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
Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.
Dear Dr. Holmes and Sir Jeremy,
Call me Hot Mom. I have the almost-perfect husband. He’s had some issues before but definitely not a womanizer. He is just an occasional drinker and he loves me and our 3 kids (youngest is 3 years old) so dearly that he can’t stand being away from us for over 2 weeks. He cries! He has a stable job while I have my very good multiple sources of income and you can say that our finances are not even an issue.
We’ve been together for 12 years and over the course of those years, once I had sex with someone I barely knew as a revenge for his cheating. Back then, we’re not married yet. I’d dare say I didn’t even enjoy every single moment of that sexual encounter but until now he doesn’t know about it yet.
But that’s not our problem.
You see, my husband and I probably had over a thousand lovemaking experience with each other already and the major problem is… the number of times I climaxed is not even exceeding 20!
Yes, Doctor Holmes and Mr. Baer. I am a great pretender. What’s worse is that I climax better when I am masturbating and often times I fantasize about having sex with other pretty fair-skinned women. I know I am not gay. It’s just that I can’t get myself to orgasm with my husband.
Sometimes, I just spread my legs just to get it over with and in the back of my mind I’d hear myself say “This is my responsibility to him. I have to give way. Hey, what’s that in our ceiling?”
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had many pleasurable sexperiences with my husband before but at my age (33), I’d rather cuddle and hold hands with him.
Basically, I really don’t know what’s my problem. I love him so much, no question on that. But why do I feel this way about sex with him?
Dear Hot Mom,
Thank you for your email.
It is no secret that: a) women can have greater difficulty achieving orgasm than men; b) some women fake it (and not all spend the time contemplating home redecoration!) and c) some men don’t realize their partners are faking or don’t care.
Lack of orgasm with your husband seems to be your major issue. Presumably if you managed only 20 orgasms in over 1,000 attempts that means either no permutation (oral, vaginal, anal) worked or the two of you never found a technique that led to orgasm. Confusingly, you also say that you had many pleasurable sexperiences – stopping short of orgasm proper? – but you do not give details.
Now at the ripe old age of 33 you just want to hold hands and cuddle.
It just seems contradictory that you are complaining about your lack of orgasms and at the same time ready to give up sex in favor of cuddles. 33 is after all very young to be exiting the sexual arena. You have at least another 30-40 years of sexual activity ahead of you – for those interested in more details, see for example.
And how about this paragon of virtue, your husband? He scarcely figures in your story except hovering over you while you fake it and later sitting on the couch holding hands. Have you and he taken the time to discuss your difficulty orgasming? Have you talked through all the sexual techniques and positions e.g. coital (or clitoral) alignment technique, that could help you? Is he also happy to reduce his sex life to cuddles?
So unless you both are truly ready to embrace a life of celibacy for the next 50 years, either carry on inorgasmic looking at the ceiling or sit down with your husband and discuss the problem, what possible solutions there are and how you can both go about exploring them together. It could be a journey you both enjoy.
All the best,
Dear Hot Mom (HM):
Thank you very much for your letter. Happily, Mr Baer has responded to many of your concerns and even suggested things you might try—practically from one end of the spectrum (better communication) to the other (CAT-clitoral alignment technique).
This gives me the freedom to focus on your poignant question: “why do I feel this way about sex with him?” …to the extent that you climax better when masturbating (and hardly climax while having sex with him), you fantasize having sex with other people… and yet, you love him so much!!’
Is there something wrong with you? Research and clinical experience says no.
Like you, many women say they do not seem to enjoy sex all THAT much and yes, prefer cuddling to having sex. While the two situations (hot sex and stable relationships) can go together, most couples do not seem able to enjoy both with the same person.
Dr Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence says it best: Love (for example, in a marriage like yours HM) needs stability, predictability and a sense of safety to thrive. However, desire needs the very opposite—uncertainty and yes, even danger — to fan the flames of passion.
You say: “Basically, I really don’t know what’s my problem. I love him so much, no question on that. But why do I feel this way about sex with him?”
Does Dr Perel’s theory resonate with you at all, HM?
I feel this is the very reason marriages find it difficult to sustain the passion within. Because it is so hard to feel sexy with someone you see every day, that someone you know you can count on through thick, thin, and garbage day. Difficult, but not impossible.
If you write us again, we would love to share ways to keep the home fires burning, It won’t be easy, but at least you know you do NOT have to choose either deep love OR passion. But it takes patience, effort, discipline and courage.
All the best,
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.