Is Sex The "Bottom Line"? - Page 9 - Talk About Marriage
Sex in Marriage Sexual problems are common in many relationships. This section is for discussions about sexuality. Please limit discussions to those asking for help with a problem and those offering advice. Any other threads may be deleted.

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post #121 of 1357 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 12:58 PM
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Re: Is Sex The "Bottom Line"?

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Originally Posted by MEM2020 View Post
Life,

I do think - there are times when you keep having maintenance sex. Yes yes I fully realize how messed up that sounds. But this isn't driven by a desire to get your partner to stfu.

It's driven by commitment. Sounds very unsexy.

Three times in a row - I took one for the team - during the space of a couple weeks. I was a bit depressed - and each time M2 initiated - I felt this desire to NOT have sex. And each time - smiled - let my body take over - had a decent to good experience.

And then the black mist dissipated - and I was back to normal.

And FWIW - each of those three times - what was going through my head was the same question. How often is it like THIS for M2?
That sounds totally unsexy to me. Totally.

What if your wife didn't really want to have sex, but saw that you were depressed and initiated in an attempt to cheer you up a bit? Maybe you should have told her you weren't into it those three times and it would have been fine for both of you not to have sex, and you wouldn't have felt like you had to do it for her sake, while she was trying to do it for your sake.

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post #122 of 1357 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 01:04 PM
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Re: Is Sex The "Bottom Line"?

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You know, as soon as the word "duty" is added to "sex" my vagina dries up. I can't stand the idea of sex being a duty. That kills my whole concept of what sex is supposed to be - fun and enjoyable for both, an expression of passion for each other, and something we share. Treating it like having to wipe your ass every day or brush your teeth - gotta do it! - makes me want to vomit and never have sex again. Treating it like it's my job and I owe someone sex takes all the fun and passion out of it. No. It would destroy any relationship I have if sex is treated like a duty.
That's selfish thinking. You're thinking of yourself and not your spouse.

I've been on both sides of the duty sex (given and received) and I disagree. Even if I'm not interested, I'm happy to provide pleasure to my wife. I always find a way to get there enough to at least enjoy it and anyone can. I'm just there for her for whatever her needs are.

I don't particularly enjoy receiving duty sex when it's obvious and it was because she was simply too exhausted. I'm sure there are many times she wasn't up for it but did it anyway and in the process got turned on and enjoyed it very much.
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post #123 of 1357 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 01:05 PM
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Re: Is Sex The "Bottom Line"?

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Originally Posted by norajane View Post
You know, as soon as the word "duty" is added to "sex" my vagina dries up. I can't stand the idea of sex being a duty. That kills my whole concept of what sex is supposed to be - fun and enjoyable for both, an expression of passion for each other, and something we share. Treating it like having to wipe your ass every day or brush your teeth - gotta do it! - makes me want to vomit and never have sex again. Treating it like it's my job and I owe someone sex takes all the fun and passion out of it. No. It would destroy any relationship I have if sex is treated like a duty.
and right here this is why attempting to "communicate" (aka, negotiate) regarding these mismatches is a total dead end

edit:

to be clear I don't think Nora's perspective is wrong. I think it's totally honest and right
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post #124 of 1357 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 01:13 PM
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Re: Is Sex The "Bottom Line"?

Right there with you.

So in the spirit of being unsexy - here's how this works in MemLand

1. Offers that are clearly driven by guilt get the soft deferral: You are an angel, how about tomorrow?
2. Offers that seem genuinely generous - get a brief but comprehensive look - followed by - yes
3. Statements that are absolutely firm - such as: We ARE connecting NOW - get an enthusiastic response.

(2) Is the important one. Sometimes in that 1 second full body scan I pick up a troublesome vibe. When that happens - we have this low key back and forth takes maybe 10 seconds. Sometimes ends with me deferring and M2 seeming relieved. And that's ok.

Just because someone's willing to give you something, doesn't mean you should take it. There is a big interesting and oft disorienting gray mist separating 'willing' from 'wanting'.


So much for the prologue. The epilogue has its own feedback loop. If M2 didn't rapture - she gets the soft toned: I hope that was ok for you.

And if there is a pattern of this - every once in a while she hears this: I don't want this to be bad for you.

That last bit - is intended to ensure she knows the door is open to raw feedback - whatever it is.



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Originally Posted by lifeistooshort View Post
And I think that's fine if it's in the spirit of a loving marriage. I haven't necessarily been up for it every time we've had sex, but there's never a time I DON'T want to be there, only times I'm more or less into it.

My original point was only that if one takes the position that it's not a big deal for an unenthusiastic spouse to have sex then it's only fair that the receiver not complain about duty sex.

If that's all you ever get you've got bigger problems.
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post #125 of 1357 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 01:17 PM
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Re: Is Sex The "Bottom Line"?

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That's selfish thinking. You're thinking of yourself and not your spouse.

I've been on both sides of the duty sex (given and received) and I disagree. Even if I'm not interested, I'm happy to provide pleasure to my wife. I always find a way to get there enough to at least enjoy it and anyone can. I'm just there for her for whatever her needs are.

I don't particularly enjoy receiving duty sex when it's obvious and it was because she was simply too exhausted. I'm sure there are many times she wasn't up for it but did it anyway and in the process got turned on and enjoyed it very much.
No, I'm thinking about the overall health of our relationship. If I were duty sexing regularly, that means there's a problem in our relationship, it means I'm not having fun having sex, and that will eventually kill my sex drive altogether if he was expecting me to do it because I "owed" it to him.

He wouldn't like it either without the passion and fun, because that takes the entire point out of sex. Hell no. I would be helping our relationship by trying to address the problem creating the duty sex, and by not forcing myself to have sex when I don't want to because it would lead to me not wanting to ever have sex.

.
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post #126 of 1357 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 01:18 PM
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Re: Is Sex The "Bottom Line"?

Norajane,

If you don't mind sharing, how long have you been in your current LTR/marriage?



Quote:
Originally Posted by norajane View Post
That sounds totally unsexy to me. Totally.

What if your wife didn't really want to have sex, but saw that you were depressed and initiated in an attempt to cheer you up a bit? Maybe you should have told her you weren't into it those three times and it would have been fine for both of you not to have sex, and you wouldn't have felt like you had to do it for her sake, while she was trying to do it for your sake.
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post #127 of 1357 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 01:31 PM
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Re: Is Sex The "Bottom Line"?

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Originally Posted by MEM2020 View Post
Norajane,

If you don't mind sharing, how long have you been in your current LTR/marriage?
Total, about 25 years together, known each other for 30. We had some breaks in there...life happened, I moved away, etc. It's been 5 years this time, and engaged to be married.

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post #128 of 1357 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 01:36 PM
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Re: Is Sex The "Bottom Line"?

Interesting question.
I think sex is definitely an important part of marriage/relationship. Otherwise, you're just friends/roommates.

And people have different libidos, so I suppose the trick is to find someone you're compatible with, both emotionally and sexually.

No easy task. I know.
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post #129 of 1357 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 01:47 PM
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Re: Is Sex The "Bottom Line"?

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No, I'm thinking about the overall health of our relationship. If I were duty sexing regularly, that means there's a problem in our relationship, it means I'm not having fun having sex, and that will eventually kill my sex drive altogether if he was expecting me to do it because I "owed" it to him.

He wouldn't like it either without the passion and fun, because that takes the entire point out of sex. Hell no. I would be helping our relationship by trying to address the problem creating the duty sex, and by not forcing myself to have sex when I don't want to because it would lead to me not wanting to ever have sex.
If all it is (or primarily is) duty sex, then I agree. I was assuming it was an otherwise healthy, non-sexually dysfunctional relationship where there are otherwise no problems. And a problem-free marriage doesn't mean sexual harmony either, which is where so called duty sex sometimes comes in and that's what I was talking about.

When I'm talking about duty sex, I'm referring to when one is up for it, the other is not because they are tired or just not feeling horny, but they sack up and get with the program. In some cases it may because of an ongoing mismatch in frequency desire. That's not what I'm referring to either but I don't think that's disgusting. I want to make my spouse happy and I don't think the act is at least a little bit enjoyable.
If you're having duty sex because there are problems, then that's a whole different issue.

Example: "I'm not up for it. I'm tired. But OK let's do it and get it over with." That means he/she wasn't really wanting sex, but I'll do it now because I know you want it. Not because there is a problem and you aren't getting along. 95% of the time you're having sex because you BOTH want it.
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post #130 of 1357 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 01:53 PM
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Re: Is Sex The "Bottom Line"?

Norajane,

Congrats on your engagement.

Humor me for a bit and I'll take you through how this looks from my vantage point.

Stability and passion have a very fraught relationship.

If we slice the world into two dimensions: mechanics and emotions - it gets a bit clearer.

Mechanical stability is generally a good thing. Financial and temporal reliability are good for families with or without children.

Emotional stability is way more complicated. M2 finds my low affect, calm reactions to situations very reassuring.

And I find her mostly happy, playful and somewhat volatile nature, very
appealing.

Emotionally I'm the floor of the house, and she's the ceiling.

That said - while my stability is reassuring it's not a real turn on.

If I allowed M2 to feel more anxious - if I wasn't quite so helpful on that front - she would feel more desire. Thing is, that approach feels selfish to me. So I don't do that.


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Total, about 25 years together, known each other for 30. We had some breaks in there...life happened, I moved away, etc. It's been 5 years this time, and engaged to be married.
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post #131 of 1357 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 02:20 PM
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@JamesTKirk I'm with you on this.

We've got exceptionally busy lives with 5 kids, 2 jobs and elderly relatives that we spend a lot of time with.

I finally called it toast and pointed out that waiting for both of us to be not tired, not busy, in the mood, etc would result in a dead marriage. It was a few tough talks, but ultimately we committed to affection of some sort every night no matter what. Wake me up sex.

It's been amazing. We've reconnected like I knew we would. But you can bet many nights qualify as duty sex by your definition.

I view if more as opportunity sex. It's our opportunity to have a few minutes that is only us. And it's fun, even when we're exhausted because we're both completely into each other. So we don't always pull out all the stops, and I often look at her asleep and want to leave her alone and sleeping, but then I remind myself that a marriage is work and sone things you should do if you want to be connected to your spouse.

Best decision we've ever made. I wouldn't go back for anything. But we're both into each other and we both want to make the other happy, so we just have to start and it's all good.

I'll qualify this and point out I'm in my 50's and sex for me has substantially changed. I am now much more able to access my emotion now that testosterone has wained, and so the physical touch has a big emotional content for me.
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post #132 of 1357 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 02:30 PM
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Re: Is Sex The "Bottom Line"?

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Originally Posted by AngelHeart888 View Post
Interesting question.
I think sex is definitely an important part of marriage/relationship. Otherwise, you're just friends/roommates.

And people have different libidos, so I suppose the trick is to find someone you're compatible with, both emotionally and sexually.

No easy task. I know.
An inherent problem is that over time some individuals libido will fade while other's will grow. It is also commonly understood that everyone's sexuality (particularly women's) will go through seasons often corresponding with the energy and devotion needed to help raise a family.

If there even is a key, I think it is more about couples that have the ability to compassionately compromise with one another regarding issues relating arising of mismatched desire rather than getting upset and withdrawing.

Otherwise most newlyweds experience a hormonal "honeymoon period" after which the context of sexuality in the relationship inevitably becomes redefined.

Those relationships driven by primarily by hormones that never develop any emotional stimulation/drive for sex after a few years are the ones in for a tough road ahead. Just because it is a tough road does not mean it has to be a bad one. Most often the road less traveled leads to extraordinary places. Or you end up indefinitely in the jungle freaking tangled in vines and perpetually bitten by insects.

Is there a "trick" to understanding which road less traveled leads to Shangri-La? Probably not as it will take TWO emotionally strong individuals to make this journey.

Regards,
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post #133 of 1357 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 02:50 PM
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Re: AIs Sex The "Bottom Line"?

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I agree!

Just being yourself is best. That will draw the people you are naturally compatible with, and protect you against others. It is nature's timesaver.
Exactly - be yourself.

Wall building is NOT being yourself. It's changing all, or parts, of your persona in order to keep people away.
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post #134 of 1357 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Is Sex The "Bottom Line"?

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An inherent problem is that over time some individuals libido will fade while other's will grow. It is also commonly understood that everyone's sexuality (particularly women's) will go through seasons often corresponding with the energy and devotion needed to help raise a family.

If there even is a key, I think it is more about couples that have the ability to compassionately compromise with one another regarding issues relating arising of mismatched desire rather than getting upset and withdrawing.

Otherwise most newlyweds experience a hormonal "honeymoon period" after which the context of sexuality in the relationship inevitably becomes redefined.

Those relationships driven by primarily by hormones that never develop any emotional stimulation/drive for sex after a few years are the ones in for a tough road ahead. Just because it is a tough road does not mean it has to be a bad one. Most often the road less traveled leads to extraordinary places. Or you end up indefinitely in the jungle freaking tangled in vines and perpetually bitten by insects.

Is there a "trick" to understanding which road less traveled leads to Shangri-La? Probably not as it will take TWO emotionally strong individuals to make this journey.

Regards,
Badsanta
Very nicely put, Badsanta. I often shake my head when I hear/read about people who stopped having sex after a few years, or the sex diminished from the beginning of the relationship, and the "deprived" spouse is ready to toss in the towel. That spouse is actually encouraged to dump his or her spouse to find someone more sexually "compatible".

If we already know that sex waxes and wans during an LTR, why are we so ready to call it quits so easily?

I have a friend who married my exb/f's brother many years ago. She told me that he became depressed about losing his job and never quite recovered. He found his comfort in beer. Every. Single. Day. Their sex life was non-existent for more than a decade. She never pressured him. She loved him, and wanted to see him happy.

But then one day he woke up and they had sex. She was THRILLED. She said sex is now better than ever, and they're both in their 60's!

She never considered herself to be in a "sexless" marriage because they USED to have sex. Just because they're not having sex NOW doesn't mean that they NEVER had sex. So, in her mind, her marriage was never "sex-less". For a decade, the sex "button" was stuck on 'pause'.

At one point she prepared herself for never having sex again. She wasn't about to divorce him, but she felt that if she started demanding sex, SHE would have been the 'selfish' one!

All in all, she's glad she waited, and I'm happy for them both.
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post #135 of 1357 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 03:05 PM
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Re: Is Sex The "Bottom Line"?

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Originally Posted by norajane View Post
You know, as soon as the word "duty" is added to "sex" my vagina dries up. I can't stand the idea of sex being a duty. That kills my whole concept of what sex is supposed to be - fun and enjoyable for both, an expression of passion for each other, and something we share. Treating it like having to wipe your ass every day or brush your teeth - gotta do it! - makes me want to vomit and never have sex again. Treating it like it's my job and I owe someone sex takes all the fun and passion out of it. No. It would destroy any relationship I have if sex is treated like a duty.
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@JamesTKirk I'm with you on this.

We've got exceptionally busy lives with 5 kids, 2 jobs and elderly relatives that we spend a lot of time with.

I finally called it toast and pointed out that waiting for both of us to be not tired, not busy, in the mood, etc would result in a dead marriage. It was a few tough talks, but ultimately we committed to affection of some sort every night no matter what. Wake me up sex.

It's been amazing. We've reconnected like I knew we would. But you can bet many nights qualify as duty sex by your definition.

I view if more as opportunity sex. It's our opportunity to have a few minutes that is only us. And it's fun, even when we're exhausted because we're both completely into each other. So we don't always pull out all the stops, and I often look at her asleep and want to leave her alone and sleeping, but then I remind myself that a marriage is work and sone things you should do if you want to be connected to your spouse.
I think this is a place where, if we defined our terms carefully, most of the disagreement would go away.

I would hope that everyone could agree that if sex only occurred when both partners spontaneously decided that they were in the mood, there was plenty of time, no work stress, no body image problems, no kids around, there wouldn't be much sex.

Almost everyone (usually a women) who has a problem with the concept of "duty sex" admits that there have been times when they weren't really in the mood, they went along anyway, had a positive experience and have no problems with doing so from time to time. This is usually done because they love their partner and care about their needs, desires and happiness. They also often recognize that a healthy sex life improves the entire relationship. Let's call that "giving responsive desire a chance to show itself".

Almost nobody thinks that people should be compelled to have sex on a regular basis with someone to whom they are not attracted to whom they are not emotionally connected because they "owe" it to their partner. Let's call that "duty sex".

And for those people (mostly men) who insist that their partner show every bit of spontaneous raw desire for them as they do every time; well, I think they're bound to be disappointed.
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