[Two Pronged] Selfish in bed?
Rappler's Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.
Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer,
Hi, hope this message gets your attention, I badly need your advice. I am Lia, 2 years married with an American man. I am having a dilemma with our sexual relationship. We have regular sex life, around 2 to 3 times a week. The problem is he is only good when he is the one ON. If I am the one initiating, I always get rejection from him.
I feel really bad because I feel like I am only wanted if he is in the mood, kinda selfish on his part. I have already opened up to him about this and the last rejection was a major fight, we did not talk for many days. Now, I already have a phobia. I never initiate anymore, I just wait if he is on, but I feel terribly bad...very one sided.
How will I cope with this? I don't come like I used to before, I am so affected that coming is so hard for me. Sometimes I fake it because I don't feel anything anymore. It even came to a point that when I feel like doing it, I just masturbate but it never helps me at all.
Please give me advice on what to do. I hate the feelings of rejection especially since I had a good sex relationship with my previous relationships, but here comes my husband who treats me bad in bed. Thank you so much and looking forward for your advice.
Thank you for your email, which is unfortunately rather short on detail.
You say that you have been married for just two years and so the question arises: was this always an issue with your husband (let's call him Jake) or did one, or both, of you change at some stage? Your account regrettably does not shed any light on this.
After all, if he was always like this, why on earth did you marry him? On the other hand, if he has so many other sterling qualities that you decided to overlook this, why have you now changed your mind? Again, your account fails to shed any light on this.
Alternatively, perhaps everything was going well, you therefore got married and then things changed for some reason. For example, Jake thought he was marrying a docile, submissive, conservative Filipina dedicated to his every whim and you then decided that you wanted to be an emancipated, modern, assertive and equal partner in the relationship. One could understand that such a change might come as a shock to Jake.
Or perhaps, unfortunately like many men, Jake reserved his supply of lambing solely for the courtship phase of your relationship and thinks that now he is married, he no longer needs to consider your feelings anymore, and merely exercise his rights whenever he feels like it. That would be exceedingly kakainis for any woman.
These are however mere hypotheses since your account is devoid of any actual information but they will give you some indication that what you haven't told us is at the very least as important, if not more important, than what you have told us.
Ultimately though, if you are happy and Jake will not accept whatever responsibility he bears for that state of affairs, you should leave him.
Best of luck,
Thank you very much for your letter. I feel for you tremendously over what you are going through, but I cannot help feeling there is a small, but significant, part that is left out.
It started when you did not answer any of the follow-up questions we emailed you. We hardly ever email a letter writer back, and then only when we feel a follow-up question will help us understand his/her situation better (and thus be able to give a far more helpful answer).
However, you did not respond to our queries, which would only have required a one-word answer which led me to assume (perhaps wrongly) that you felt you had said all you had to say.
But I couldn’t help feeling that what you presented was a skewed picture of sorts. What one gets from your letter is that your husband is a bit of an as*hole. And maybe he is, but then again, maybe he isn’t.
The message your letter puts forward is that: you have tried everything to have Jake, your husband, realize that there is something wrong with your sexual relationship. The problem is, he may hear you, but he doesn’t seem to be listening. Or, he just doesn’t care. And thus, poor blameless you is stuck with heartless Jake, the only man among your lovers with whom you have not had good sex (in other words, it must be him, right?)
When I first read your letter, my initial reaction was to tell you, “Que se hoda this awful man. Just up and leave, woman!!”
But that was the personal Margie Holmes reacting, and not – ahem – the professional Dr Holmes who is trained (says she hopefully) to look through the obvious message and try and suss out its meta message.
- [Two Pronged] Is he just after her money?
- [Two Pronged] Dead dad?
- [Two Pronged] No orgasm with boyfriend
Most sexual situations that occur between husband and wife (as opposed to those between two f*ck buddies) are strongly rooted in the relationship. Most of the time, the kind of sex a married couple has is a symptom of something deeper. Thus, while it is easier to speak about sex, what really needs talking about is love, intimacy, respect, the ability to listen without being defensive, the desire to share without blaming, and the capacity (a difficult one, this) to explore one’s own contribution to the situation.
At the moment, all I can do is share the basic tenets of family therapy which I hope Mr Baer and I have adequately explained in several Two Pronged columns; including but not limited to:
- [Two Pronged] Does my ex still care?
- [Two Pronged] Should I give up?
- [Two Pronged] My father's keeper
At the moment, the only other hypothesis we can add (in addition to the ones Mr. Baer shared) is that the same sort of reticence in answering further questions may also be a contributing factor to the sexual (and other) problems you have with your husband.
I hope, in time, you will be ready to tell us more, thus giving us a more complete and realistic picture of what is truly going on. Should that ever happen, I hope we will be able to give you better answers, many based on astute observations, scientific research, clinical and life experiences. Till then, all the very best.
Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.