I'm a guy, early 50's, who many would describe as "having it all": good wife, healthy kids, big income, successful business owner, etc. I should be the happiest guy on the planet but one issue continues to haunt me: our sex life.
Even there, I have no big reason to complain. While she used to be a refuser/gatekeeper when the kids were younger she's come to understand that sex for me is far more than a simple physical release (which she used to think). For me, sex is the primary means of my emotional connection with her. Perhaps it's a personality defect in me but if our sex life ain't great then my emotional connection to her begins to fade. Happy to report she almost never says no anymore.
My challenge is our level of sexual compatibility and eagerness. I'm the far more "sexual" person who almost always has something bouncing around my head. It's just how I'm wired. Thing is, after being married 25 years I wonder if I'm losing my sexual attraction to her. I have no ED issues but during most sexual encounters with her, I have to fantasize HER having a loud orgasm (which isn't her, normally) in order for me to climax. There are times even that doesn't work and things go south quickly as she takes it personally if I fail to finish and she closes herself off for a day or two. I've seriously considered faking it to avoid that. I am on TRT if anyone's curious.
Imagine you could plot sexual desires and adventurousness on a linear scale. Mine would be very wide while hers would be much more narrow. I think there is some overlap between our two "scales" but not a ton. In her own words, she has no sexual fantasies. If gently pressed, the best she could come up with would be some unusual location, like on a deserted island. She's very satisfied with our status quo. Outside of the bedroom I've communicated a number of things I'd like her to think about and, when ready, come to me and say "let's do this". At the time she says sure! It never happens. It just has no significance to her at all.
It's important to say I know there's absolutely nothing wrong with her. She is who she is and I know I can't change that. When we married, I had only been with a few other women, one of whom was a sexual assault survivor, and understandably had ongoing major issues with sexual intimacy. Idiot that I was, I had a major KISA complex so we only had sex a handful of times over the course of several years, as I tried to help her heal. That relationship profoundly changed me. To this day I can't stomach any kind of rape scene in media and I'm also extremely sensitive to my wife's consent in whatever we do sexually, perhaps to an unhealthy degree. For example, if I suggest something sexually to my wife, and she responds with anything short of eagerness, I write it off, even tho I'd really like to try that (the thought of "pressing" myself sexually on a woman makes me physically ill). The frequent result is frustration on my part (mostly hidden to her).
What disappoints me most is the low value she ascribes to our sexuality, beyond having some kind of sexual relationship. Specifically, she simply doesn't think our sex life is worthy of much (any?) of her mindspace. Example: for our 20th anniversary, I took her on an extremely nice trip. Weeks ahead of time I gave her a very simple and fun assignment: with a smile, I asked her to think of one sexual act we had never done (there are many easy things in this category) and then on our anniversary trip I'd ask her what she'd come up with and then we'd do it. That way there'd be no pressure and she'd be in full control. When the time came, we're in this beautiful place, I asked her what she had thought of. Answer? Nothing. She hadn't given my request a minute of thought. I'll never forget that moment for the rest of my life. I was crushed on the inside, tho I did my best at hiding my profound disappointment, not wanting to ruin the trip over this. Only recently (years later) did I ask her about this, and she had no answer why she didn't think my request was worth any of her time. This still stings.
My wife is in every way a good person. She's faithful, a great mom, and almost never complains about anything. She does a magnificent job running our household. She works part-time just for fun and as a way to get out of the house. I take her out on "dinner dates" about 3 times per week.
Another wrinkle: she had never tried marijuana before but was willing to try with me now that it's legal (I hadn't smoked anything since college many years ago). We had the perfect opportunity not long ago and so we did. After a few hits I suddenly remembered the cautions how today's weed is stronger than decades ago, and we were both seriously baked. Thing is, we then had the most intense sexual encounter of my life, by orders of magnitude! The wife who's almost always been a "one and done" orgasm girl, must have orgasmed strongly at least 20 times. After I did (mind-blowing) she pulled my hands in with a toy because she simply wasn't finished yet <a href="https://talkaboutmarriage.com/images/TAMarriage_2015/smilies/tango_face_surprise.png" border="0" alt="" title="EEK! Surprise!" >:-)</a> <a href="https://talkaboutmarriage.com/images/TAMarriage_2015/smilies/tango_face_grin.png" border="0" alt="" title="Big Grin" >:-)</a> (me absolutely loving every second of that!!). When we (she!) finally were done, I started this joyous laughter - laughingly saying "WTF just happened??". It was the stuff of dreams. I was thinking - I KNEW it!! I knew there was a sexual beast in her and we just unleashed it! Alas, the next day, the first words out of her mouth were, "I don't remember much, but I definitely NEVER want to do that again". Again, crushed. I had just had the best experience of my life, and it sure as HELL seemed like she did as well, and then the balloon popped with those words.
I can almost hear some of you saying: dude, either accept that's who she is and deal with it or leave her and move on. Leaving her would absolutely devastate the kids and devastate me financially. I do love her and do want us both to be happy together. The thing is, I am hung up with the possibility there's so much more in her sexual being if only I could coax it out. I've always envisioned marriage as a growth in getting to know your spouse on a deeper level continually, and that includes an ever-deepening sexual connection with a sense of adventurous exploration. For her, she knows that sex is important in a marriage but still doesn't think it warrants more thought than doing the same old routine. Again and again. Some might say if I'm bored then she sure is as well. I truly don't think so in our case. I know exactly how to push her buttons because what so stimulates me is seeing her pleasure.
90+% of our fights over the course of our marriage have to do with sex. My conclusion is that we must really suck at communicating on this topic and now there's so many past hurts that it's almost as if the well has been poisoned. Any convo now is laced with mines and she inevitably brings stuff up from 15+ years ago. I can't/won't change her, but is it wrong of me to want her to increase the value of our sexual relationship because it means so much to me? Is there any way to encourage her to expand her horizons, actually give some mental time to sex? I haven't figured out if having a more sexually enthusiastic wife is a need or only a desire but I fear for our long term future if we can't at least get on a positive track. I've noticed my own attitude towards sex staring to deteriorate and left untreated I know that will have a destructive impact on the relationship.
Thank you for reading this tome and in advance for your helpful ideas.
This is just my opinion about the OP and I have to admit that I’ve not read every response!!
I think OP’s point has been missed in what he was originally asking advice about!!
If I’m correct, in my understanding, the OP wants opinions on fixing things!!
To me, it seems he loves his wife and is desperate to find solutions in making her understand how important the sex/physical aspect of their relationship is to him!!!
Saying you’ve been coned, tricked, switched or played doesn’t help!!
Even if that’s true and regardless of his actions or efforts, he can come those conclusions on his own!!!
So often I read about what or how men should change!! Shouldn’t it be give and take in a relationship?? I don’t think, IMO, that he’s asking too much and has definitely tried by talking to portray his feelings??
Even by posting on TAM it shows a commitment and love for his wife most women could only hope for in a relationship!!!
In this age of equality, it’s ok for men to have feelings!! Is so difficult for women to listen or at least talk about their mans wants and needs??
Mismatch sex drives or pressure to take the initiative is BS!!! If he left you for a younger model, correct me if I’m wrong, women become proactive and take the lead!! Even if it’s purely for revenge??
I’m guessing the OP doesn’t want to become distant, start working out,etc....
He’s already in love and wants an answer!!
If I knew the answer I’d be a wealthy man!!
All I can say is keep trying and hope for enlightenment from a woman’s POV!!!
On saying all that I could be miles away from the OP’s thoughts.