Ask Dr. Nerdlove by Harris O'Malley

Why Has Our Sex Life Fallen Apart?

DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I have been happily married for 14 years now and we have two beautiful children. I absolutely love my wonderful bride and she earns the bulk of our income, allowing me to be a stay-at-home parent and pursue my career as a writer.

My question pertains to our sex life. Since the birth of our youngest, 6 years ago we have been less and less intimate. The few times we do have sex (about 4-6 times a month) are often lackluster and leave me unfulfilled as she is distant and more or less just allowing me to relieve myself rather than being an active participant.

Foreplay is more or less a thing of the past and it has been years since she performed oral sex at all. The whole thing feels like it is a chore to get out of the way for her.

I love her and certainly would never cheat on her or seek sexual gratification elsewhere in any form but I still crave an active sex life. We aren’t even in our 40s yet and it feels like we are already in our golden years.

I have discussed these issues with her several times but no solution has come from those conversations.

I would love to hear what you have to say in this matter.

Thank you in advance for your advice.

Frustrated House Husband

DEAR FRUSTRATED HOUSE HUSBAND: I’m going to apologize in advance, FHH, because this is the sort of question that I can’t really answer; there are so many possibilities here – none of them pleasant – that it kind of defies an easy answer… or at least an answer that’s within the reach of a loudmouth with a blog. The problem here is that, short of sitting down with you and your wife and talking with you both, it’s kind of difficult to nail down exactly what’s going on.

Now, with that being said, I can make some educated guesses. One of the things that leaps out to me isn’t the frequency (4-6 times a month averages out to 1/week, which is pretty good for a 14 year marriage with two kids) but the quality. After all, when sex with your partner has more in common with banging a Fleshlight… well, even though you’re technically getting your needs met (i.e., you’re getting off on the regular), it’s still going to feel kind of alienating and off-putting. After all, it’s not just orgasms you’re after but intimacy and feeling desired, not tolerated or put up with. And let’s be clear: you have a right to want to have sex with your wife. You have a right to want to be intimate with the person you love.Once it feels like sex with someone you love has become a chore… well, nothing good is going to follow that.

So it’s a matter of figuring out just what changed and why, so you and your wife can work together and figure out what to do about it.

The easiest and most likely answer is that your wife’s feelings about something have changed. It might be about you, it might be about sex in general, it might be about sex with you in particular. It could be that she resents being the sole breadwinner of the family – especially if (and I’m not accusing you of this) she feels like you’re not pulling your weight in other areas. Or it could be that she’s exhausted from work in general and just doesn’t feel sexy and so sex is just one. More. Damned. Thing. she has to do. It could be that she has her own version of the Madonna-Whore complex and being a mother means she just doesn’t feel sexy. She might not feel appreciated. Her libido may have changed and now you’re both just not sexually compatible anymore. She may have been asking for a different kind of sexual activity and feels like, since she’s not getting it, that there’s no point in trying any more. It could be that the attraction has faded and, while she still loves you, she’s just not interested in sex or sex with you right now.

Unfortunately, without getting to the core of the issue, I can’t really give you a solution. At the same time, however, this is one of those times when the ultimate answer is going to be less important than how you figure out what the problem is, FHH. By focusing on the sex, I suspect you’re looking at symptoms and not causes. That’s why I’d suggest that you start with talking with her again – not about the sex specifically, but about how she’s feeling. Getting deep into her emotional state and how she feels about you, your relationship, the kids and everything might be how you bank-shot the sex issue. It may also help to talk to a sex-positive couples therapist; the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists has a referral page for finding someone in your area who can help. Just brace yourself; it could well be that part of the reason why nothing has come from the conversations you’ve had before is because she doesn’t want to tell you what she really wants… and that may be something you don’t want to hear. I sincerely hope it doesn’t work out that way; hopefully this is going to end up being a speed-bump in what will otherwise be a long and happy relationship.

So talk it out – together and/or with a counselor – and let us know how things are going.

Good luck.

DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: My biggest fear is becoming one of “those” guys. The dudebros, f

kboys, manbabies, what have you. Even though I hate everything about them and what those kind of people stand for, I feel like I’m cast from the same mold: white, male, straight, and completely lacking in intelligence and social skills. I’m a 26 year old virgin who has no business being in a relationship with anyone, but my stupid worthless sex drive doesn’t understand that. Any time a woman seems to be remotely nice to me, my stupid brain runs off completely idiotic fantasies about dates, sex and other stupid things. Women aren’t objects or prizes to be won, just because my hormones can’t stop raging doesn’t mean they should be disrespected.

What I want to know is, do you know of any way do suppress or remove the male sex drive that would be available without to much difficulty? Preferably something I can get without needing to see a doctor or specialist? Because if having these feelings means constantly being an a

hole to women, then I’m better off without it.

Hopefully Impotent.

DEAR HOPEFULLY IMPOTENT: Here’s what you need to do, HI: you need to take a very deep breath. Breathe in to the count of 5, hold it for the count of 3 then breathe out for the count of 5. Now do this again, just focusing on your breath.

The reason why I want you to do this is that I want you to simply calm down. The problem isn’t in having a sex drive or wanting to have sex, have a partner or a relationship. It’s ok to want sex. The problem with a

holes, creepers and f

kboys is how they go about trying to get it. The wanting isn’t the issue. You can have plenty of casual sex while still being a gentleman. You can be lustful but still be respectful.  It’s the behavior that makes the f

kboy and the a

hole – they’re the ones who believe they’re entitled to sex just for existing and who treat women like Kleenex, to be used and discarded.

So instead of trying to get rid of your libido, HI, take some deep calming breaths and remember: it’s fine that you want sex. Instead of treating your sex drive as the enemy, channel it. Work on developing those social skills and becoming the awesome person you know you can be. There’s a very helpful book available to teach you how to do just that. And in the meantime: educate yourself a little on one of the greatest examples of someone who can be lustful, charming and respectful at the same time: Captain Jack Harkness. Watch some Eccleston and Tennant-era Doctor Who and some Torchwood and let Captain Jack be your dating Patronus.

Good luck.

Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, doc@doctornerdlove.com