DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: My wife and I have been married for 3 years now. From the very beginning we had an amazing sex life. Our relationship has always been very sexual, pushing the envelope and sex has always been a big part of my life. We have a 2 year old son together now and I love him more than anything in this world.
The issue is that since he was born my wife is more and more a mother and not as much of a sexual partner and it seems to get worse and worse. I understand that things have changed and do not expect 100% of her attention, but I still have needs. We have sex several times a week and she does still humor me with the kinkier things that I like and crave – anal sex, toys, light bondage, etc… but the problem is that it is always a halfhearted attempt in which it is a job to her, therefore, neither of us can fully enjoy any them. Which makes it more of a chore for her the next time, and so on, and so forth.
This has steadily gotten worse and worse. There are some things that I have recently discovered about myself and my sexual desires that I was not aware of before or that I simply put off as wrong or something that others would not accept. These include bi-sexual desires, group sex, swapping, seeing her with anther man, deeper into bondage, d/s roleplay, etc…
We recently vacationed at Desire as kind of a test the waters type of vacation. We agreed that if the situation was right and everyone involved was comfortable we would explore these things together, starting very slowly. Night one, before any water testing was done by either of us, we have an argument because I felt misled after she told me that I was going to have to decide whether it was her (our marriage) or these things. I chose her, obviously.
The problem that I am experiencing is that I cannot simply forget these things. I cannot change my sexual urges. It kills me because I would honestly give her anything in the world she wanted or needed to be happy. It truly makes me happy to make her happy. I feel that her forcing me to make this choice is not fair, and at the same time realize that she did not “sign up for this” from the beginning so it is her choice not to accept it.
Since we have gotten back from our vacation she told me that she hates doing some of the kinkier things we now already do. That she is vanilla and I am becoming more and more um, un-vanilla-y, and that I have to decide if I can live without these things. Not for the time being until things are on solid ground, not until she gets over her trust issues and feels comfortable, Never. (By trust issues I am referring to her family/parents, not in a sexual way. I have never been unfaithful to her either.)
Now I feel like I could never tell her anything else about my sexual desires/kinks/etc… because its like she is disgusted by them. We are living in constant turmoil due to all of this. What do we do? I have asked her if we could open our marriage so that I could get these things somewhere else and she said no. She does not know about my bi-sexual urges. I stayed at work late last night trying to put all of this into words and let her know that it is not just some off the cuff idea I have, that it is actually a need I feel.
As I said, we are still dealing with this issue. So I call her on the way home from work and tell her that I have something I want her to read because I have a hard time expressing myself when I’m upset. She told me “I’ve already told you that you can forget about it completely, forever or we need to get a divorce”. I am not mad because she does not want this, I’m mad because she is forcing me to choose. Am I blowing this all out of proportion and need to just accept what I have? For some reason I am stuck thinking that I cannot have both. Any advice would be extremely helpful.
Sexless in Seattle
DEAR SEXLESS IN SEATTLE: Hoo boy.
These are the letters I hate getting SiS because I can feel the urgency radiating from it, that last-ditch hope that maybe somebody has the magic answers that will make everything better.
And I don’t.
I’m not surprised that your sex life slowed down after your son was born; that’s perfectly normal. Not only are there hormonal changes – in men and women – that crater people’s sex-drives after childbirth, but having children makes sex a logistical nightmare. Child care becomes your number one priority and lesser needs – like, y’know, sleep – tend to fall by the wayside and never quite recover until the kid’s out of the house.
It’s a testament to your wife’s commitment to you and your love-life that she’s been going out of her way to keep you satisfied; she’s putting in some heroic efforts to make things work… especially considering that it’s increasingly clear that she hates doing it.
And therein lies the problem.
What you’ve got here, SiS is a nasty case of sexual incompatibility. You have needs that your wife not only doesn’t share but is apparently actively repulsed by. I’m a big believer in sexual communal strength – what Dan Savage refers to as Good, Giving and Game – being an important part of a relationship but part of being GGG means not doing things that repulse you or otherwise leave you crying in the shower. And it’s pretty clear that your wife has been going above and beyond and doing those things that she can’t stand.
Don’t get me wrong, SiS; I’m not saying you’re the bad guy here. Neither is your wife. The problem is that you want things that your wife can not and will not provide, nor is she interested in opening things up so that you can get your needs met discretely elsewhere. I don’t think it’s right of her to refuse to even listen (or read, in this case) what you have to say about the matter, but it’s fairly clear that she’s drawn the line: she won’t help you satisfy those desires. At the same time, it’s not as though she hasn’t tried – apparently to the point of emotional self-harm – so I can’t fully blame her either. This whole situation is a perfect storm of bad news.
And unfortunately, the only way this whole thing could’ve been to recognize this incompatibility in the first place, before it made everyone involved miserable. If I had the keys to the TARDIS, maybe we could’ve gone back and you could realize that those half-hearted attempts at keeping you happy were a sign that she couldn’t stand things and you could have addressed this problem earlier.
But I don’t and you can’t.
I hate saying this, SiS, but I think this marriage is effectively over. You want very different things and there really is no way to square this particular circle without causing some pretty severe psychic harm to someone – either you have to suppress your desires or she has to do things that shred her soul. I think the best thing you could possibly do to salvage anything from this relationship is to end things as amicably as possible. It’s not an easy decision to make but I think it’s the kindest; you’re giving each other the freedom to find someone who’s more compatible with you while not trying to raise your son in this family dynamic of tension and turmoil and resentment. It would also mean that you’re in a better position to be if not friends, then at least on good terms, as you work as co-parents to your son.
I wish I had happier advice for you.
DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’ve noticed that I am wasting 1-2 hours of my time talking with my girlfriend every day. To me, it’s just a huge waste of time. I mean I do have other things to get done. When I try to get her to stop talking and tell her I have to go she just gets mad and says “Fine, you don’t want to talk to me, I see how it is” or something similar to that. GOD I HATE TALKING ON THE PHONE. I don’t think I have ever talked to any of my guy friends over the phone for more than 3 minutes.
I do love her. I love her a lot. We meet every weekend and spend great time together. But I don’t like wasting 1-2 hours every day talking about useless stuffs with her.
What should I do? I want to spend less time talking with her on the phone (about 30 mins a day would be good) without hurting her feelings.
Hope you can help, Dr NerdLove.
No Small Talk
DEAR NO SMALL TALK: Phrasing is everything. I get what you’re saying, NST, but I don’t think you realize how you’re coming across – both to me and, more to the point, to your girlfriend.
If you tell your girlfriend that you view talking to her as wasting your time, she’s going to very understandably feel insulted; you’re basically telling her that you find her wanting to share her life with you to be pointless. That’s pretty damn rude, especially for someone you care about.
Personally, I’m of the mind that spending some time sharing your day with your partner isn’t a big deal but hey, that’s how I roll.
Also, it ain’t great when she responds in such a passive-aggressive manner, but you’re the one who wrote in so let’s focus on you.
What you need to do is explain how you feel without insulting her or telling her that you feel her sharing her day with you is a waste. You want to frame it in terms of your communication style, not a judgement on her. Explain that you just aren’t comfortable talking for long periods on the phone, with anyone – it’s just not how you’re wired; once you go past 30 minutes, you start getting antsy. You’d much rather catch up and spend time in person, when you can give her your full and undivided attention, rather than feeling like you’re having to split your time between her and the things you need to get done and not giving sufficient attention to either.
If she’s not down for trying to keep things to 30 minutes at a time, perhaps you can reach a compromise. Maybe you can email back and forth, when you’re able to control the pace and respond when you’re not feeling like you need to work on other things. Perhaps you could text.
Just don’t tell her that you find talking to her for longer than 30 minutes to be a waste. That’s just going to be insulting no matter how you phrase it.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org)