Two weeks ago, I read your advice to the man who was afraid his "best buddy" was about to marry a woman with a low sex drive which, in his and your opinion, would be the biggest mistake of his life. I like your column because you're down to earth and compassionate. But you often tell people to dump their partners because they're sexually incompatible, or unwilling to indulge their fantasies. I find that a bit harsh, because I'm afraid I'm one of "those people."
My sex drive disappeared in my mid-20s. I'm now 35. My husband of two years knows, but as long as I put out, he doesn't care. We love each other, and I never refuse him even though I hate sleeping with him, because I can't expect a healthy, relatively young man to live a celibate life. I find sex boring, strenuous, messy, and disgusting. I basically just hand him a bottle of lotion, close me eyes and try to think of something else while he does his thing. He seems relieved that he doesn't have to waste time on trying to get me hot, which would be futile anyway. So, is he supposed to leave me, because he knows he could get better sex elsewhere? Or I him, because it doesn't bother him to do something to me I detest? Outside of the bedroom, everything is fine. So, please be a little more gentle to low-or-no-sex-drive people like me; we also need love.
Please Don't Publish My Name
My response—and PDPMN's response to my response, and my response to her response—after the jump.
If your marriage works for you, and it works for your husband, and you're both happy... I'm not going to kick down your door and order you to fuck him with more enthusiasm, DPDMN, or order him to leave you. You're happy? He's happy? Then I'm happy. In general, however, the folks who write me about their low-to-no-sex-drive partners aren't happy, PDPMN, so... my advice for them is gonna differ from my advice for your and your husband.
A question for you though: Okay, so you hate sex. That's fine. We all have our likes and dislikes. (I hate Glee, people who take a drag off a cigarette right before they board the bus and then exhale once they're on the bus, and Joe Lieberman.) But I'm curious how you would feel if your husband did this thing you hate with other people, or with one other person. If he stayed with you and loved you just the same, would you object to him having sex—boring, strenuous, messy, and disgusting sex—with someone else? (I don't object to my boyfriend watching Glee with other people, but I would have to leave him if he smoked or was Joe Lieberman.)
It's something to think about, PDPMN, because while he may be content masturbating inside you for the moment, at some point down the road he may want to experience or re-experience being with a woman who's excited about being with him, someone who enjoys sex and responds positively to his efforts in the sack. Since sex isn't something you value, since it's not what marriage is about for you, would you allow him to have sex with someone else, perhaps with a woman whose husband feels the same way you do? Or do you require him to do this thing—this thing you hate—with you only?
If he stayed with me and loved me just the same, yes, that would be all right. Less trouble for me. But it doesn't always work this way; he might fall in love with the other woman. I guess I'll either have to count on him being too lazy to make and effort in bed with anyone, or work on my acting skills. Thank you for your answer.
He could fall in love with another woman even if he doesn't have your okay to sleep around, PDPMN. And if you're worried that he might sleep around... then, yeah, you might want to get to work on those acting skills. And you might want to read this New York Times Magazine story for a little insight on other women who, like you, have no-to-low-sex-drives but are seeking solutions. And if your husband knows how little you enjoy sex—and how could he not with that here's-the-hand-lotion-now-hurry-it-up routine—you might want to get out in front of the near-inevitable infidelity/infidelities. Have a conversation about cheating and let him know that you wouldn't leave him if he cheated... so long as...
And then tell him you would only be okay with scenarios/potential other sex partners that are less likely to result in his falling in love with another woman, i.e. no dating, no romances, no one he works with, no one you both know, etc. He's likelier to pass on an opportunity to cheat with someone who might represent a threat to your marriage—someone he's romantically as well as sexually attracted to—if he knows he has your okay to sleep with someone who doesn't represent a threat to your marriage.