Savage Love

Gay Dream Believer



@102 Ugh. Whomever and you-know-who.


@fubar that is great - thanks for the tool! The irony is, of course, that the firdt and secnod things I'm going to try to do with it is block you and auntie grizelda so I don't have to read any more "first!" nonsense as I scroll down to comments with some content in them. Bye forever, hopefully!


Phi @93, thanks for the reminder about the cheating making this not the garden-variety sexless marriage letter. OMO already chose the unethical option, which you're correct may have doomed any chance this marriage might have had if they'd addressed it sooner. It's also not the garden-variety "we've talked this to death and nothing has changed." OMO admits he didn't bring this up with her. Indeed, he loses all do-what-you-gotta-do points for having made zero effort to solve the problem with his wife. And he's the one now saying, "If I had to do it over again I would have let my partner know exactly how important it is to me that we have a healthy, robust sexual relationship. Having a difficult conversation is better than acting out in a way that puts everyone’s health at risk and damages trust." Exactly -- this isn't "scolding"; it's recognising his own mistakes. Having recognised them, in his next relationship he can do what he didn't do before. In a sexual mismatch situation, there's no bad guy, but in a cheating situation, there is. For me, this guy doesn't get a pass because cheating was his first resort, not a last resort after attempts to address the problem.

EricaP @95, agree that Phi is being too judgmental regarding divorce. "Intolerant heart"? Love is just one aspect of a marriage, and love is not a permanent state. If you are miserable sexually or otherwise, divorce seems the sanest course of action to me. No, nobody HAS to get a divorce, Phi @97 -- where did that language come from? Of course they can choose to stay, and to remain miserable. It IS okay to walk away from an unhappy marriage. Your attitude is very odd.

Woofb @98, this has been said lots, but the solution to this has to come from both sides. Women rounding "meh" up to yes. And men being physically affectionate with their partners other than as a signal that they want sex. If one's partner kisses, cuddles and massages one on a regular basis, that can help turn one's dial from a resting 0 up to 2 or 3. Meaning that often these no-expectations expressions of affection can inspire -her- to progress them to sex. Quite often men don't initiate kissing or any kind of touch except as foreplay, which leaves their partners feeling used.

@Fubar, is blocking mutual? So you'll no longer have to read any of Afreschetta's trolling, either?


Phi @93, in other words, this isn't your "we did everything right and still this happened" situation. He did nothing right. But he seems, belatedly, to have learned his lesson. Looks like counselling worked a charm after all.


LW3, you’ve got it wrong, because the person with the lower desire for sex has to deal with the pressure from the one with the higher desire for sex. So no, nobody really gets what they want. And after twenty years of putting up with this situation, ain’t got nobody to point finger at than yourself. If our Italian writer from last week is still reading... see here is your future.


Trolling fan? And what would you call the crap furbar throws out. Why do you support such mediocre men?


There you were, Fan, worried a few weeks ago that furbar might block you. So suck up all you got I guess.
@104 just giving this man child his own medicine.


@25: "I wonder if it has anything to do with the toxic myth that most women don’t like sex?"

I wonder--how much is it a myth? Or, to extend the metaphor of a myth a bit: as with myths, there is often a grain of truth at the center of the myth.

Granted, not many people write to advice columnists to say how good their sex lives are, for obvious reasons--it is an advice column, not a brag column, or even an I'm-happy-with-the-way-things-are column. (Dan's "sexcess" feature in his blog is a happy exception to this.)

I certainly do not want to come across as supporting the Puritan (or worse) attitude that women do not and should not enjoy sex.

That notwithstanding, how many letters are written by men lamenting that their wives don't want to have sex, or don't want to very often, or who occasionally go through the motions but clearly do so more out of duty than enjoyment? Gazillions. Dan discusses it. Ann Landers discusses it. Esther Perel counsels couples about it. Etc.

How many letters are written by women who have high libidos and the men don't? More than a few, but not an avalanche. (Dan can correct me if I'm wrong.)

Why is lesbian "bed death" a thing?

Why is male gay "bed death" not so much a thing?

Women have told me that they never liked sex, but did it to make their partners happy, and/or to get pregnant; or that they purposely remain single so as not to have to put up with sex. I cannot think of a man who has ever said anything like that to me.

Plus, there's all that religious guilt training--less than in decades past, but still extant. And societal double standards. Plus lots of other factors.

I do want to emphasize that there's a huge difference between hating sex, and hating sex with an incompatible (or worse) partner. And, a huge difference between hating sex, and not wanting sex because someone is pregnant, or just gave birth, or is exhausted because she is working while rearing children while doing all the housework while taking care of elderly relatives while...

Others have mentioned the role of hormones, such as contraceptives, interfering with women's libidos.

All of this doesn't necessarily apply to most of the women reading this; after all, you're either sex-positive to begin with, or at least open-minded and here to learn more. But what about others?

How much of a grain of truth is there in the myth?


@110 MB
"Women have told me that they never liked sex"

How many of the straight women had partners who understood how female orgasm works, and cared enough to put that understanding into practice?

Because this is an huge issue, I'd need to know the answer to know if that data is telling us what you think it does.


Your username deserves a nice avatar. Until you adopt one I'll be using
for you.


Lava- your new beau raindrop, ever committed to saying the last word despite previous statements and denials, was praising fubar for their insight(!) at the end of last week’s comments thread, though likely got confused with philophile’s words of support.


BiDanFan @105: I plan to keep on reading Afreschetta's posts, because their current level of trolling is insipid and sophomoric, and I want to see if they can improve. It's not promising, but I'm an optimist. Still, methinks a future version of the add-on may append "I'm a little teapot" to all their future snivelling.

CMD @113: LMAO! Good to know that LavaGirl is enjoying her padded cell.


Late to the party, folks (too many distractions), but just wanted to add:
--Andrew Rannells is completely wrong. Dreams can be controlled. Lucid dreaming is real, and it can be achieved with practice. When I was a young whippersnapper, we didn't have melatonin or Mexican dream herb (Calea zacatechichi) to facilitate the experience; we just had now out-of-print books like Creative Dreaming by Patricia Garfield which suggested we write ALL our dreams down and basically convince ourselves each night we could have a lucid dream. You young kids today don't know how easy you have it. That said, even lucid, in all the encounters I've had in my dreams, lucid or otherwise, I've only come twice.
--LW2 is not only fake, it's probably his first attempt at writing erotica. Possibly also his first visit here, as it's clear he hasn't learned the SL argot.
--Making a request for simple character formatting, Stranger (bold, italic, underline would be enough for me). Thanks.


Gay men might be happier to avoid this comment, because Pussy is mentioned, a lot.
I think I just realised why cis girls are discouraged culturally, and religiously, from touching themselves.
Why you may ask; because it’s a domain of such soft cushiony flesh which Patriarchal forces within culture have feared, that once she felt such luxurious flesh, and it’s secret pleasure spot; once she mastered with her fingers, and lots of coconut oil/ other, then her reliance on the cis male, sexually, would diminish.
Yes, pleasure comes when a male member is present, not necessarily though does the woman reach orgasm thru PiV.
For years I didn’t touch myself, because Catholic, men in my life from twenty to sixty, so I didn’t rely on self pleasuring, once I got to it. Then it was perfunctory and often it felt annoying. I didn’t have to confront the internal conjunctions, because a man was around.
Till men left my life and desire wouldn’t also depart. I wanted done with both of them, or have as friends only, the men I mean.
Dan, the sweet man he is, and this thread, has helped me push thru the injunctions. My vagina gets a little sad, being neglected. I don’t go to a synthetic penis.
Then my clit says,’ girl, you had years of intense focus, now it’s my turn.’


Apologies to the cis lesbians. Cis straight/ bi women were the groups referred to @116.
I’ve tried several times with men, it’s different when the fertility shop has shut, it works quickly or it doesn’t.
I’m rather pleased some on this thread can’t read my comments.


It’s good to see you here, Erica. How you doing? California has suffered so much these last few years. The grief worldwide, overwhelming.
May you all stay safe this Holiday Season.


PS@116: I’m sure other feminists etc have come to this insight, and written of it. Haven’t read feminist lit for yrs.
I have the books, then I realize because they come from a second hand shop, oh I should have that book, it’s a decade out of date. I like novels, Art books, biographies. and my feminist self grows from my experience and what I find with my sisters, in real life and online.


BiDanFan, I think we actually agree.. I think people should leave marriages when they are miserable and they don’t want to be with their spouse. I guess I don’t understand when those people say they are still in love with their spouse, because I interpret “in love” to mean you love someone, but this love is different and special from other loves because you want to partner with them.

I was addressing the cliche that the three A’s should properly be addressed with divorce (abuse, adultery, and addiction). I disagree, I don’t think any behavior necessitates filing for divorce. It’s easier for me to empathize with the sadness of one who filed for divorce when they claim an emotional, rather than behavioral reasoning: that they have fallen out of love with their spouse, they don’t want to be together anymore.. it’s sad rather than a mistake because we can’t control how we feel.. we can do a lot to try to stay in love but ultimately we can’t control our feelings..

Personally, my reasoning is shaped by seeing my father regret divorcing my mother. And because I threatened to file for divorce once, and regret my behavior and consider it sort of insane. And I thought I was getting divorced earlier this year (husband filed for divorce), so the topic has been on my mind a lot.


Phi @120: "ultimately we can’t control our feelings". Ultimately, this may be true. But something I've learned in my dotage is that, in relationships that failed, I didn't do enough to cultivate those feelings.


I thought I was acting insane when I threatened divorce because I was still in love with my spouse.. I just felt unloved, like my spouse didn’t want to be with me. I think that was about the worst way to act on my feelings.

And that’s why I hope that the LW tries to calm down and work on his marriage for a year or two, if he just feels unloved. But certainly it makes sense to file for divorce if he feels like he fell out of love and doesn’t want to be with his wife anymore.


Lava, “ it’s different when the fertility shop has shut, it works quickly or it doesn’t. ”
Have you tried being physically intimate with a man after developing some emotional intimacy? I don’t understand how you can lose your taste for long paced-out lovemaking.. I guess that’s how post-menopausal hormones feel? It sounds scary.

Fubar, if we don’t feel inspired to do more, can we help it? Perhaps you learned to commit only to people with whom you were very/always inspired to grow together, despite obstacles, and had better results? I’d like to encourage people to keep trying (to protect themselves while growing together) as long as they feel “in love”, so they don’t regret “not doing enough” later.. but also to accept divorce as sad but healthy if they don’t want to be with their partner anymore (or if their partner falls out of love and files for divorce).

If I am missing something and my ideas are harmful in some way I don’t see yet, I’d appreciate the explanation. It’s a new soapbox for me.


I just read an article about in which the mother of the person on whom they based Boy Erased discussed what a mistake she made pushing him into conversion therapy. One does try to give apologies a tolerably fair hearing. (At the start of the campaign season, I found Ms Gabbard's apology, which basically amounted to a plea that she was just saying the wrong words, for her past actions underwhelming. I took exception to the way multiple gays were so desperate for crumbs that they proclaimed her worthy of total absolution - AOZLD [Always Order the Lobster, Darling, read as a Gabor]. Judging from the last bill she sponsored on her way out from Congress, it appears that she at least has a good deal more distance to cover.)

So, what was Mamma's top regret? I was unprepared; I don't know why. She and her husband were unaware of the scientific consensus that conversion therapy was undertaking an impossible task for an outside influencer - and one which often caused great harm. But this has been sinking in most unpleasantly. ThEy DiDn'T kNoW tHaT iT dOeSn'T wOrK - that is her great regret.

I am sure most regulars among the assembled company will give me credit for being able to provide a lengthy list of far superiour regrets for someone who had committed such a heinous act to have expressed. But I'm going to leave this right here before I start thinking about what positions people like this will conjure once anything does partly "work".


CMD, I feel much more supportive of you than of raindrop. You generally seem more understandable so there is less reason for me to write to you.. I just wish you well..


I still have long paced love making with myself, Philo. And yes to your question, I have tried to get close to men
emotionally, just haven’t found a fit. That’s harder with age, for a woman, finding men to connect with. Another injunction cis women get is to not expect to pull younger men. There’s a name for when we do it, cougar.. ‘men’ covers it when they do it.
Scary, post, The Change? No. It’s liberating. Now that all womb production no longer exists, it’s like I’m a man in some ways. No monthly bleeds no belly pain, I love it.


The stories spread about The Change are scary, Philo. Every woman experiences it differently. Because I’d had a child @47, and breastfed him till @51, I didn’t start The Change till late fifties. Then it was two yrs of less periods, and then nothing, physically. Mental things changed, I became more clear and aware about how restricted and contained I felt in my marriage, and I found the courage to brave life outside it. Didn’t count on him neglecting the parenting side, like throws up its curveballs.


That’s Life, not like.. Listened to Frankie the other day, remember my parents had The Young Lovers album.
Hey Grizelda, holiday hugs to you.


@111: "How many of the straight women had partners who understood how female orgasm works, and cared enough to put that understanding into practice?"

Excellent point.

Of course, it can also go the other direction. And there can be many other factors.


@69 joeburner2: WA-HOOOOOO!!!!! Big congratulations on scoring tis week's Lucky @69 Award! Savor the delectable honors and bask in the glory! :)

@100 fubar: WA-HOOOOOOOO!!!!! I know you already hit this week's highly coveted FIRDT! honors, but if you want to accept this week's Big Hunsky (@100) go for it. Griz is now playing catch-up after leaving her iMac off due to wind storms---and another one is coming tomorrow! So now is the calm before the next storm. Here Griz is, loving and missing her beloved love Beetle---but grateful to have him safely warm, inside, and safe from inclement weather.
I haven't yet checked Page 2 of the comments--so if you have passed on this week's Big Hunsky honors on to another lucky commenter, it is as you wish. :)


@104 afreschetta: And yet you're still here, trolling as usual. Begone, lil MAGA, before you draw more of Pence's flies. If you're so concerned about blockage, maybe you should contact Roto-Rooter. I understand they're particularly good at fixing excess spewage.

@105 BiDanFan: By default of afreschetta @104 trolling, and bragging about what he (she?) is ironically accusing many of us (myself, included) of doing, and by the gracious gesture of fubar, who has already scored this week's FIRDT! Award honors, so he is passing the honors on to the next commenter, this week's Big Hunsky riches shower upon you. Savor the honors and bask in the holiday glow. :)


@131: Ooops! Griz needs to make it official:

@105 BiDanFan: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! For reasons already stated above, you are the lucky recipient of this week's Big Hunsky @100 Award honors! Savor your newfound riches and bask in the glory. :)


@110 musicbiker and @111 curious2: Griz is late into the discussion this week, but your recent comments caught my attention. While I do admit that for me, sex was mostly unenjoyable, I am curious. What makes "good sex"---or, more to the point--what makes sex "amazing"? I wish I could have found out twenty, thirty, thirty-five years ago.
I have never experienced amazing sex. After a one-night stand and an unhealthy marriage, I have since wondered what it was about me that attracted such unloving, abusive and self-serving men.I have rarely, if ever, felt love from another person. So I haven't pursued it, focusing my passion on music, instead (oh how I LOVE the scene featuring Susan Sarandon and Jack Nicholson in The Witches of Eastwick, from 1987, on cello, piano, and extremely rare Stradivarius violin!).
Fortunately, my reproductive years and "the change" are mercifully over, thanks to my bilateral hysterectomy this summer. And nobody is bugging me to have a baby anymore. The internal reproductive organs (I had a tipped uterus since age thirteen, that had caused four decades' worth of bloody and painfully nasty monthly misery that was hereditary) that have until recently compromised the quality of my life are thankfully gone. Any last remaining wisps of libido I might have still had went with them.
I am neither bitter nor angry, because I am asexual by choice. I have no regrets about my surgery; I never planned on having children. What I feel now is blessed relief.

Okay--that's Griz's two cents' worth.


There is one recently published feminist book I bought, and have skipped thru. ‘ Mrs Pankhurst’s Purple Feather.’ By Tessa Boase. Those feminists were brave and feisty women.


Music @110, of the women who told you that they don't like sex, how many of those women are survivors of sexual abuse, or simply of bad lovers?
Certainly, there are some people of all genders who are asexual. But I think that a lot of the women who don't like sex (hi, Grizelda! Hi, my mother!) don't like it because their earliest introduction to it was as something traumatic or at least unpleasant. Either abuse or just selfish sex with a selfish partner, and no basis for comparison, no lived experience to convey that sex can be good for them too. (Griz, glad you've chimed in.) I've certainly had awful, traumatic sex; if I hadn't also had great sex, I too might conclude that sex is something to be endured or avoided.

Have you read the rest of the comments post-@25? It's not that women, inherently, don't like sex. It's that their drives work differently from men's. Lesbian bed death? That happens because two people with low-ish drives are depending on the other person to stoke the fire, and neither one is doing it because they aren't sufficiently motivated. Both of them would probably like the sex just fine if they had a more ardent partner, but they don't, and it's not a big enough deal to either of them to try to "fix." Or they both caught the seven-year itch. It's not evidence that women, generally, don't like sex. Which is the theory being discussed -- the reason marriages become sexless is because women don't like sex. Please read the thread for several counter-explanations.

Phi @120, I had not heard that cliché so thank you for telling me what you were responding to. I agree, that sounds absolutist and it does seem fascist to tell anyone that they MUST end their marriage for any reason. Many things can be worked through. There is always a choice, but that choice is often "leave and be happy or stay and be miserable." You could stay and be miserable, of course you can (general "you"). But if you choose that route, the people advising divorce are probably not going to be sympathetic to your future complaints about the same issue.

Phi @122, thanks for clarifying that you're the one who you thought was acting insanely by threatening to divorce someone you were in love with. Does the word "threatening," though, mean that you weren't entirely serious? You were instead making an ultimatum with your hope being that things would improve. And it felt insane because what if he chose the ultimatum? You'd be left with the opposite outcome from what you wanted, how "insane" would that be. (I'm using your word but I don't like it, it stigmatises people with mental health issues. I would prefer to use the word irrational.) I agree it is irrational to threaten divorce when you want to stay married. But "still loving that person" and "wanting to stay married" are not the same in many cases. I broke up with a partner I still loved when it because clear we could not resolve our differences. We weren't married but we owned a home together, meaning we had to go through a divorce-like process to divide our assets. That you still love the person is the reason a breakup is painful. And that I still loved him is the reason we are now close friends -- I love him as a person, I was in love with him as a partner, but with time and emotional distance I have come to love him differently, in a way that does not force a relationship with people with fundamental incompatibilities. Breaking up was sane because we were unhappy as partners but are happy as friends.

I hope you and your husband can work things out. And I thank you for sharing your family history. But I would say that the vast majority of divorced people do not regret it one bit, they only regret not making the decision sooner. Divorced people, do you agree?

Griz @132: Woo hoo! Happy hunsky to me!


It's not true as a general proposition that women don't like sex. I'd say it's true as a general proposition that women don't like being pestered for sex. And when her drive drops post NRE and his doesn't, his initiating the same amount of sex as before feels like pestering, and that puts her off, making her desire him even less. Whereas if he expected this and responded differently, they could still be enjoying regular sex, less than before but mutually enthusiastic rather than sporadic and grudging.


Thanks, fubar, for the link to the explanation. I can see how that would be useful for the regulars here. As an irregular, I don’t think I’ll need it. (Plus I have no clue how to install an extension or whatever.) I just scroll and skim; if there’s a comment that doesn’t interest me (usually TL:dr) I just scroll past. It’s kind of sad that some of you have such disdain for others that you feel the need to block. (I will admit that I often scroll past vennominon’s posts, not out of disdain, more due to lack of reference points. I usually can’t make heads or tails out of his comments. Ven, would you consider posting a bibliography of authors and titles you reference, and perhaps an abbreviation glossary? That would be so helpful and an aid to broadening my education.)

The topic of libido incompatibility brings up some relationship issues for me. I agree that women may more often need to have a warmup to feel they want sex. I had an early adult relationship that went bad; toward the end I had to perform at least daily to keep my partner on an even keel. (With an at minimum daily blow job he was tolerable to be around, not necessarily abusive otherwise, but irritable, like a toddler who needs a nap.) After that, I vowed to never again have sex with anyone when I didn’t want to. And for the most part, I haven’t. This has made me ineligible for normal long term sexual relationships as far as I can tell. Most women partnered with men frequently (between sometimes to always) have sex or start having sex when they are not all that interested. As the book says, if they start, they often get into it. I just don’t want to start if I’m not already into it.

A small point about kink (bdsm being my usual flavor.) I might have been unwilling to have sex, e.g. give a partner a blowjob, but I could willingly do something that felt neutral to me but was sexual to my partner. E.g. Give a flogging (as a top) or be of service (as a bottom) to be somewhat GGG in a way that didn’t require me to “have sex.”

In my later years, I’ve had some good FWB type relationships but nothing where anyone relied on me exclusively for their sexual activity. I considered myself “single poly.” Nowadays I consider myself asexual (had a different outcome from menopause than Lava) and happy to never have to deal with anyone else’s sexual urges ever again. Such a relief.

I don’t recommend this strategy particularly. It evolved for me from a degree of brokenness. But so often in our culture there is pressure to partner. Sure you can do that. But you don’t have to. Being single, having rich friend relationships, developing a “family” of loved ones without legal or biological ties is definitely a possibility! There is no need to be trapped into a lifetime of serving someone else’s sexual desires. (Or perhaps worse, not serving those needs when you’ve promised to, before god and everybody, because you just Can’t anymore.) Marriage is heaven, or hell, depending; I’m happy to have not visited either way.


@135 BDF
"divorced people do not regret it one bit, they only regret not making the decision sooner. Divorced people, do you agree?"

HELL yes.

Technically, I regret not being /able/ to make the decision sooner. I made the decision as soon as I was healthy enough to.


@135 BDF
"divorced people do not regret it one bit, they only regret not making the decision sooner. Divorced people, do you agree?"

Not in my case. I stayed until my kids were almost teens, and growing out of needing me full-time the most (plus, I lived close & had 50% custody, so it wasn’t like I just disappeared from their lives). It also wasn’t a toxic, constantly fighting type situation, just the love had gone. I would have stayed married a few more years, but the ex didn’t want to, so we split. It worked out as well as it could, and we’re e still friends. Kids struggled a bit (and maybe still do, subconsciously) but I think we modeled an adult way to deal with a breakup, and hopefully that will help them down the line.


BDF, thanks for the word correction.. "irrational and self defeating" is much more compassionate and apt than "insane".. I was grumpy when I first started writing about this.. And no, it was not an empty ultimatum, I was convinced that he had never really wanted to share our lives, and felt leaving was the "right thing to do" because I couldn't believe that he loved me while acting so unlovingly. I failed to appreciate the vastness of human variety again. I wish I would have tried to protect myself within the marriage instead, while I still felt in love with him, and that's what I've tried to do since and have felt much more proud of my actions as a result, and my life got better.. I've fallen out of love before, and I've noticed that my love withers when I am mistreated or lack healthy intimacy, so I've come to trust my feelings will change and I won't feel the same motivation to share lives with him if divorce is truly the right choice for me. I've been in love before, and when I fall out of love, I rarely stop loving them.. It is more that the "in love" feeling fades into a more general appreciation that they exist.. A more familial or friendly love.. Now I don't think that divorcing is ever the "right thing to do" unless I've fallen out of love and thus my emotions are in agreement... Protecting myself is always the healthy, right thing to do, though.. That's what I concentrate on when I feel unloved, expressing myself and caring for myself, which lets me care for my spouse more..

I'm not great at talking about emotions, but I try..

Thank you for the well wishing.

I can't tell if LW still feels in love with his wife.. If he still hopes they can be happy together, if there is any good intimacy left to build on.. Whatever he feels, I hope he trusts his gut and doesn't make big decisions just because a therapist or internet article told him what to do.. I really like that Dan didn't assume divorce or reconciliation here..

I was under the impression that when people divorced because they fell out of love, it helped both spouses..

Also.. I don't have sex unless I feel drawn to have sex. And I also think it's important to keep myself open to sex. So I try to explain why I am feeling bad or ask for something that I think will make me feel sensual, if I'm not in the mood, so we have an idea of when sex might happen soon, if not right now.. I really really appreciate when he tells me what he needs when he's not in the mood, maybe I can just shower more, or do more housework or take more time to cuddle outside of bed, or wait until a big project is over.. I'm way happier if sex is challenging than if it's just not happening.. I didn't think this was unusual in LTRs.


Why don't women with horny men suggest that the guys give them oral while getting themselves off? It's still sex, just maybe selfish sex.. If that feels uncomfortable, maybe letting the guy squeeze or lick their boobs while getting themselves off? That seems like sex. Even just making out with the guy while they get off seems like sex, and pretty easy to do even if you're not horny.. I'm usually the high libido partner and I'm grateful for this sort of masturbation-aid sex, so I'd assume it could satisfy guys in a pinch, too..


Phi @140, I don't think it's possible to generalise about any of this in a way that doesn't leave the door open for countless exceptions, because every relationship, every situation is different. What I would ask, however, is what happens when protecting oneself is at odds with staying when you are in love? Sometimes it is a choice between two evils, two pains, and leaving is the lesser pain. Abuse would be one example of this, or gaslighting, or staying with a chronic cheater who promises to change but never does. Sometimes one accepts the short-term pain of breaking up with someone they're in love with but who is causing them other pain, and will continue to do so as long as the relationship lasts. It seems sane/rational to divorce when heartbreak is the lesser pain.
Another example would be protecting someone else. What if one was married to, and in love with, someone who was abusing the children? I hope I've given you some examples of when divorce can be rational even when you are still in love.

"I was under the impression that when people divorced because they fell out of love, it helped both spouses." Again, I can think of some exceptions. What if one spouse is disabled and dependent on the other's health insurance? Even if they were no longer in love, divorce might harm the dependent spouse, such that they might instead decide to stay legally married but behave as friends. Divorce can be costly; lawyers are expensive, and maintaining one household is always cheaper than maintaining two. So people might be emotionally better off by ending a stalled marriage but financially worse off, again, to the point that they might instead decide to live as roommates.

As to your final paragraph, if you're usually the higher-libido partner then the idea of having sex when you don't feel like having sex isn't really something you've encountered. Wait until menopause and then perhaps you'll see what is meant by that. Until recently, it was rare that I felt meh towards sex, other than for short periods -- I might be stressed or tired, but I'd be back to feeling up for sex by the next day, so it was rarely an issue. Perimenopause means that weeks go by without my getting an urge to merge or even masturbate. Simply saying no felt unfair to my partner; it wasn't HIS fault I wasn't feeling horny; it was nothing HE'D done to make me not want sex, and was he going to have to wait weeks or more until I felt frisky again? That felt cruel; having a conversation about how I was feeling, and promising to try to get in the mood, but also telling him what I needed from him seemed a much better way of addressing the issue than simply withdrawing sex because my hormones weren't doing their thing.

Phi @141, sure, that's an idea that may work for some. For me personally, if I'm not horny, I'm just as meh toward the idea of receiving (or giving) oral sex as having PIV. I would be happy to make out with a partner and squeeze his balls while he masturbated (and sometimes that gets me hot enough to want to join in), but like you say, oral sex is sex so that's not something I would substitute for sex, IYSWIM. Mileage may of course vary.


That said, I've never actually had someone offer oral sex while masturbating as an alternative if I'd said I wasn't in the mood for sex, so, depending on factors I can't foresee, I can't honestly tell you that I would say no if asked. It's not something that appeals, but I've certainly tried a lot of things that didn't appeal as a concept and enjoyed some of them!


A recent book find is Thomas Morton’s ‘The Seven Storey Mountain’, add a little Christian talk to my season reading.
May not feel like Xmas, when kids around you gotta do something.


@BiDanFan135: "That happens because two people with low-ish drives are depending on the other person to stoke the fire, and neither one is doing it because they aren't sufficiently motivated."

This is a perfectly-worded description. And it also happens in opposite-sex relationships.


Though being a grandparent is way easier. Santa’s got his vaccine I read and is good to go.


BDF, "What I would ask, however, is what happens when protecting oneself is at odds with staying when you are in love? "
Since it is possible to be married and live two separate lives, I don't think divorce is necessary to protect oneself. It may be a choice between living apart while married and living apart while divorced.. It seems like if you feel in love with your spouse, it is easier to live separately while married unless/until you fall out of love.. Whether the problem is abuse, addiction, adultery, sexlessness or anything else you'd find hurtful or hard to handle.. If you can't protect yourself from your spouse, I think that learning to protect yourself better is the priority.. Learning to live separately and support yourself, maybe.. If one spouse is incapable of self sufficiency anymore, perhaps trying to build a wider and more secure social network? But yes, I think companionate marriages are fine, too, if that's what they both want. What seems unhealthy is saying that you are still in love with someone but had to divorce them (because of their actions). While if one tries hard but falls out of love (because of their actions), that makes sense to me.


@135 BiDanFan: This week's Big Hunsky couldn't go to a more deserving recipient. Again, hearty congrats on your newfound holiday riches.:)

and @135 BiDanFan: As a divorced person, I do agree 100% with your comments.
However, I'll go one further: I wish I had never married him at ALL. I was railroaded into having a toxic relationship with my ex, who had been stationed across town. Another woman in my supply division (back when I was active Navy, 1989-1993) had initially been engaged to marry him. He physically assaulted her, prior to my checking onboard my command. When I arrived, unaware of what was going on, she set up a blind date for the two of us, in an effort to pawn him off on me and divert his abusive focus away from her. Our chain of command bent over backwards to protect her and left me to defend myself.
It was a bad situation for me. If I had remained single and had not been afforded off-base housing with my abusive-boyfriend-turned-abusive-spouse, while avoiding living in isolation south of town, I would have been subjected otherwise to living in women's barracks. The female on-base facility itself was a henhouse hellhole in which, if one's personal belongs weren't locked up or chained down they usually got stolen. Women who had been there the longest had an attitude of seniority, superiority, and entitlement. On-base men's housing was just as bad for my ex.

I am now wondering---what if I had met someone else, been blessed with a healthy sex life and everything had been different? By the time the other woman in my supply division had gotten out of the Navy (she didn't re-enlist, and neither did I when our four years were up) I was already legally--and unhappily---married. Meanwhile, the bespectacled 98-lb. weakling who pawned him off got away. and I was stuck with him. It wasn't until we had moved back to Washington State when I entered veteran status, returning to school on my Montgomery G.I. Bill, Chapter 30 where I was closer to my immediate family that I was in a better position to leave him after nine years. The only thing I had done right during that entire nasty episode was not have children with him. I had to battle my ass off, too, to remain childless by choice. I had in-laws who believed I "owed" them grandchildren / nieces and nephews (that they would most likely hardly ever see from two states away), equally clueless colleagues and male friends of my ex's ( their idea of birth control, i.e.: "If we just put it in a little, we'll be okay") who all had the stupidest rationalizations for having children. In retrospect, after 19 years upon looking back, I have dodged a major bullet. Otherwise, my ex, however inflammatorily abusive and mentally unstable an individual, would still legally have visitation rights to any daughter or son I might have had with him.


Phi @147, the counter argument I would make is that when you are married, your finances are legally those of your spouse and vice versa. Marriage makes you financially vulnerable to another person's whims. If one were married to a compulsive gambler, that person could legally drive you into debt or even bankruptcy. If financial irresponsibility is the problem (as it was in my marriage), self protection would mean divorcing as soon as possible. If your estranged spouse lied on their tax return, you could be liable; if one of you died without a will, the other would inherit everything, which you might not want if you had other important people in your life who could use the money.

What it sounds like you are talking about is a trial separation, living apart while still married but in love. "We love each other, but we can't work out our problems, let's try living separately for a while" usually leads to a decision one way or the other, reconciliation or divorce. If, like Lava, you are just both happier living alone, but want to maintain the relationship, you could live in separate homes. I don't think your hypothetical situation is common -- both people are in love with each other but hurt by each other's actions. What seems more common is one person remains in love while the other does not, and the one who is not in love either lacks the courage or thinks it financially unwise to end the marriage, but stays and treats the other one badly. If the one in love is being treated badly they have to accept the love is gone on the other side, which means the marriage is unsustainable. (Or not -- again, in cases of the three A's as you say, and many other possible situations, the love may be there, but the behaviour makes self protection more important.) Certainly I can see situations where your solution makes sense -- what if, for instance, the unacceptable behaviour were cheating, and they decided to live apart and open the marriage to a DADT. That could solve the issue of one spouse causing the other pain by cheating and allow them to stay married. A creative solution that may or may not work, but could be worth a try if indeed they both love each other.

"What seems unhealthy is saying that you are still in love with someone but had to divorce them (because of their actions)." That seems to me a sign of strength. If you are thinking about your father, who is still in love with someone he divorced years ago, that's a different question in my mind. I agree that if you consider yourself still to be "in love" with a long-ago ex, therapy seems in order. I think it seems normal/rational/healthy to be in love with someone, divorce them because of their actions/irreconcilable differences, and once that decision is made the feelings begin to fade, and the person sees in retrospect that it was the right decision though difficult at the time. There are some people we never completely "get over," but I wouldn't necessarily call that unhealthy either (thinking of Nocute), so long as those feelings can be compartmentalised and not play an unnecessarily large role in one's life. If the feelings hinder forming new relationships, then that sounds like a problem.


@148 griz
"I wish I had never married him at ALL"

And I agree with that too (I wish I'd never married her at all).

But would that alone have solved anything for me (or for you)? The then-me would have just went on and made some /different/ terrible choice of partner.

I don't know if this is constructive for /you/, but it absolutely is for me. Seeing the problem as my own need to learn to make better choices. And my bad choices were the way I learned that. (And while I guess it's theoretically possible to, I don't think I was gonna learn any other way.)

In other words, wishing I had never married her would be more of an impractical fantasy than any kind of solution.

Now that you mention it, what I wish is that I hadn't even become someone who would make such bad choices; and I think that would have involved being born to different parents.

"I was railroaded into having a toxic relationship"

I of course don't know the details of that and I don't wish to contradict you. But personally I like to see a bad relationship not as a trainwreck that happened /to/ me (that I was a victim of), but something I chose very badly.


Curious @150, in my case the act of having gotten married was a bigger mistake than being with this person at all, due to the financial entanglements I referred to earlier. If we hadn't married, it wouldn't have seemed a logical next step to buy a house, which was repossessed a few years later when he failed to make the mortgage payments. So while I don't wish away the whole relationship, since we were madly in love and had some great times and amazing sex, I do wish we hadn't made that legal commitment so that when we grew apart (as is near inevitable with one's first serious relationship), we could have just broken up without the legal and financial baggage. Wishing anything about the past is an impractical fantasy; the solution I would propose for my mistake was that the minimum age for marriage should be raised to 25, then we wouldn't have been allowed to get married, as much as our young misguided selves wanted to.


@151 BDF
"Wishing anything about the past is an impractical fantasy"


"we were madly in love and had some great times and amazing sex"

Us too, and yet...

"don't wish away the whole relationship" was such a net negative I'll wish it all away. (In complete futility, since if not her then someone else maybe even someone worse for me. Like the one that pretended to try to run me over with her car. [Though I'm sure y'all can relate; who here has not fantasized about running me over with their car?])


A few years ago, I had a little reunion with old friends from my teen years. We were all in our early to mid 50s. Every one of us had been divorced (all but me, remarried). Someone asked what we would do differently if we could go back in time, and interestingly, not one of us said "get married to now-former spouse" or "get divorced from now-former spouse." Most of our "one thing"s involved education or career choices. One, formerly married to a genuinely difficult, mean, probably borderline woman, considered the marriage to be the thing he'd not do, but then said that it was worth it because otherwise he wouldn't have his kids.

I think people who are parents tend to think that the fact of having had their children makes up for or somehow redeems the failed marriage ("if I hadn't married Joey, I wouldn't have had Tony"). Only one of us had had no children from the first marriage, but even he didn't list his first marriage as the thing we wouldn't do if he could only choose one thing.


The "what if I had lived my differently" question is analyzed in a fascinating recent piece in the New Yorker.


If I had an alternative life, five people and their offspring wouldn’t be here. And one son, who is no longer here.
Interesting you saying that nocute, re people being happy bout children, because I feel my choice of co parents had a lot to do with unconscious selecting of their DNA, rather than logically checking their parenting skills etc.


The thing about going back in time is you don't know where to stop. curious2 mentioned his childhood/parents/upbringing, and I think that's relevant in that if we don't address the factors that led us to make the choices we later regret or lightly regret, who's to say we wouldn't make equally poor choices from the same motivation. But how far back should we go?


Thank you, Ens.Pulver, for the link to that New Yorker piece.


@150 curious2: "Of course I don't know the details of that and I don't wish to contradict you. But..."
Seriously? I stopped reading at the word but. Are you male? How fortunate you are not to ever know what grave consequences can come to you as a female from date & / or marital rape, such as the possibility of unwanted pregnancy and forced childbirth. I amazingly managed to avoid both. I served the in U.S. Navy during the Gulf War (1991), and ironically, although I was never deployed overseas to a foreign country that enforced severely misogynist and restricting views of women, my biggest battle was domestic violence in the very country I had raised my right hand to defend.
Like anyone else, I have made my share of bad choices, too. However unhealthy my decision to say yes at the altar and marry such an ill-tempered man was ( I thought he loved me. I thought I understood him. I thought I could actually help him), my toxic relationship hadn't been entirely my choice. It was a clever trap that the other woman in my supply division devised out of sheer desperation, to get him out of her life. Adding fuel to the fire, I was then stationed 1,300 miles away from home and isolated. My brother and his family living 100 miles away were the closest relatives. I had clearly been set up and had to fend for myself.
Have you ever been in so abusive a relationship that your manipulator leaves you feeling like he / she will change--promises, promises---only never does, and that he / she is the best you'll ever get? He promised to change, and I believed him for nine years too long. The longer one stays in an unhealthy relationship like mine was, the harder it is to be able to leave safely, unthreatened, and unharmed. Such permanently damaging relationships are hard to leave. With every attempt to leave I faced increased violence. My life was repeatedly threatened. I was living on eggshells. My parents had many sleepless nights worrying about my health and safety before I finally snapped, left him, got out, divorced, got away, and started over. I could not possibly have succeeded 19 years ago without the help of a strong support network available 24/ 7. Otherwise i'm certain I'd be dead now and not part of this comment thread.
Abuse is not about love. It's all about who's in control. Controllers rarely, if ever, want to lose the ones they're controlling. And they're far too often willing to go so far as commit murder in order to stay in what they believe is control.

@156 nocutename; I agree with you and curious2 there. Good points.
For me, my one bad marriage serves as a reminder of what I don't ever want to have repeated again in my life.


@154 Ens. Pulver: Thank you for the link. I subscribe to The New Yorker, and found the article fascinating too. :)


@158 griz
"I stopped reading at..."

When someone tells me they stopped reading, I won't be writing anymore.


@156 nocute
"childhood/parents/upbringing...But how far back should we go?"

Yes absolutely. My parents were the way they were because of (among other things) behavioural patterns that go back uncounted generations. And I think that all those patterns go back to the challenges of survival in reality. So ultimately I blame reality.


@160 curious2: Did you stop reading at my comment @158 at the point where when I asked if you were male? I felt your earlier comment (re @150) was a bit condescending. You commented that don't want to contradict me.....but. You did. Then in the next breath you admitted that you (obviously) weren't there to witness what happened. Well, no, but you couldn't possibly know. I felt that my comment @148, however lengthy, had summarized the ugly years of my life between 1989 and 2001 sufficiently. Apparently this was not the case.
Please re-read my comment @158 again. It's the whole story.
I agree: you should stop writing if you get to the point where you say "Gee, I think I can really feel your pain, .......but........"
To me it implies that you really don't.


@162 griz
I'm under the weather today, so I will get to the point.

No one was disputing that you had a terrible abuser; you completely misunderstood my @150. Which is hardly surprising since you didn't read it.

Yes I read your subsequent comments, but since you didn't understand mine it is hardly surprising that yours weren't relevant to mine.

In case you choose to read/re-read my @150, you'll see that my concern was with your construction @148 that you were "railroaded into" your marriage.

A person who won't admit they (now quoting the point you bloody didn't read @150) "chose very badly" sounds like a person who is saying that they are /still/--that they have not grown from--the person who made that bad choice. (Whereas what I wish for you, is to be a person who can say that they are now a person who would not have chosen so badly.)

Precisely because the whole point of existence is growth, I thought it could be helpful to take issue with your presentation that getting married to that monster was not a bad choice on your part, but an occurrence which you /only/ blamed others for.

Now, I guess it's possible that someone could marry a monster without having been presented any clues of that which Sherlock Holmes could discern, but the monster would need to be a very great actor.

"the point where you say "Gee, I think I can really feel your pain""

You should now see that that was not my message. But that was me trying to be gentle while I was trying to be helpful. I admit not helpful in a way that I expected you'd find it easy to hear; I understand if you still don't want to hear it and are still unhappy that I tried. In that case I of course regret and apologize for having tried in futility.


@163 p.s.
In other words, I think it is "absolutely"" (as I wrote @150) "constructive" not to think of a marriage as though it were a meteor that landed on one, that one could not possibly have known to avoid.


@163 & @164 curious2: And, twice again, and after expressing so many words, you have missed my point. I was not ALONE in that bad choice of getting into a toxic relationship / marriage. I had help, and lots of it. I feel I have learned from the traumatic experience not to make the same mistakes I had made then. but I am indeed consequently in VA PTSD therapy now for good reason. Any attempts on your part to make me see otherwise are indeed, futile.
I'll ask you a question, then, since you're so stubbornly insisting that I'm blaming everyone else for what happened then, otherwise since that time period having gotten on with my much better quality of life, largely by my eliminating unhealthy relationships, situations, and by setting boundaries.
Here goes "absolutely" nothing, but worth a college try:
What would YOU do in the following scenario?
If YOU, curious2, were a female in her mid 20s who had once willingly volunteered for a four year enlistment in the U.S Navy, something your guilt-tripping, gold-digging narcissistic older sister would laugh herself into a brain hemorrhage in doing, only to find out later that it was merely a self-serving plot to eliminate you from your share of the family estate (ever hear of military service members missing or getting killed in action?), to be stationed 1,300 miles from home and the family lifestyle you knew, your then hopes, dreams and aspirations then put on hold until whenever,. You then report to your one shore command, unaware of the toxic masculinity and male dominant work environment. Vulgar rape "jokes" are common. Men's locker room ethics abound. Republicans (like those during these last four years) control the White House. Women on the base are unfairly divided into two subcategories: a) slut, if she's thin and physically attractive; b) dog or cow if she's overweight and not fitting into a size 2 dress with a side slit.
Unbeknownst to you, there is an underhanded plot to get an abusive fellow service member stationed across town from distracting a small, thin, shy, bespectacled supply clerk from her duties. Ah, at long last! The chain of command develops plans to shelter her while designating the "new girl in Supply" newly checking on board to act as this poor, 98 lb. weakling's keeper on top of her assigned duties in your department. The 98 lb. weakling has little military bearing? Poor personal hygiene habits? Frequently wears stained and wrinkled uniforms? A bit slow on actually getting things done? No problem--the new girl is supposed to take care of all that, everything, and everybody else, staying late after everyone else goes home, while doing the work of four people in war time. Not even a consequential lumbar strain and a doctor's light duty chit gets YOU, the new girl, any relief.
On top of this, the new girl--YOU---get handed--yes!- HANDED- the abusive fellow service member who was once engaged to the 98 lb. weakling until he beat her up, and your chain of command stepped in to protect her. All the while YOU, the newbie, are left to fend for yourself.You are later allowed to foolishly marry this abusive man with a long family history of anger problems. Your chain of command KNOWS how unhealthy he is to be around, but does nothing---N-O-T-H-I-N-G----to intervene to prevent such a toxic relationship (aren't YOU needed at your command, too?). Oh, and by the way, there are only seven of you in your Supply department, serving instructors, trainees, VIPs, and all other departments in the chain of that particular command, in war time as well as during peace time. Seven individuals serving over 1,000 people at any given time.
Despite everything, YOU go on doing--or trying to do the best you can under the circumstances.
Then your unsympathetic tyrant of a Chief Petty Officer is hell bent on sending YOU to don camouflauge, and, with an M-16 rifle, accompany instructors and trainees on field operations, all on top of your regularly assigned unsurmountable tasks. Having been raised in an anti-gun household due to a heartbreaking family tragedy when you were a small child (an uncle in his teen fatally shot himself with a 12-gauge rifle. and your parents had to clean up the mess), you ask not to be given the additional assignment (while the 98 lb. weakling gets to sit in the front office all day, doing NOTHING). YOU beg, plead, practically get down on your knees, knowing that this is not a good fit. There are other individuals within your supply department better suited to go on these additional monthly field operations.Nope. Cuts no ice with your stubborn CPO.
One week into war time, suddenly with three times the super-macho, conditioned to be killer cyborg trainees being pushed through your command, YOU finally mentally --and physically--snap from working under duress (at this point, your abusive boyfriend has threatened your life with rape, physical assault, and attempted strangulation at your apartment off-base). With a box knife in your hand, YOU are ready to end it right there in your Supply department warehouse, with plans to slash your wrists. If a Hospital Corpsman from the tiny medical clinic (designed to exclusively address men's health needs; female personnel were vanpooled off base into San Diego) HADN'T been at the right place and time, YOU would most likely be dead from your own suicide.

I know full well, from your latest and indeed, futile string of condescending responses that you won't even bother to read this. I am satisfied, however, having spoken my peace, and am going back to the current week's SL comment threads.
Merry Christmas (your choice of holiday here) and Happy 2021.


@165 griz
I apologize for my misguided attempt to be helpful. It is clear to me that you have had an extremely difficult life, and could not have done anything better.

Sending love and positive vibes to you.


I’m curious what the personality correlates are to straight women with high libidos. Even outside any patriarchal structures, I don’t think women who like to fuck a lot are necessarily the wifey type. When straight men look to “settle down” they’re often yammering on about how they want a woman who’s sweet and supportive and will boost their self esteem or whatever. How often does Doris Day really fuck?

I’m more like the blonde chick in It’s a Wonderful Life. I’m very sexual and enjoy men but have no desire to be their mother or baby them. Probably no surprise I’m unattached and in an undesired nunnery this past year. Maybe I’m more suited to be a mistress, idk.