Kids involved? Normally you would include that, so I assume not...
Is this a Duggar letter? Why isn't divorce on the table?
Great choice for a life partner.
She's spent FIFTEEN YEARS with this P.O.S?

And can't bring herself to even mention the 'sex thing' in therapy?

I need to remember that there isn't any connection between this and all the whinging from women about not being able to find good men....Sheesh!
@4- Oh! You started off so well and, for some reason, decided to take a high-speed train into neckbeard town.
While I’m not the first one to point it out it’s always funny (well, actually sad) when people start their question with, “My husband is a great guy, we get along really well,” only to tell us how miserable they are in the next paragraph and how their mean motherfucker ignorant careless spouse is ruining their lives later on.

As for the question, LW’s unmet needs might go beyond sexual desire and she needs to look into what kind of relationship/s work for her.
If it’s only sex she wants than look into seeing more than one person, which may reduce the chance of an exclusive emotional dependency.
If it goes beyond “just sex” than she should move out as soon as.

@5: She's probably dating this "nice guy" as well.
So she goes finding more lovers and then pushes her husband to therapy, Dan? And these adventures, she own up to them in therapy. Arse about I think.
LW. What a mess. A man with a family as your lover, so there are all those people who are being betrayed and then your husband.
Why did you have to stay married to him. I'm not sure Dan's " do whatever you have to do...", is apt here. No kids, no physical disabilities. Your husband has issues he won't deal with, so leave him and ditch the other guy.
Then grow yourself a moral code, and stay away from married men with small children.
It sounds like the hubbie was sexually traumatized in some manner as a kid - in fact, the no-eye-contact thing makes me willing to bet on it (selfish pervs have no problem with eye contact). While he might be getting off, it doesn't sound like he actually enjoy any element. In your letter, he comes as less selfish and more ashamed.

That doesn't change your needs, of course, but you might catch more dick with honey than, uh, you get the point. Start talking about sex more often. Do your best to build up his confidence in talking with his therapist (assuming he's still going, which he should be) about his sexual history or at least his sexual goals and desires. It seems you both still care for each other, and this would be a win-win for all of you: If he gets the help he needs, perhaps it can save your marriage; making him a happier, more fulfilled and fulfilling husband and making you a happier, more fulfilled wife who gets more than glorified gloryhole service. It's heavy lifting - heavier than most - but it's the hand you're dealt.

The alternative, of course, is to just break up; and it doesn't seem that there is much in the middle.
Man some people are just existentially terrified of being alone with themselves. She's been with this selfish douche since she was barely 20 and the only thing that can get her thinking of leaving is some jealous asshole! Unbelievable.
Your mean spirited response sounds exactly like an old priest doling out advice at a Catholic marriage counseling session.

I think @7 nailed it. This wasn't a warranted cheating circumstance. This was a DTMFA scenario, not a cheating- to-stay-sane arrangement. Not that any of this matters too much at this point....but I have a feeling the situation will "resolve" itself if the husband learns the full extent of her cheating; and I think she does owe him full disclosure.

I also don't understand why she references the campsite rule. It doesn't really make sense in this scenario. Again, I'm not sure it's directly relevant, but it looks like it might be another example of the LW not getting this advice column.

It makes me wonder if she has previously communicated with her husband as well as she thinks she has. Just a thought.
I know we're supposed to never EVER come anywhere close to blaming the victim, we're supposed to basically take writers at their word, with modest allowances, yadda yadda yadda. But did she start to have sex with her husband on their wedding night? People make mistakes, I get it. But then it doesn't seem like she made an effort to broach the subject of sex with a therapist, and now she's infatuated with a married man who sounds like a huge d-bag, and actively making excuses for him. Sure, her husband sounds broken, her lover on the other side of the world sounds broken. But so does she. Everything about the letter leaves me questioning her judgement. I think after she gets everything sorted out, she might consider seeing a therapist for her own benefit.
@8: Disgusted and ashamed may ovelap, but he's not interested in her any way you look at it.

@12: Probably not much beforehand, but why does it matter? People shouldn't victim blame the LW because it doesn't matter what she should have done, just what she should do, and that is (as I'm sure you agree) dump the husband and the boyfriend and work on herself until she can stop going for these guys.

Dan, what's with this recent "wanna" "gotta" etc. crap? You useta write in English. Has your teenaged son taken over your vocabulary?
@13 Maybe we can couch this as advice for other people - what can other people do to avoid situations like this?
"Mostly heterosexual?" Maybe marriage isn't for you....
Maybe not a bad thing that the husband insists on wearing condoms. At least there are no kids added to this mess now.
@ 15 - Build up better self esteem before you enter something as serious as a marriage. Or an affair.
Wow this LW has the worst case of 'he's great but' we've seen in awhile. She should get a divorce and aim way higher in choosing her intimate partners.
Mr Ricardo - Or, in this case, a divorce.
@ 20 - Good self-esteem is always a plus before a divorce, indeed.
Mr. Ven, I was expecting you to advocate for covenant marriage.

For H.A., do you think it would play out differently if the SS couple was M/M or F/F?
Ish, yuk, ick. LW, you have the worst taste in men, ever (well, maybe not ever, that's a bit of a reach, especially in this forum.) But it is only 50% their fault, you are the one that chose them, you were the one that stayed with them. Get the hell out of your crappy marriage ASAP. 15 years is long enough to prove that hubby doesn't give a shit about what you want, and yes, @8, sounds like he's seriously fucked up in one way or another. Get some counseling ASAP. Get your head on straight. Learn what a healthy relationship should look like, then go find it.
OMG, LW, you need to dump BOTH of them! Then go get counseling to figure why you're attracted to these selfish and CREEPY men! Buy lots of toys, and DON'T date again until you can break the habit of choosing these horrible men!
One thing I like about Dan's column is that he's willing to point out to letter writers when they're clearly bullshitting themselves. When they're glossing over what's probably a pretty red flag of jealous bad behavior. When they didn't ask it but they should DTMFA, in some letters.

But it's all deference like Scalia to a racist legislature as soon as the writer says they're /doing what they have to do to stay sane/. Why do you /have to do/ this whole thing? Is this marriage likely a good way for this writer to spend her life? Nobody believes it, but there's a polite fiction that of course people know their own choices best. "I'd pull the plug if I were you" padded in a parenthetical is as far as deference can allow.

WIFE, you are stuck, spending your life bound close together with a person you don't love. Getting higher-quality sex will only unstick you, what, six hours per week if you're rocking it? You can do better for yourself, and I say that even if you never date again.

This is one of those letters that make me think, why the hell did you marry this person? Someone that sexually inconsiderate wouldn't even get a second fuck out of me. Does her reference to the campsite rule mean that he was a teenager when they got involved? So she forgave him for fucking like a teenage boy, but then never insisted he grow out of it?

Great advice from Dan, nothing to add.
Jaymz @1: If he always uses a condom, then I'd expect there would be no kids.

No Excuses @15: Try before you buy? Don't have a second or third date with a crap shag?

MJMJMJ @16: Wow. Yeah, bisexuals aren't fit for marriage, even bisexuals who (by WIFE's account) have only ever had sex with the opposite sex. Maybe membership in the human race isn't for you.

WIFE says "He touches me in intimate areas in a way that feels like he's a teenager—"

Has she ever had sex with a teenager? The inexperienced teenagers I knew back when I was one and having sex with them were trying hard to get me turned on because it was implicitly understood that that was the only way they were going to get any further. If I wasn't totally turned on by the way they were kissing my breasts, they weren't going to get in my pants. There was something delightful about the sense of exploration, not fumbling, but genuine eagerness to find out, to touch me, discover my reaction, and keep going. The teenagers in my past were desperate to go down on me. I should look them up and thank them.

I mostly wrote to stand up for teenagers, but now that I'm here, I think my initial question was a good one. How did two such sexually incompatible people end up married? I can only think it's because neither of them had any experience as teenagers.

Now to the boring part. WIFE, tell your husband that the sex has to get better, or you're filing for divorce. Once you're divorced, date only unmarried men until you find one who's both great in bed and great to you in every other way.
8-Sportlandia-- I think you've hit on something, and the clue is in Mr. WIFE's disgust. I remember reading somewhere something that explained a lot. Being sexually aroused changes our feelings about bodily fluids. As I'm typing here and not feeling particularly turned on, there's something icky about cum and moisture and spit and sweat, an ickiness that disappears the moment I am turned on and in contact with them. It's a funny transformation. The fluids go back to yucky when I'm avoiding wet spots and doing laundry. But what if you were never really turned on? What if something in your sexual make-up left you disgusted the whole time? You'd probably wear a condom, jump up to shower immediately after, and do anything to avoid talking to a counselor about it.
Hmm. WIFE seems to contradict herself here:

"He touches me in intimate areas in a way that feels like he's a teenager—hedonistically groping"
"He won't put his hands or mouth anywhere."

So is he groping or not?

Regardless, @8 is right -- it sounds like he does have some deep-seated issues around sex. This is bolstered by his apparent not caring much that they haven't had sex for six years.
@30: I got the impression that he would grab her breasts and ass for his own turn-on (or because he thought he should), but not caress her body, slide his fingers inside her, or kiss-suck-lick her anywhere.
WIFE's husband doesn't appear to be a particularly sympathetic figure, however, @8/Sportlandia may be correct to suggest that her husband's behavior isn't merely selfish or inconsiderate, but the product of some trauma.

To me the real question is why WIFE would have married this man in the first place. Based on what information she provides and what information that often appears in letters to Dan, but does not in this case (e.g., religious upbringing, children, etc.), WIFE had to know that the sex was epically bad prior to getting married, and perhaps for a time she could convince herself that bad sex didn't matter, but ship set sail long ago. Given that WIFE mentions her age, but not her husband's, I'm left to believe that there is a significant age gap between WIFE and her husband, and that what drew WIFE to him (at age 23) was his income and the lifestyle that he could provide. WIFE made a huge mistake in marrying someone with whom she was not sexually compatible, and compounded that problem by carrying on several affairs. It's time for a divorce, and not, as Dan suggests, for an ultimatum to her husband to allow her to have her sexual needs met elsewhere.

WIFE has also demonstrated incredibly poor judgment in identifying suitable partners. It wouldn't hurt her to find a BFF to get a second opinion on men before getting into another relationship.
@30: Grabs with possession and sense of ownership of an object, not with intent to give her pleasure or based on any interactive element. She might as well be a realdoll to that end.
SA @32: See, I got the opposite impression, if anything. WIFE mentioned the campsite rule; that rule applies to younger and more inexperienced lovers. WIFE was in her early 20s when they got together. Husband could have been a similar age and inexperienced, or younger and inexperienced; perhaps WIFE's patience derived from a belief that Husband could learn.
@34/BiDanFan: I saw that reference, but it seemed untethered to the other facts in the letter, particularly to recent events, so I discounted that statement. But lets say WIFE is 34-36, which means she met her husband when she was 20-22. So was WIFE's husband 15, 16, or 17 when they met fourteen years ago? If so, I'm at a greater loss to understand why WIFE as a sexually experienced woman in her early twenties decided to maintain a sexual relationship with a really sexually inept teenager, or why she wasn't able to teach him anything at that age. Whereas if WIFE's husband is older, I can at least believe that this man's sexual shortcomings were deeply ingrained by the time he met WIFE. Also, while I get that "things are otherwise great," why would WIFE decided to take on several lovers, rather than end the relationship, when she was say 29 and he was say 25? There's no mention of children, and they wouldn't have been that established in their lives. Whereas it seems to me to be more understandable for her to do so when she is 30 and he was 45, and now she's 34 and he's pushing 50. But admittedly that's all conjecture.

Why'd you even marry this man in the first place? Get a DIVORCE.
@34: The years don't make sense for him to be younger, I think he was just an older, 30s virgin when they met. Which keeps more in the odd body-hating context of his behaviors.

Either way it's been 15 years and he only seems to be hating her and sex more as the years pile on. The exacts are less important than her extricating herself from all these diseased relationships.
Ms Cute - I was really just finishing Mr Ricardo's line for him. Covenant marriage doesn't seem a bad idea - but with which party?

All of these people sound like they have serious issues. The husband sounds like a piece of work, but I think WIFE is being disingenuous herself. "Never got around to" talking about sex at the counselor? BS. He won't touch you but he's groping you? Um, ok. Complaining that he wears a condom when you've been having multiple affairs (unclear whether he knows about them or not)? Creepy.
This could seriously have been written by me, except I have a kid and my husband doesn't have the depth of issues that this guy has. He does have the teenage boy thing in spades, though. The groping, goofy attitude and unwillingness to do anything besides PIV sex can be maddening--we barely even touch.
Here are my comments on this one. She's misquoting/misappropriating Dan's advice. First off, her citing the campsite rule had nothing to do with age, such as when she was first with him. If you re-read it, I believe she is talking about a more current situation. I don't think she understands the campsite rule, which is basically "leave it better than when you found it." I think she's taking it as "don't force someone to do something they don't want to do" which is fair, too, but not the campsite rule. Others have already commented that she didn't have a pass to cheat on him with Dan's "stay sane" clause. That being said, I think people are too quick to judge and say DTMFA. Maybe I can say this because despite having the same experiences, I stayed. With work AND someone who is willing to work, it is possible to improve things. Family is very important to some people, and yes, some people are more "stuck" than others. In my case, he is a good guy, too. A great guy, in fact. And I never lost sight of that, even with the stuff going wrong. But as Dan says, there's no settling down without settling. It sounds like she truly wants to work, and that he could probably go back to counseling. I was in this same place not that long ago, but I opted for making it better in my marriage. For those saying this husband is a complete A-hole, just reread the first part of the thing. I know it's one of those 'he's great, but...' but she does make a good case. It's an advice column for god's sake, she's going to focus on what's wrong.
SA @35: Who said WIFE was sexually experienced in her early 20s? Perhaps both of them were fumbling newbies. I've known more than a few men who didn't lose their virginities until they were in their 20s. It's certainly believable that she was 21, he was 19 or 20, they were both learning their way around, but Husband never quite caught on or had issues that WIFE herself wasn't experienced enough at the time to see weren't normal.

Or, yes, Undead, he was older and still inexperienced. That's a possibility too. Or older and experienced at bad sex with a string of girlfriends who eventually left him over it. Who knows.

Why did she cheat rather than leave, with no kids involved? Well, because they're such a great team in all other ways, and because their families get along great (another bit of evidence against a large age gap). And because women are socialised to sublimate their sexual desires, to not consider good sex important when your husband is a good provider, helps around the house, yadda yadda. Maybe she had the first affair because she wanted to find out whether other men were better lovers, and stayed when she discovered she could have her cake and eat it. Divorce is painful and messy; she clearly found an easier path.

Sharp @39: Indeed, I do think WIFE has to take some of the blame. She only half-heartedly asked for oral; if she really wanted to fix the problem, she'd say, you learn to do this and do it right or no PIV for you. She chickened out of bringing up their sexual issues at counselling. I'd guess she finds sex nearly as difficult to talk about as Husband, no doubt shamed by Husband's calling sex talk "rude." I think she needs to get some sex-positive counselling, whether or not she stays with Mr Issues here.
Yes Fan, and there was Dan Savage saying "do whatever you have to do.."
The three main protagonists in this story need to stop and take a good look at themselves.
LavaGirl @42,

unhealthy relationships all round
For years I've struggled with our sexual relationship. He takes and he does not give.
He does not make eye contact during sex, and indeed feels like he is not at all present.
Intercourse lasts about 5 minutes ... He makes me feel like a blow up doll.

I'm guessing the "for years" part means that the guy wasn't always this selfish.
Lava @42: Exactly. She cheated because Dan told her it was okay.

Roma @45: Either that or it didn't bother her in the beginning. Possibly, like I said, because she knew he was inexperienced and expected things to improve with practice.
@45: "I'm guessing the "for years" part means that the guy wasn't always this selfish."

She doesn't really mention a better time or hope, only his current/ongoing disdain for her body, her self, and all that he views of her.
@46: Exactly. From some friends' experiences I wonder if he was raised a strict "good" Catholic boy.
There are reasons that it's hard to bring up sex at a counseling session. I tried it once ("Once a year is not enough for me"), and my husband's rage, embarrassment, and enduring cold shoulder shut me down immediately. I've been divorced for six years, now married to a guy who wants to please me all the time. All. The. Time. Call me blissfully happy.
Yeah, maybe there's sexual trauma in the husband's past. But closeted gay husband fits, too. Not good or interested in pleasing a woman; vaginas have icky fluids in them; (or he has an STI and doesn't want to infect her out of decency or to remain closeted).

Time to check his browser history. If it's straight porn, is it some kicky stuff he can't bring himself to ask for? If it's gay porn, there's your explanation and his marching papers or your hall pass. If it's the vanilla stuff you've been doing, he's just an inconsiderate jerk in bed.

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