life in public that ranged from simple exaggerations to blatant lies.

I have a similar experience, though not as "constantly" as yours. Our sex life was basically a failure, but when the subject of "sexual problems" came up in a conversation with friends my girlfriend felt the need to say things like "well, I have no problems in that department, ha ha".
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@3/Abc123bbU-n-Me: You epic length response totally misses the dynamic between this couple and the information that ROSIE included in his letter.

@18/Marrena: I see a real disconnect between ROSIE's wife actions and menopause. Chatting up her sex life, including in front of her children, is not PDA, and nothing in ROSIE's letter suggests that he expects a straight line between his wife's words/actions and sex. It certainly seems quite plausible that if ROSIE's wife were looking to jump start her libido she might let those crotch grabs serve as the start of some foreplay and see whether she and her husband could get her aroused enough for sex (whatever form that might take). Instead of stroking him, or encouraging him to touch her, she drops a sexual comment, gives a quick sexual touch, and then nothing. That doesn't sound like an effort to get interested in sex.
22
Dan, can I be a pedant? It's "no holds barred," not "no holes barred." I believe it comes from wrestling — there are no kinds of holds which are barred from being used. (I realize "no holes barred" is a good pun for a sex advice column, however. :) )
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@7 / avast2006

Totally agree with not putting up with it (long term). But he can do his part to try to change it before he hopefully comes to his senses and gets the hell out of there if it's the status quo. I mention I'm in a different relationship and that it's a good one to subtly indicate that he doesn't have to be with someone who is a possible sociopath and certainly someone with whom he is mismatched sexually. What she is doing is callous. But he's not going to get anywhere stomping his feet to say "no" after fucking her for who know how many years now, even when she's clearly not into it. Fuck him for doing that, if you think about it. All an impotent tantrum will get them is more distance, the same sex and no more (likely remote) possibility for sexy connections.

But he insists he wants to stay and he says he wants to remain monogamous. Under those parameters all he can likely do is move the needle a bit and have sex one or two times more per month. And they'll come to like the sexy dick grabs or they'll stop it. Talking could maybe make it good. Letting her know she is desired generally is unlikely to hinder them.

It all sounds horrible and familiar to me. I eventually ran for the door.

Given that he's not leaving and he's so ultra monogamous with this *shudder" person, he'll have to work with what they've got.

My suggestions are for a person who's 30 years in behind a door he keeps locked from the inside of his own volition.
24
I'm in a similar situation though I'd be the wife in this scenario.

Nina Hartley explained once that sexual interest and sexual desire are two different things for her. This helped me so much with understanding my own libido. My sexual interest is high. Sounds like your wife's sexual interest is high as well. My sexual desire- my libido- seems to fluctuate in intense ways that even I don't really understand that I assume are hormonal. So even though my sexual interest is very high (I look at my husband's ass and really want to grab it all day long), the sexual desire just isn't there. I can feel, in myself, that it's going to be a huge amount of work to go from the place I'm at to a place where I'll be able to let loose and cum, and it just seems like it's not worth it. About a week out of every month, I'm also raging horny- but the rest of the time, I'm just not. And there really isn't anything that anyone can do about it.

If I were told that I had to stop talking about or expressing my sexual interest though unless I'm also really horny, that would feel like a big loss. I love my husband's body. I want to grab hold of it all the time.

I know this frustrating. Here's the part where I'm going to give advice, but I'd have to ask the LW a follow up question to be sure. Does your wife refuse more frequent sex? Or is it just that you don't really want to do it if she's not into it? Because if it's the former (she refuses) then don't take my advice. But if it's the later (she's just not that into it and it bores you) then talk to her and try out my advice below.

My interest is high, my desire is pretty low (except when it rises suddenly out of nowhere), but I'm always willing to have sex. It's not fireworks or loads of fun, and yes, my husband said that he feels sometimes I'm just putting up with it and so I try to be more affectionate. I'm not likely to be super active or want him to go through a big thing like going down on me or whatever- I know this sounds lame but this is sometimes how it is when you are married for decades. We call this "week night sex"- and there are no expectations involved. I'm probably not going to cum. He doesn't have to feel bad about cumming right away. It's kind of boring. He gets off. No one feels bad about it. Basically what I'm saying is, if your wife turns you on with all this sexy talk, but then doesn't really want to get into sex with you, but is willing to just let you fuck her, go for it and don't try to do more than that. Just fuck her even though it's a bit boring.

Now I know that sounds terrible, so I'll cheer you up with what is the good part about this. Two things: First, My interest builds up slowly and the sex stays really easy and so when I am horny (which like I said I think is a part of a hormonal cycle) then the sex gets really hot and we are both into it. And since the sex is easy and we stay connected, it gets hot more than 2-3 times a month which I don't think it would be if we didn't keep touch and keep it easy and keep the "dicktease" and "weeknight sex" stuff going regularly without expectations. Also sometimes, even if I'm not horny when we start out, we are sometimes surprised by how hot it gets- or at least how affectionate it gets. Usually it's in a spurt- like a week a month we have pretty hot sex, and the rest of the time, we are having pretty boring and really quick sex with no expectations.

Second, once we stopped trying to pretend that it was going to be really hot and once the pressure of having to regularly build up from not-horny to active-partner-who-is-going-to-orgasm was taken off of me, we regained a sense of humor about sex. That made it much easier to talk about what we were doing and how we felt about it, etc. So long as you both are still having good sex other times, it's really OK if you are having boring sex the rest of the time. My husband needed to feel that I was going to cum- foreplay, toys, going down on me- every single time when really I was totally down (even relieved) for weeknight wham-bam-thank-you-maams. Yeah, it would be cool if we always had great sex, but that's just not reality.

Also, if your wife doesn't already have a vibrator, you should go to a sex shop together and get her one.

25
I'd advise you to seek out a counselor, particularly one who utilizes ideas from David Schnarch (Crucible therapy). There is clearly a control dynamic in your relationship regarding sex and your wife is communicating this to you, and you to her, and you may need some assistance in figuring it out. Just reading "Intimacy and Desire" may illuminate a lot of things for your, but professional help seems warranted if you desire more sex than you are currently getting, and its led you to seek out advice publicly.
26
EL @24
So even though my sexual interest is very high (I look at my husband's ass and really want to grab it all day long), the sexual desire just isn't there.

My interest is high, my desire is pretty low.

This sounds very weird to me, because I don't understand what the difference between "sexual interest" and "sexual desire" is. Can you (or someone else who gets it) try to explain?
Thanks.
27
Frequency of Sex Data Point: 2-3 X per week. Hetero, long (long) married, mostly vanilla, monogamous, 60 years +/ 60 years -. Talking to friends, I do not think this is very unusual among those who remain healthy.
28
Not one of Dan's more intelligent answers.
29
@26 Registered European

It sounded weird to me too. Nina Hartley made this distinction in an interview I read once. I'm sorry, but I can't find it by googling now. It was like someone explained myself to myself when she said that because I'd never thought of it that way either.

Are you a woman? Or a man? I really do think there is a difference between the way male and female libido works (generally- I know nothing is true of everyone). For a man, sex is (generally) pretty mechanical in terms of getting off. For women, I really do think hormones have a lot to do with it. Perimenopause (where I'm at) affects everything. Also where I'm at in my cycle affects it. (I have a horny week for example pretty much every month). Also women tend to take longer to warm up and have to be in the right headspace.

I've found that men who are good partners understand this about women, and to their credit, are more than willing to give women the foreplay, oral, toys, etc whatever they might need to help them get off. While this is lovely, sometimes I'm just not down for all that. If I'm not horny at all, it seems very time-consuming and tedious- like it's going to be a lot of work to get myself into that mood. I CAN get there, but that doesn't mean I'd prefer to get there over going to sleep. OK so this is about libido or desire- your sex drive. The feeling that you really want to fuck right then and there. I just don't have that feeling all the time the way my husband does. It fluctuates with my hormones and with my mood. This is what I mean by desire.

As for sexual interest though, this is a more steady thing in my life. I like sex. I find men really attractive. I find my husband very attractive. I like to watch porn and talk about sex. There are parts of my husband's body that I want to put my mouth and hands on all the time just because I think they are beautiful and hot. This does not mean I'm mentally/physically/hormonally in the sort of place where I'm excited and want to fuck. Sometimes, that seems like rather a lot of work and I'd rather just grab my husband's ass and go to sleep. This is sexual interest.

Understanding the difference between these two things did wonders for our sex life (thanks, Nina). I'm interested in sex. I enjoy the connection. I like to be close to my husband. But I'm not always horny. It's not frustrating if I don't get off when I'm not horny in the first place- I'm not missing it. If I'm not horny and don't have a huge amount of desire, then I really don't want to put the work into slowly building myself up to feeling raging desire and then orgasm. If that's the goal, all it does is cause us frustration or it makes me avoid sex, even though I generally like sex and find my husband very attractive.

So our solution is this concept of "weeknight sex" which is rather fast and boring but also frequent and pleasant. Because my sexual interest is high, it's not a chore or anything- it's positive. We have a sense of humor about it and we are affectionate so it's fine. But it's still a wham-bam type thing. Husband gets off. I get to grab his ass. We both sleep. I'm not frustrated at all because my sex drive/desire wasn't really there in the first place. It's basically like saying "baby, I'm not interested tonight but I'll give you a handjob" except in our case, husband would rather fuck me than get a handjob. Also, it happens often enough that we start out just going to do a quick weeknight sex, and instead we end up really getting into and having fun. The sexual desire emerges- even though it wasn't there to start with.

If this was the only kind of sex we had, then that would be a problem. But it's not. My sexual desire (the sex drive) is much more linked to my mental space and my hormonal cycle so it tends to flare up the week after I finish my period. Then I'm raging horny which is a very different feeling. And in that situation, I really want to have sex and I'm going to get off regardless so it's like play. Since I've entered perimenopause, things are changing again and the hormonal fluctuations are more irregular now. Sometimes out of nowhere I'm horny. Also we take the time a few times a year to go off by ourselves and make the play a priority. I think this would be harder to do if we were frustrated all the time.

Now everyone is different so I'm not saying this mindset would work for everyone, just that it sounded very similar to what the LW was writing about so I chimed in with my own situation.
30
@28: He's too busy writing stupid shit about politics to pay attention to his real job.
31
As a 67 y/o woman AND an MD, may I add something here?

A woman’s sexual desire DOES diminish as we get older...PHYSICALLY. Our vaginas don’t have lubrication and there is thinning of the vaginal walls--It HURTS to have intercourse and frankly we want to get it over with. Not even KY warm lubrication helps.

But our minds are agile and we have a LOT of experience in knowledge about what turns us on--and yes I DID enjoy Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL--or just watching Mathew McConaughey (or Dan Savage) on screen. We are genetically bred to look at great looking guys (AND women too!--which is unique to our sex--we get just as turned out looking at naked pix of great looking women as we do with men--clinically researched. Probably because we WISH we looked like these women SO THAT MEN WILL THINK THAT WE ARE wanted sexually.)

We want men to see as provocative...as sexually exciting. (This is where that “rape fantasy” comes in. We want to be so sexy that a man can’t control himself. Think of William Hurt grabbing a chair and breaking a glass door to get at Kathleen Turner in “Body Heat.” We want to be taken BUT NO WOMAN WANTS ACTUAL RAPE--OK?) But at a certain age most of us are downright ashamed of our bodies as we don’t fit society’s image of what a woman is SUPPOSED to look like--Trump’s idea of a 10. Some men DO keep trading us older gals in for a “younger better looking model.” Trade a 40 y/o for two 20 y/o’s as the expression goes. So older women are self-conscious of sagging “crepe” inner thighs, older looking external genitalia, sagging breasts--so we just don’t want our men massaging our breasts (It hurts too!) or having oral contact on both breasts and genitalia. “So can we just skip that? Because you CAN’T ENJOY THAT ANYMORE..RIGHT? Because we’re ugly “down there now!”

BUT we can still talk a good story and we WANT to be sexually active...it just “hurts” a lot less physically to be a “dicktease” (REALLY guys--that’s what we are??) than actually having sex.

So any guy that flirts is a “C***tease? RIDICULOUS!
32
About using hormone therapy. The number one killer of women is cardiovascular disease. Hormone therapy has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Even women in their teens and 20s can develop a massive stroke from using birth control pills. It takes a large amount of hormones to keep from ovulating---which is how bc pills work.

That’s why Hormone Replacement Therapy was mostly discontinued for women experiencing menopause symptoms. (Still used in some women with severe symptomology.)

And why we don’t prescribe BC pills to women who smoke. Better to use IUDs. 42% of all women doctors and nurses use the IUD. Fewer complications. Nearly 100% effective and only needs replacement every 3 years.
33
EL @29 Thanks, that makes it clearer. I'll have to do some introspection to see if and/or how far I can separate sexual interest and sexual desire.
I'm a man, BTW.
34
+1 to everything EmmaLiz wrote. That's almost exactly how it works for me (and has for a long time, even though I'm only now entering perimenopause).

I'd say the difference is that (a) my husband doesn't mind me having PIV to please him (because we're D/s and he signed up for that), and (b) a few minutes of PIV (and sexy talk) will get me close enough to an orgasm that 3 minutes with the vibrator tips me over. But I don't go into it thinking it's about my desire for PIV or for an orgasm, because those desires are a million miles away when we start.

Receiving oral sex isn't generally my thing, and I got upset reading @3 proposing that the LW pretend to really love oral sex and pressure her into accepting it (when she doesn't want it). Why the fuck would two adults do something routinely that neither one of them wants??? Now, I love giving oral sex, and would do that even if my partner only sort of likes it. But that's different: I own my desire in that case. I'm not giving a blow job to be nice and to try to turn on my partner; it's what I crave.

My personal interpretation of the letter (caveats to say that of course I could be way off base) is that she has given up on enjoying their sex together. He is doing what he always did, and either she was lying before about it working well, or else her body has changed and it no longer works for her.

I think Dan is right to start by taking PIV off the table and try to get her to talk about what she fantasizes about now and what she might possibly want to try. The LW may think he's GGG because he offers oral, but clearly she needs something else.

Maybe if the LW also opened up about what he's been fantasizing about and made himself vulnerable, that would help her do the same.

Also, because I'm me, I'm also going to ask: could the LW offer her the freedom to go have sex with other people and figure out what works for her now? Is that on the table? Because that would show his commitment to fixing this problem. I'd also put ending the marriage on the table and talk about what an amicable divorce would look like. They're too young and both too sexual to give up on a good sex life.

35
@24 Yes to all of this. I highly doubt LW's wife is viewing herself as a tease, and it's discouraging that she's painted as being cruel. She likely sees these things (flirting and having sex) as separate actions, not as a sexy-time continuum.
36
I concur with #25. Try the book Passionate Marriage too, for an approachable introduction to the topic, which is pretty well known in sex therapy. It's very interesting, even if you find it doesn't apply in this exact circumstance.
37
Dr. Nuschler, those studies of hormone replacement therapy were for non-bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

Here's a link at Harvard Medical School illustrating the complex issues of HRT:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-hea…

I wouldn't recommend anyone taking Premarin.
38
Also, when I am talking about HRT, I am also referring to androgens, which also drop at menopause. Very low-dose testosterone is sometimes appropriate

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-condi…
39
Dan, please urge LW to find a good integrative MD and get the wife's hormones checked. There are many safe options that most allopathic docs are not trained in. At 45-55, most hormones take a nosedive and sex can become painful and just not that interesting.
40
I'm not anywhere near menopause, but have suffered severe hormone fluctuations after giving birth and while breastfeeding. @24, 29, 31, and 34 seem to see it the same as me.

I know I'm really frustrated when my body doesn't cooperate with what I want sexually in my head. My husband is hot, I want to have sex with him but during those hormonal fluctuations when we get down to business, my body isn't revved up. At best, its just lackluster for both of us, at worst it's actually painful.

As a woman (particularly one who had a high sex drive and a lot of hot sex in our marriage before this) it brings up a lot of shame and frustration. Either we don't have sex, we have the lackluster sex (if possible due to pain), or I feel selfish because the amount of work and foreplay to get revved up seems so lopsided. Really I feel either betrayed personally by my body, or that I'm broken or defective somehow.

My experience is also similar to @29 because of how my hormones fluctuate with my cycle. What worked for us is trying to balance things all around. During my "hot" week, things are easier and we try to take advantage. At other times, we know a bit more work is involved. If we're prepared to take some time, it can still get hot and heavy, it's just more work (more foreplay, oral sex, and/or vibrator). If we aren't up for that much work, we either skip it, or if I can get aroused enough to not be painful, then I try to even out all the times he has to work more for me by giving him time that's more about him.

If she's experiencing something like what some of us here have experienced, it may not be a public act she's putting on so much as a genuine attempt to cling to her sexuality. She's still there it her head, her body just can't always back it up. She could also be over compensating, but I doubt it's malicious or manipulative.

Health and nutrition can also have an impact. Iron was already mentioned, I also find if I'm vitamin D deficient things are worse.
41
I just have to jump in and say, if you've been married for thirty years, that puts you in your mid-fifties, most likely. Please do not do MDMA/Ecstasy. This could cause all kinds of heart problems, even leading to a heart attack at your age. That being said, weed is generally safe.

Anyway, I used to be a bit of a dick-tease like LW's wife and my boyfriend asked me to stop... so I did. Previous partners enjoyed being teased a little bit (because I usually was DTF later on when we weren't in public), but my current boyfriend hates PDA and feels like teasing is mean. Just talk to her. It's not a crazy ask to not want to be teased in public/in front of your friends.
42
@18: "As far as I can see the website hosting that link is not a peer-reviewed journal, it's just an online forum"

It's a blog run by MDs that links to relevant peer reviewed studies.
43
Honestly, Dan - most people in their fifties who've been married for 30 or more years are lucky to have sex 2 - 3 times a month, if at all? I'm sure that's true of some, but most? I'm surprised more people haven't taken you to task over that one. My husband and I are in our early-mid 60s, married over 38 years (together for over 40), and twice a week is pretty typical for us - sometimes more, and sometimes less often, but the less often times are usually due to one of us being sick, a hectic schedule that leaves one or both of us without the time or energy, or one of us is traveling without the other, not lack of desire. Though I haven't polled our friends about their frequency (that would be nosy!), I doubt we're that unusual. Sure, the urgent passion of bygone days is rarely there, and we've had to make adjustments to our aging bodies (I need lube for PIV now, he needs lots of stimulation to get and stay hard, arthritic joints make some positions uncomfortable), and sometimes one of us can't manage to get off, but most times we both do. A lot of the time what we do is pretty predictable, but we don't generally mind, because we both know what we each like and what usually works. I'm not always in the mood when he initiates, but I almost always get in the mood pretty fast, and the same is usually true for him when I initiate. And often it's hard to tell who started it, as we really enjoy cuddling naked every night and morning, and mutual hugging and stroking will often just lead to unplanned sex.

This isn't to say that there are never any problems, or that there aren't times that one of us feels frustrated (usually by something else going on in the relationship), but on the whole I think we still have a pretty great sex life, and part of that is our willingness to talk to each other about what we want and need. The ability to laugh at any awkwardnesses and not take any "failures to launch" too seriously helps, too. I would be really depressed if I thought that as we get older we'll lose our desire for each other, and that making love would become a rare event. Health issues may sometimes interfere, and maybe libidos will decrease somewhat with advanced old age, but I hope that we can be creative about keeping that sexy spark going for the rest of our lives.

I'm curious to know how many of your older readers agree with your assessment of what's a typical frequency for long-term couples, and how many have experiences closer to ours.
44
I really appreciate reading all the fascinating explanations of flux within hormonal cycles and surges of sexual desire as contrasted to sexual interest. I never remember noticing or feeling that cycle during my marriage--I pretty much felt a low-level non-interest all the time--but that marriage ended long enough ago where I can't be sure I remember accurately. However, when I had regular menstrual cycles, I always had a week (rather illogically, in my case, it was always the week leading up to the first day of my period, and especially in the hours right before I started) during which I thought about sex more frequently and it was much easier to get more aroused and orgasming was easier and more intense or frequent. I also had a "low" week, which as I recall, coincided paradoxically with the days on either side of ovulation, when I just wasn't really interested in sex, didn't think about it much, and if I had it, I was likely to take longer to get aroused and reach a lower level of arousal. Orgasms were harder to achieve and less intense.

Now I think I have passed through perimenopause and am truly menopausal: it's been about a year since my last period. And for the past three or four years now, I've orgasmed more easily and multiply than ever before. I've gone from being an anorgasmic woman, to one who could only orgasm with a self-wielded vibrator, to one who could come through oral sex or fingering, to one who can come by penis-in-vagina alone, to a woman who comes so quickly upon beginning any sort of sexual touch that it is almost embarrassing and seems fakey and porn-y (not even really porn-y, as I'm sure not even porn has a woman orgasm within 30 seconds of starting to make out).
This is not to brag--this is to say that I have no doubt that hormones and their fluctuation, both within a given month and its regular menstrual cycle, and throughout perimenopause and menopause, allow for a huge variation and constantly-changing women's sexual response.
45
I'm glad other women are talking about hormonal libido changes, because I experience these very strongly in my 40s. For about two weeks from the end of my period my libido is very high and the sex I have during these times is the best sex I've ever had - my husband is surprised and very pleased by how easily I orgasm and how sexually dominant I am then. After that my libido pretty much disappears but I am happy to provide maintenance sex.

Luckily my husband has increasing sex-slavish, submissive tastes so when I don't have much libido I can order him to "perform" for me (masturbating in front of me etc.), which excites him a lot.

I haven't experienced a disconnect between sexual desire and sexual interest, but I guess that might come along with menopause.
46
This guy is presenting himself as someone without boundaries.
' Yeah, she really can do what she wants , I'll never leave her. ' sex once or twice a month and puts on sexual pretend stories; perhaps this woman is bored.
A man who presents as willing to put up with anything, never leave even as his spouse is torturing him sexually
(unless that's the game agreed to between them), has let himself become a doormat. The sexual tension has gone.
47
44- Nocute-- Nothing illogical about hormonal/horniness cycle back when you were menstruating. You thought more about sex in response to progesterone as opposed to estradiol, which is a perfectly reasonable variation. For me it used to be similar. Look at any of those charts comparing hormones with uterine lining for a visual.
48
@46: It's really a tough position to be in, though? It's not like she's giving him any clue as to what she actually wants, the performative aspect, the show of false libido is put on for their shared friends and not for his benefit.
49
I really disagree with those reading such malice into the wife's actions. I also am pretty annoyed about the nasty "cock tease" comments toward her as well, and that goes for you too, LW.

1. If the woman was a highly sexual woman for years, she is likely in a habit of sexual innuendo and contact. I would ask LW whether she is actually changed. Or, was she always like this and he has only noticed now because he isn't getting sex as much as he'd like. As a once highly sexual woman, she always acted/spoke like that, and she continues to do so without a lot of thought as to him and without the intent to hurt LW or convey a false image. To her, this is who she is.

A female friend of mine is a gal up there in the top 10% of sexual drive. And sex was never far from her mind. She has lupus and sadly went through a very terrible time of renal failure. Obviously, that killed her ability to follow through on sex. But she never stopped talking about sex or goosing her husband or flirting with guys. Was she a tease? Was she presenting a false front? I would argue no. She was being her true self: a highly sexual woman who was out of the game due to physical issues. She ultimately received a kidney transplant and definitely her sex life took an uptick, but its probably not where it ever was before.

And truly, if LW had a penis that didn't want to become erect, would he be a tease if he still tried to give his wife sexual touch? Kissed the back of her neck, squeeze her butt? I really want to unpack this, because I really hate the "tease."

What? When I walk into my husband's office and squeeze his crotch mean that I am required to drop trou' that second and let him go to town? Maybe I am just taking a break on my way to the bathroom and trying to convey to him that I still love him, still find touching him desirable.

What? When I let a man fondle my breasts and kiss me, I am required to sleep with him? Um. No.

What? Is the only thing valuable for sexual touching PIV or Blow jobs? It doesn't count unless the man gets to orgasm?

I think DS called it right. Take PIV off the table and experience the non-PIV mutual sexual satisfaction. I hear people saying, well she isn't telling him what she wants or she doesn't have erectile dysfunction! But reading the comments above should demonstrate that women can have the same kind of problems at menopause that equates to erectile dysfunction. Pain, discomfort, dryness, etc. Problems with fluctuating hormones. The issue is, as always with women's sexuality, its presentation is more subtle because women don't have the magic wand barometer to signal sexual interest. And think how ashamed men get over that and want to address it.

2. Look LW, I am utterly sympathetic. Believe you me, I am really sympathetic. My sex life with my husband right now is terminal because of some physical issues. And, I am still very much in high gear sexually. But the sex we can have right now is piss poor, and i don't want it. I want sex, but not that sex, because it sucks.

But if you are GGG, don't automatically assume she realizes your concerns or that she's being a tease. I do acknowledge that spouses owe each other sexual satisfaction and license. I do realize it hurts to get wound up by the sexy talk and then shot down. You sound like a great guy, which makes me hopeful you can get to a mutually agreeable place with her. But don't go in resentful, don't try and make her jealous, don't be mean. If you want to fix this, you have to get to the root of the problem - why is she not feeling it? Is it physical? Is it mental? And why is she talking about it if she isn't interested in it? Get thee to a sex positive therapist and yes, expand the repertoire beyond PIV.

I am talking to you because you are who wrote in and the one with the problem. But I am not letting her off the hook. She needs to use her words as well. You should not be alone in this.

But take the words tease off the table, please.
50
@47: Crinoline, it seemed illogical to me because I would think that the days where I really wanted sex would be the days around ovulation. From a "keep the species going" perspective, I would think that that would make the most sense. I was the reverse.
51
@50: I imagine not everything is min-maxed to perfection by evolution in order to perpetuate our genetic material, what matters is that your predecessors lived long enough to procreate.
52
@49: "expand the repertoire"

I'd hope that he's framing this differently beyond the letter, but he states that she's not interested in other items in the repertoire either. It's not just PIV that she's turning down.
53
@49: DarkHorse, I like all your points.

There are so many possibilities:
1) The wife is feeling affectionate and sexual in the moment when she makes her comments or grabs her husband, but doesn't feel sexual desire when the opportunity to have sex comes up later.
2) Something has happened (perhaps menopause-related or perimenopause-related) to make the wife no longer enjoy sex but she wishes she still did and is trying to stay sexual in some way.
3) She wants to keep up appearances because:
(a) it's important to her sense of self identity that she be seen as sexy or hot or wild
(b) she doesn't want to feel or be seen as old or past it
4) She is no longer attracted to her husband but doesn't want him to realize it deeply and hopes that by making the comments and grabbing him, it will balance out the lack of interest she shows when actual sexual contact is possible.

Or something else. But I doubt that she's teasing in the sense of deliberately working her husband up and then leaving him to twist in the wind.
This is a woman who used to enjoy sex and now no longer appears to. Her husband has no idea why. That's the place to start.
54
Kate @22: I think Dan was making a pun.
55
Suggestion: If the wife is feeling sexy but not up for PIV or oral on her, maybe she could be persuaded to give more blowjobs. If she enjoys that, it might also have the effect of getting her horny for her own pleasure more often.
56
@52, if all rivers run to the ocean (PIV), and PIV hurts, I am not surprised if she isn't down with the repertoire. I give kudos to DS for recognizing that always being f*ked isn't the most awesome.

I don't mean to be harsh to LW by what I am going to say, but his letter is about him not getting his. It really isn't about how much he misses giving her head. Now, absolutely he should have that desire. He does care also she enjoys her self, and she shouldn't shut off the spigot. I don't think he's a bad bad boy (unless he likes that *cracks whip*) for feeling that way. That is completely human.

But depending how long this has gone on, she could have been trained to think that all roads lead to - ahum - Rome*.

If maybe he demonstrates that it isn't all going in that direction, the wife may start reacting differently. I donno, just a thought. He won't cheat and he won't run around. So the only option is working with the wife.

* Another cliche? Rivers? Roads?
57
Sorry to hear DarhHorse about the health issues happening in your family.
Also sorry to disagree. This woman is being a tease, and she's doing that so their kids and others still think she and the LW are still having hot sex.
They do need to talk this thru with a therapist present. They are 52 yrs old, still young people. Sex twice a month and then that is not done with any enthusiasm.. that could be indicative of loss of attraction as much as her going thru the pauses. They do need to talk to each other.
She may not be conscious she is teasing him, she is still doing it.

58
50-Nocute-- I do see what you're saying, but when we consider how often women get pregnant when they have their periods or just before, I still claim logic on my side. Egg drops during ovulation (kinda the definition), then lives several more days.
59
Menopause/ The Change, gets such a bad rap and whenever a woman 's desires change, it's the go to reason. How convenient. I'm not discounting other women's experience of this transformative time. It just hasn't been a dark passage for me.
And now I'm thru the other side, no more bleeding. Its being like a man .
The sex part of me turned off for a short while, 18 months or so. And I'd swallowed the story of how the Change effects a woman, ie dead sex.
Gradually my sex returned, better than before. Because, blood. All bodily sexual function restored.

60
@56: Sure, that all makes perfect sense.
61
Fichu @58 "Egg drops during ovulation (kinda the definition), then lives several more days.‎"
I think the egg can only live for a day or less without being inseminated, fyi. Years of trying to get pregnant have been educational.
I do appreciate, and look for, your posts.
62
@57. What a boring world where we couldn't disagree, lava! I guess for me, if teasing is done subconsciously, it isn't teasing. It's a crime that requires a mens rea.

Eh, this too shall pass. ;) this is a marathon...
Hmmm.... this is a walk on the beach, together, side by side. Sometimes he runs. Sometimes I do. But we join up again, hand and hand. We are most devoted, despite being very different in many respects. I love him. He loves me. My knee will work again. Lol.
63
61-- I googled, and you're right. How is it then that the rhythm method fails so often and that women get pregnant throughout their cycles? I mean, we're more likely to get pregnant during ovulation, but exceptions abound.
64
@63 women's ovulation day can vary and can be hard to detect, and sperm can live several days, increasing the window within which conception can happen.
65
@ 59 - LavaGirl - Glad to hear it was easy for you! I'm 49 and told I'm not even fully menopausal yet but have painful intercourse and *no* libido without HRT, and that only alleviates the pain somewhat. All this going on for two years now. For many menopause is a much bigger disruption to their sexual selves than is the norm, many it's much smaller. I was lucky in that all my life my periods were mild, light & w/almost never any cramps or discomfort. Very even month to month emotionally. For that I consider myself a lottery winner. The menopause dance is looking like I'll encounter the other side of the luck coin. I like sex and am missing it terribly, I like to think about and talk about it. I like to joke and be a sexual being. I appreciate my husband's body and want to want it more! But right now, although I can orgasm, it's often like climbing Everest. So fun to think about but daunting to actually do.

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