[Two Pronged] Hot, raging libido and a 'lazy' wife
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
Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.
Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer,
I have no erectile problems and at my age of 42, I can say it will be a long time coming before I need to kickstart my libido via pharmaceutical means. My libido is hot, raging, and needs no help from anything unnatural. The problem is my wife, who is only 32, and yet is already so lazy when it comes to sex. She has rejected me so many times, even if I see no reason why, such as being tired from work or having family problems.
She says yes to sex only 3-4 times a month and it always comes across as if she is only forced to agree to sex, as if it is only because she pities me. I feel like a starving man begging for a slice of love. I love my wife but every time she rejects me I pity myself so much. What can I do so I don’t feel so bad when we have sex?
It can indeed be a problem when there is a significant mismatch of sexual desire between partners but often it is a soluble problem. What is generally required is a combination of communication, compromise, and love between the two partners. These three elements are interconnected and all three need to be present to secure even a passable outcome.
Sex has so many different facets that it seems almost redundant to say that good communication between partners is a prerequisite to a good outcome. However, relatively few people are brought up to be open and vocal on the subject.
Indeed some can scarcely bring themselves to talk about it at all, even in the most general way, and prefer to rely on instinct. Yet how are people to express their deepest desires if they do not talk about their likes and dislikes with their own partner? For example, men are generally more visually stimulated than women yet frequently act as though there were no differences between the sexes. How is a man to discover what turns his partner on if he is not prepared to talk about it?
Your email suggests that this would be a good place to start trying to bridge the communication gap between you and your wife since for example the only reasons you quote for not having sex are ones that a man would put forward and you suggest that your wife’s lack of interest merely demonstrates laziness rather than the probable reality: your total failure to arouse her.
Together with communication comes compromise. Resolution of disparity in desire does not have to require total surrender by one partner to the other but rather exploration of the middle ground to find a solution acceptable to both. This applies to frequency as well as the range of sexual acts.
Penetrative intercourse with simultaneous orgasm may still be considered by the mainstream as the gold standard of sexual relations but there are millions of men and women who are perfectly happy with other outcomes (oral, sex toys, solo etc.).
Perhaps the partners should (literally or figuratively) draw up a menu of what they like and dislike just as they (unconsciously sometimes) do regarding most other things in their joint lives. This might help them find an accommodation.
Again, your email suggests that this would be a useful area for the two of you to explore. You pity yourself in your current predicament but there is no evidence of any pity for your wife.
The most important element in finding a solution to the problem is love. In this case love means having sufficient respect and affection for the partner to be willing to make adjustments to enhance the relationship.
Just expecting the partner to adapt is no solution. Adapting unilaterally with the sole aim of enhancing the relationship however sends a positive message to the partner that hopefully will encourage a similar willingness to change, thus building a platform for achieving compromise acceptable to both parties. In your case, love could mean listening to your wife, finding out what makes her tick sexually and thinking rather more about her needs than yours.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter. Mr Baer’s perspective on how to view your problem – communication, compromise and love between the two partners – is spot on, though he was quite harsh in telling you how you fell short in each department.
Harsh, but possibly spot on too?
There are only two points I wish to add:
- Your happiness, even pride, in having this “hot, raging, and needs-no-help- from-anything-unnatural” libido is palpable. It could be something your wife has picked up on. Is it possible that your preening (about your sexual prowess) could be the thing — and not laziness — that translates into her not being turned on by your sexual advances? And yet, despite this confidence in the strength of your erections, there seems to be…
- This fear that all this will go away in time. You write: “it will be a long time coming before I need to kickstart my libido via pharmaceutical means” implies there will be a time pharmaceuticals will be needed. This concern to do as much as you can before pharmas are needed could come across as desperation and, again be a tad off putting for her.
You have to stop second guessing each other and truly listen to what the other wants and needs. Perhaps this will be the key to a greater appreciation of each other… which may then blossom into more (and, sana, better) sex. But please do not think this is an inevitable result and thus get pissed off when it doesn’t happen, ok?
Perhaps the only thing you can reasonably expect is a softening towards each other’s views, often leading to a greater appreciation of each other. After that, who knows? But it usually is something for the better, yes?
Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email email@example.com with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately, the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.