I bought the "Savage Love" iPone app so please answer my question!
My fiance' and I have been together—on and off—for almost 7 years. We were together for 3 years, took 2 years off, and have been back together the rest of that time. We got engaged a year ago and are planning a wedding scheduled 3 months from now. I have 2 children from a previous marriage and we all live together in a house we both own. We are in our early 30's, and I am bisexual.
For the first half of our relationship we had a fantastic sex life; it was one of the things that kept us together longer than we may have stayed together otherwise. The sex was great and we had a lot of it. We tried all sorts of things and we even had threesomes... he has never been bothered by my bisexuality except when I and a girl have had feelings for one another... and then he's only bothered if he's not allowed in on the action.
Now we hardly have sex at all, maybe a couple of times a month. I asked if it was because I've put on a little weight and he denies it. He says it's because I don't instigate sex enough. There is some truth to this but he knows I'm a tad passive in this area, and it's not like he's instigating either! I asked him to be more attentive and flirty so I might feel more attractive and be encouraged to instigate sex, and he says this is too much work just to get laid. He says he doesn't think about sex until he wants it, so if there's any prep work that has to go into it he can't do it. He'd rather just masturbate and get it over with. He also says the kids being in the house is a deterant, but again, this was never an issue before.
Now I've become very insecure when he checks out other women, especially women who are "his type"—petite—because, like I said, I have put on a few pounds and maybe don't fit that description right now. (I am 5'4" and weigh 135... up until a couple of years ago I weighed around 120). I feel like if he were having sex with me I wouldn't be so insecure, but to me it's obvious he's not interested and the only thing I can base that on is the weight. He is a very visual guy who constantly views attractive women in a sexual manner.
I am "allowed" to have one night hook-ups with women and have done so a few times in the past few months. I'm not big on these kinds of interactions and would prefer a "friend with benefits" type of arrangement, but he's not comfortable with that (unless he can be involved). We're one of those couples that have always hoped to find a third one day for a long-term triad, but I've stopped even thinking about that because if we did find someone and he all of a sudden wanted to have sex more often I don't think I would respond very well! So getting my needs met elsewhere isn't really working for me, and constantly instigating sex when I feel like he isn't interested does a lot to dampen my libido. I've started going to boot camp with a couple of girls from work and want to lose the weight before the wedding, but now I'm worried that if his instigating sex picks up based on my slimming back down I'll be upset about that too.
Am I overthinking this? I'm not against therapy, we went for awhile when we first got back together to work on some things, but I have yet to find a therapist that is open-minded about sex. We've tried talking about it so many times and we just go around in circles. He'll come up with some solution—stuff like "I'll instigate one time and then you have to the next time," or, "When you put on a certain nightgown I'll know you want to do it"—but none of this has been maintainable and, honestly, it goes against everything I love about sex. I want him to want to have sex with me. That is where my turn on is and I'm not getting it. I'm worried about the future and especially having a mostly sexless marriage. We're best friends and we're building a good life together, but sex is important and I don't know how to resolve this.
Sexless in Love
My response after the jump...
Okay... in all honesty... I'm only answering your question because you blew $2 on the "Savage Love" iPhone app... and, um, I'm very easily guilt tripped. Your letter wouldn't have made SLLOTD if you hadn't mentioned your recent purchase because I answered a question last week from a guy in sexless marriage—and picked a fight with "Dear Abby" when she answered a similar letter—and I recently went on the record saying that question like yours kind of annoy me. But anything for a new owner of the "Savage Love" iPhone app—well, that and the tech-savvy, at-risk youth are insisting that I make make an exception so that we can plug the "Savage Love" iPhone app one more time.
Okay, SIL, I was muttering, "lose some weight and see what happens," to myself as I read your letter—because, hey, wouldn't that be the easiest way to find out if your boyfriend's lack of desire is weight-related?—before getting to paragraph where you indicated that you're in the process of losing the weight.
If you discover that weight is the issue—and I'm thinking you're gonna—you need to have a conversation with your soon-to-be husband about your future. You've been together, on and off, since your mid-twenties. You're both in early 30s now and you're both about to make is, theoretically, a lifetime commitment to one another. You're going to stand up in front of your friends and family and promise to have, hold, honor, obey—all of that—but also to fuck. Fuck for the rest of your natural lives.
Your bodies are going to change as you age and they're not going to change for the better. You're both going to get older, bigger, looser, and flabbier. You can promise—you should promise, both of you should promise—to take all reasonable steps to maintain your looks and your weight for as long as possible. And, when that becomes impossible, promise to make the best of your older, bigger, looser, and flabbier selves. And finally promise one another that, as you age, you'll both make good-faith efforts to sustain your sexual connection. That will require a bit of denial, some suspension of disbelief, and more flattering lighting.
And love, SIL, it'll require some of that love stuff people are always going on and on about. And understanding—of each other, of course, but also of the fact that, just as our bodies change while we age, our sex lives change, desire ebbs and flows, frequency takes a hit but—if you don't let yourself get bitter or resentful—intimacy actually grows.
As for his restrictions on your girl-on-girl action, I think allowing for a FWB arrangement is safer, disease-wise, than insisting on casual and/or anonymous connections. Perhaps you can soothe his concerns about being dumped for a woman by agreeing to only doing the FWB thing with other happily-married women, i.e. no single lesbians or bi women, no unhappily married women. But a pass to sleep with other women is a big deal—have you given him one?—and his demands, while not ideal, are by no means unreasonable.