DEAR ABBY: I am responding to the letter from "A Reader in St. Louis," who was indifferent to sex until she rediscovered a loving relationship with her husband and learned the true meaning of intimacy.
Her letter made me wonder how many women whose sex drive has diminished or disappeared have husbands like mine, who regards the romantic side of lovemaking as "sissy stuff," saying "real men" don't act that way.
My husband's image of a real man is any actor in a porno flick. Unfortunately, I am partly to blame for his attitude. I admit that we were both hooked on porn films as a turn-on. When we had sex, my husband expected me to writhe in ecstasy, moan and utter expletives for several minutes -- just like the porn actresses did. Never was the word "love" mentioned. It was as if it didn't belong in this scenario.
Because my husband has no other bad habits, doesn't cheat, and demonstrates his love in everyday acts of kindness, I went along with this play-acting for many years. However, the arousal I once felt from this contrived sex wore off for me a long time ago. It hasn't for him, though. He can't understand why I've gone from being a hot tamale to a cold fish.
When "Reader in St. Louis" wrote that "sex isn't entertainment," that line really hit home. The truth is, I have come to this same realization, while my husband has not. And, after 30 years of marriage, he probably never will.
In spite of all the advice we hear about experimenting with sex in different ways to keep the excitement in a relationship, take it from one who's tried it all: Cheap thrills don't last forever and can even have a damaging effect if there is no communication or intimacy between lovers. -- BEEN THERE, DONE IT ALL
DEAR BEEN THERE: It's time you and your husband attempted a new kind of sex thrill -- a frank and honest conversation about what is and is not going on in your bedroom. If you haven't verbalized your feelings to your spouse, you cannot blame him for continuing to do what he still thinks is "thrilling" to both of you. I agree with you that communication is vital. Marriage counseling can help you to achieve it. Please don't wait.