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Discussion Starter #1
Just moved this from a different forum. I think it was in the wrong place...

Anyway, here's the deal (help if you can, please):

I'm 39 & wife is 40. We've been married 8 years & have 2 young daughters. We are Christians & that's the most important part of our lives. My wife has always had body image issues, and had struggled with eating disorders since she was 15 until becoming pregnant with our first child almost 7 years ago. She stopped the binging/purging stuff when she became pregnant & hasn't turned back. She did begin running, and even completed a few 1/2 marathons & 2 full ones! For a 40-year-old mother of 2, she truly looks fantastic! And, yes, I do tell her so. Other people compliment her on her rockin' bod often too. In fact, the other day she posted something on facebook about a female 40-something celeb wearing leather pants, & how it gave her hope, & her friends all replied that she could totally pull it off! Of course, she's not perfect, but who is? Not me! Even when in the height of marathon training, she finds ways to be critical of herself (loose skin around her tummy, small boobs, "saggy butt, etc..") Honestly, I don't even notice such things. She's H-O-T to me, even when not in training. I lust for her still.

We did some marital counseling all last year, after she admitted to me that she's never enjoyed sex, never had an orgasm & would be happy in a sexless marriage. In her 20's she was quite promiscuous, and even put herself into a gang rape situation. This was covered in our marriage counseling & she did some pretty in-depth individual counseling too. I was hopeful.

During our counseling I admitted that during our "dry spells" I'd have impure thoughts about other women. She now brings that up, & will add that I said I wanted to cheat on her with younger women who have better bodies. Honestly, I never said anything like that - only "impure thoughts," & that was related to not ever having intimacy with HER & had nothing to do with appearances.

So, while our sex life has recently increased to about once per week, it remains pretty basic, she prefers the lights out, & often gets silly/giggly, constantly indicates how "fat" she is becoming, & I just don't feel very passionately engaged. Sometimes I think she wants to turn me off in hopes of slowing my libido towards her(?). She thinks of most sex beyond the missionary position to be silly/dirty because now she's a "mom," or something like that.

She does have orgasms now, which is an improvement, but she is still not very motivated.

I am in good shape as well, & she's even commented that it's unfair that I still look good & she does not. That's pretty ridiculous too, because she gets complimented all the time on her appearance, & not just by me!

I feel like she doesn't believe me when I tell her she's beautiful, & what's more is that she dismisses God's view of her as beautiful.

I'm not sure if she needs more counseling or what to do...
 

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I think it is hard to change your self-image. I don't have a very high opinion of myself, mostly because of childhood situations. It really doesn't matter if someone compliments me because I never really believe it. It's like sometimes you see very heavy people wearing tight revealing clothes and they think their hot and you couldn't change their mind. They have alot of confidence and someone who actually looks fantastic can have no confidence. It's all about self-image and I don't know how you change that.
 

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My wife is different from yours in that she loves sex. But over the last year or two she's been dealing with self esteem and body image issues. She's gained some weight over the last decade, and while she use to be fine with it, she had an awakening and realized that she wanted to go into her 30's in the best shape of her life. This has made her more weight conscious than she's ever been in her entire life. She's always been a slower weight loser, so that's led to a lot of discouragement and frustration. During low periods, it has affected the frequency of our sex life (sometimes down to only once a week, which is low for us).

I'll tell you what I did, because this conversation just came up earlier in the week.

I have been very patient with her regarding these issues, because I too use to have very severe body image problems that I, on some levels, am still recovering from. But I told her enough was enough. It came up that we'd not been having sex as much over the year, or damn near a year. Now this has come up a few times before, but I chose not to take it anywhere. But this time enough was enough. She started talking about how she's been feeling so fat, and I literally said "I don't give a damn!".

She was surprised, because usually I'm pretty understanding. But I told her that this crap has come to pass. I reminded her that I will NEVER live in a sexless or sexlite marriage, and that she use to feel the same way too. She told me she still does, but that these body image issues have just gotten her down. I reiterated that I don't care about that anymore. I love her, I'm attracted to her, and I need to make love to her. I told her that she's been having these up and downs over the last year, and that I've been very patient, but that my patience is finished.

I then took her into the next room to make love. She was really shy, and sheepish, and giggly at first. I just kept holding her, kept kissing her, and broke past all that girlish insecurity. We ended up having some of the best sex we've had in quite awhile, with multiple orgasms for us both. And we've done it three times this week, and will do it again today, AND I've turned her down twice in addition to all of that because she's just ravenous.

There comes a point where a man has to say enough is enough.
You do not deserve to have your sex life, your vital connection to your wife, severed because she thinks it's OK to be on an endless journey down a road of low self esteem. My wife tried to remind me that she's been struggling, as if the very presence of the struggle gives her free license to wallow until she some day magically feels better. That was meant with a HELL NO, and it got us instantly back on track.

Stop asking for sex. Stop being endlessly patient. Let her know that you adore her, need her, and that you are done waiting. And let her either respond to that by moving past these issues enough to screw your brains out, or start talking about what your marriage will be like when once you've walked out the door.
 

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Some folks have their minds in the heavens and do not take care of their earthly duties. Get with the program. Your wife has needs.

Meaning? Stop being overly religious about this stuff. This is NOT helping. She is a women at age 40. That is a big deal to many. Start rocking her world. Read Married Man's Sex Life.

Do not allow this to progress where she is seeking male validation outside your marriage. Fall back in love with her. Date her. Make her feel sexy and desired. Make her feel you cannot get enough of her. Take her like you mean it from time to time.

Also do His Needs Her Needs together. This is to foster communication, find out where her head is at, find out what her needs really are AND to ensure that boundaries with the opposite sex are not sliding.

Now since it sounds like there was a gang rape involved here you are in special territory for sure. You may need some IC on this yourself.

This said, she was not having orgasms but does now. Ok fine. Hopefully she is not faking it.

Does she work? What does she do with her free time? Do you guys spend a good amount of one on one time every week? Who are her friends?
 

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Just moved this from a different forum. I think it was in the wrong place...

Anyway, here's the deal (help if you can, please):
Okay, it's Sunday, so I will bring this week's Sunday School lesson. It's for the Adult Sunday School class, okay? And it's going to be a "Christian" lesson, not a "Churchian" lesson. That means we're not going to bother with the usual neo-platonic crap that has infested churchianity since 150 AD.

I'm 39 & wife is 40. We've been married 8 years & have 2 young daughters.
Even by the late standards of today, that's a late marriage. Were either of you married before?

We are Christians & that's the most important part of our lives.
As it should be.

My wife has always had body image issues, and had struggled with eating disorders since she was 15 until becoming pregnant with our first child almost 7 years ago. She stopped the binging/purging stuff when she became pregnant & hasn't turned back. She did begin running, and even completed a few 1/2 marathons & 2 full ones! For a 40-year-old mother of 2, she truly looks fantastic! And, yes, I do tell her so. Other people compliment her on her rockin' bod often too. In fact, the other day she posted something on facebook about a female 40-something celeb wearing leather pants, & how it gave her hope, & her friends all replied that she could totally pull it off! Of course, she's not perfect, but who is? Not me! Even when in the height of marathon training, she finds ways to be critical of herself (loose skin around her tummy, small boobs, "saggy butt, etc..") Honestly, I don't even notice such things. She's H-O-T to me, even when not in training. I lust for her still.
Lust is the English translation of the original Greek epithumia
it means "overwhelming desire". It's a good thing. Marathoning is not particularly healthy. In fact, it probably promotes age related sarcopenia. She needs to start lifting and reversing the muscle loss. Lots of squats and proper low carb eating will eliminate the saggy butt syndrome.

What does your body look like? Do you catch women staring at you? Does your wife run her hand up and down your ladder-like abs and say "I love your beautiful body?"

We did some marital counseling all last year, after she admitted to me that she's never enjoyed sex, never had an orgasm & would be happy in a sexless marriage.
All three of those statements are highly dubious.

In her 20's she was quite promiscuous, and even put herself into a gang rape situation. This was covered in our marriage counseling & she did some pretty in-depth individual counseling too. I was hopeful.
What about her teens? Was she promiscuous then or a goody two shoes? Was she raised in church?

Was that "gang rape" or consensual "gang bang"?

What is your pre-marriage sexual experience? Do women hit on you a lot? How about when you were 20 or so?

During our counseling I admitted that during our "dry spells" I'd have impure thoughts about other women.
What are "impure thoughts?" That's not a biblical term that I am familiar with. Enlighten me.

She now brings that up, & will add that I said I wanted to cheat on her with younger women who have better bodies. Honestly, I never said anything like that - only "impure thoughts," & that was related to not ever having intimacy with HER & had nothing to do with appearances.
Her rationalization hamster is using this admission on your part of what is probably an imaginary "sin" to justify her unsatisfactory performance in the primary wifely duty. In the Bible, this is referred to as "bullocks dung."

So, while our sex life has recently increased to about once per week, it remains pretty basic, she prefers the lights out, & often gets silly/giggly, constantly indicates how "fat" she is becoming, & I just don't feel very passionately engaged. Sometimes I think she wants to turn me off in hopes of slowing my libido towards her(?). She thinks of most sex beyond the missionary position to be silly/dirty because now she's a "mom," or something like that.
Sounds to me like you just don't do it for her. However, that can be fixed. The other problem is that long distance running lowers BF which reduces testosterone. Sarcopenia is probably related to that as well, so you get a low test feedback loop going. The body interprets the stress of endurance training to indicate difficult times on the hunter gatherer front and cuts back on the libido to reduce the chance of producing offspring in a famine or war time. Test is the libido hormone. You need to get it ramped up.

She does have orgasms now, which is an improvement, but she is still not very motivated.
why does she have them now? What changed?

I am in good shape as well, & she's even commented that it's unfair that I still look good & she does not. That's pretty ridiculous too, because she gets complimented all the time on her appearance, & not just by me!
She's craving male validation and not from you. In her mind, you have to do that, so you don't count. It's good that you look good, though? What's your numbers? Chest? Waist right below ribcage? Biceps flexed? Neck? Calves? Thighs? Height? Weight?

How do you dress each day? Typical 21st century slob/prole or do you look sharp? What kind of bike do you ride? Hog Chopper or Indian Chief? What kind of piece do you carry?

I feel like she doesn't believe me when I tell her she's beautiful, & what's more is that she dismisses God's view of her as beautiful.
"for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." Right now, she's much more interested in men looking upon and praising her outward appearance than she is in the LORD's opinion.

I'm not sure if she needs more counseling or what to do...
You're the guy who needs to act. She probably doesn't need anything. First you need to recognize that godliness is not a turn-on for a woman. It will be if you have a lot of followers, but that's something different. Here's a good article by Vox Day that discusses it. Vox is in thrall to Churchianity on most sexual issues, but this article is right on. Read all around his site to start learning about women and what makes them tick from a Christian perspective.

Also, Entropy has recommended Athol Kay's great book Married Man Sex Life Primer. Get it and read it. Don't let your wife catch you reading it. You want her to experience the results of your new knowledge. Athol is a Godless Ex-Christian but this has no impact on the truth of his advice on how to increase and maintain sexual attraction in a marriage.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the feedback so far. I'm going to try and answer some of the questions that were posted.

Yes, we married in our early 30's and it was the first marriage for both of us.

I don't know what "age related sarcopenia" is but I'll look it up and check it out. Running is the only thing she's really enjoyed in terms of exercise, which is somewhat annoying to me, because in the winter if she can't run outside she does nothing. She refused to even run on a treadmill. Then she's grumpy with an even lower self-esteem. I think the low SE is at the center of many things though. She could get good at so many different athletic activities if she wanted (weightlifting, cycling, swimming, yoga, pilates, etc.), but I think she's afraid of how she'll look, what others will think, etc.

I would not say my wife was promiscuous as a teen, though she lost her virginity at 15. I'm really not sure how much she got around after that, but I don't think too much until college years. She's still somewhat closed off with me though about her promiscuity. I was 19 when I lost my virginity and probably only had 5 or 5 partner altogether before her.

I wouldn't say women hit on me a lot, or ever have. I'm an attractive guy. I have a 6-pack (sometimes just a 4-pack in the winter months;)), exercise 5 times per week, eat well, have all my hair, etc. I don't have my measurements, but I'm not overweight or underweight. I am short, so that I think has sometimes kept me from standing out in terms of attracting women superficially. I consider myself intelligent, caring, pretty darn funny/witty and easy to get along with. I'm probably more of a "beta" guy, though the more I'm reading here and elsewhere that is probably something I need to work on. I figured I was safe to be a "nice guy" once the wedding vows were taken, but apparently not? Yes, I dress nice. Not over the top flashy, but I like to look good on a consistent basis. I'm a 39-year-old professional, so I think it's important to not look like a slacker.:D

Yes, it was a gang rape, not a gang bang. She did not want to do it, but as she describes it, she put herself into an unsafe situation with a bunch of idiot guys and she was very intoxicated. No excuse for those guys, but I think she's just trying to acknowledge her mistakes as well in the whole thing.

My "impure thoughts" have to do with ideas of having an affair and things like that. Not usually so much sexual, though that's part of it, but mostly I think because I'd like to be with someone that I feel admires, respects and is attracted to me. My wife doesn't show much interest in those ways lately, so there have been many times my mind has wandered into thinking about what life would be like with someone else. It's probably more about feeling lonely than anything else.

According to her, it's not specifically me that doesn't do it for her, she just has a low sex-drive. She doesn't fantasize about other men, doesn't masturbate when I'm not around, doesn't think about sex, etc. She tells me she thinks I'm attractive, but just doesn't feel very sexual. When she did individual counseling there was some focus on that, but I'm not sure it did much ago. Of course, I think that also had to do with my wife not wanting to pursue the ways in which she could improve that part of her life. She just didn't want me to be miserable, I think, instead of wanting to improve the quality of her own life in that way.

To tell the truth, I can't say for sure that she doesn't fake orgasms. We did some work on this during therapy, based upon some direction we were given to spend time just touching each other and discovering what we like and communicating with each other. She tells me she's been able to achieve O now when I rub her clitoris rather aggressively, and it would seem that is the case. If she's acting she's become really good! Then again though, she faked before some who am I to judge? It's certainly an area of distrust for me. But...that's probably not my major issue anyway. I just want us to work on having more of a spark in our sexual relationship.

Like I said before, I think if anything I've been overly-attentive to her needs, wishes and desires (or lack thereof, I guess). I've tried about every avenue I can think of when it comes to romance, creativity, acts of service, etc.

I think a really big frustration for me right now is her continued lack of respect of my need for a deeper level physical connection to her. Many things she described as needs over this past year I've met full on. Helping with kids more, cleaning, family fun nights, going out on date nights more, etc. If I said what she seems to be saying, which is, "Oh, I don't really enjoy those things, so I'll step it up a bit for you by about 50%, but don't expect me to really get into it." she'd be furious with me. Yet, that is how she responds to my sexual needs. She makes it a point to try and have sex once per week, but there is very little newness or fun about it. Does that make sense?

I have a friend who has had affairs and makes the point to tell me that he always just does the minimum in his marriage, because otherwise his wife EXPECTS and gets spoiled by all those special things he does. Plus, he said when had the affairs and it came out to his wife that it was a hugh wake up call to her to start taking matters into her own hands (so to speak). She acknowledged that she was not taking care of his needs and things began to improve in that area. Of course, there were many other problems that came about as a result of the affair.

Of course, I'm not trying to convince myself, or have my friend convince, to go have an affair to improve my marriage, but the theory makes some sense to me. Maybe I do work too hard and worry too much about our marriage and need to back way off on that. Maybe it's time for her to start fighting for us instead of me?

More thoughts?

I do appreciate the suggestions that have been offered so far.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I wanted to add one very important thing, just so I am totally clear. I am very much in love with my wife still. I think she's a caring, kind-hearted, funny, & sexy woman. She still turns me on. I really don't want anyone but her. She's all I look for in a woman, minus the self-esteem & sexual issues. Before our 2nd child, we had a very fun, active & exciting sex life.

I just want that part of my wife back that left for some reason.:confused:
 

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You're the guy who needs to act. She probably doesn't need anything.
monkeyboy,

It sounds to me like you are letting your wife's feelings, motivations, (lack of) desire, (lack of) interest have way too much effect on your feelings, motivations, desire, interest and most of all, your behavior.

Whatever her problems may be, let her own them. Accept that you can't make her anything and you only have control over yourself (at best). The spark that's missing here is spark that comes from you as you appear to be letting her baggage weigh you down.

You are lucky to have come to the understanding of the effect of your wife's self image on her libido. Now I would ask you to begin to understand your effect on her self image. I seriously don't believe you have even come close to exhausting all the things you could do and say that would make her feel better about herself. In fact, I detect a slight sense of entitlement in that "I've done everything I can, now it's her turn". Please. You are the man here, there is a plenty more you can do. Don't take your cues from her, let her take her cues from you. Validate her, don't look to be validated by her. Lift her up with your positive attitudes, don't let her affect your attitude with her negativity
 

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I can't say I disagree with any of your insights, Ten Year Hubby. I do feel somewhat entitled to intimacy in my relationship though, and I sort of feel like I should feel that way. Aren't we mutually entitled to care for one another's needs? I don't know if "entitled" is the right word there or not.:scratchhead:

So, what are some tips about what I can do or say to her to increase her self-esteem and feelings for me? Anyone have thoughts? I know that seems like a stupid question, but I think I just feel like my tank is a bit empty. Maybe there is more that I should do.

Or, maybe it's just time for me to leave it be and let the cards fall where they may. It's frustrating to be the only who seems concerned with the issue. Kind of like you and Machiavelli pointed out; I'm making it my problem it would seem - she doesn't have a problem.
 

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I'm probably more of a "beta" guy, though the more I'm reading here and elsewhere that is probably something I need to work on. I figured I was safe to be a "nice guy" once the wedding vows were taken, but apparently not?
Nobody is safe.

My "impure thoughts" have to do with ideas of having an affair and things like that....
Those aren't impure thoughts, that's "rational consideration". You decided not to be a d-bag and that was the right decision. There is no way she can rationally hold that against you.

According to her, it's not specifically me that doesn't do it for her, she just has a low sex-drive. She doesn't fantasize about other men, doesn't masturbate when I'm not around, doesn't think about sex, etc. She tells me she thinks I'm attractive, but just doesn't feel very sexual.
Assuming all of that is true, she needs to get her hormone levels checked. No testosterone = no sexual desire. It should be 30-80 ng/dL or so, depending on the "authority."

When she did individual counseling there was some focus on that, but I'm not sure it did much ago. Of course, I think that also had to do with my wife not wanting to pursue the ways in which she could improve that part of her life.
She may feel like she doesn't want to reawaken her libido, because she feels it could get out of control. She may fear becoming hypersexual once again. That's probably a risk you're willing to take.

Of course, I'm not trying to convince myself, or have my friend convince, to go have an affair to improve my marriage, but the theory makes some sense to me. Maybe I do work too hard and worry too much about our marriage and need to back way off on that. Maybe it's time for her to start fighting for us instead of me?
Quit thinking about having affairs, that's not what was in your marriage contract/vows. Having said that, access to regular sex is the reason most men get married in the first place. Prior to the adoption of the Puritan marriage model in the English speaking world, there was really no expectation of male sexual monogamy. But, the Puritan's allowed for divorce when regular sex was not forthcoming. You'll have to figure out what your beliefs are on the issue.

I would recommend that you start running Athol Kay's MAP and see what happens. In the end, you've only got a small number of options depending on whether or not she comes around when you start to man up.
 

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Any chance of sex abuse when she was a child?

Has she had good qualified psychotherapy for the rape?
 

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You have impure thoughts? The only time I ever saw that expression was in a movie that had a plot line from the 1950's with teenage boys doing confession.

These thoughts you have are NORMAL THOUGHTS and reactions to a wife who does not meet your emotional needs. You need to own your thoughts and realize that your wife's lack of love for you has opened the door for this.


I can't say I disagree with any of your insights, Ten Year Hubby. I do feel somewhat entitled to intimacy in my relationship though, and I sort of feel like I should feel that way. Aren't we mutually entitled to care for one another's needs? I don't know if "entitled" is the right word there or not.:scratchhead:
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YOu sort of feel that way? What are you a wet noodle? Own your feelings. Your hesiation about your own feelings is simply fear that if you express or own what you feel that your wife wont LIKE you any more. Own your feelings and desires. Know what you want in your marriage.

So, what are some tips about what I can do or say to her to increase her self-esteem and feelings for me? Anyone have thoughts? I know that seems like a stupid question, but I think I just feel like my tank is a bit empty. Maybe there is more that I should do.
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Tell her she is great. Tell her she is beatiful. Tell her she is great mother. Tell her she is a great person. Tell her you are proud of her acommplishments. When she talks badly about herself tell her to leave the room. Tell her that she does not get to decide what YOU think. Tell her her poor attidude about herself is a huge turn off. If she says something negative tell her do not speak about yourself like that.

Or, maybe it's just time for me to leave it be and let the cards fall where they may. It's frustrating to be the only who seems concerned with the issue. Kind of like you and Machiavelli pointed out; I'm making it my problem it would seem - she doesn't have a problem.
You don't do one of the other, you do both at the same time! You decide how your marriage needs to be, how your wife needs to express herself.... YOU decide who she is, what she means to you and her family and YOU constantly express that... Also decide in your heart that if your wife cannot be the wife you need, cannot see herself as you see her, then she needs to decide whether to be your wife, accept your terms, or decide for herself to exit the marriage.
 

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...

I'll tell you what I did, because this conversation just came up earlier in the week.

I have been very patient with her regarding these issues, because I too use to have very severe body image problems that I, on some levels, am still recovering from. But I told her enough was enough. It came up that we'd not been having sex as much over the year, or damn near a year. Now this has come up a few times before, but I chose not to take it anywhere. But this time enough was enough. She started talking about how she's been feeling so fat, and I literally said "I don't give a damn!".

She was surprised, because usually I'm pretty understanding. But I told her that this crap has come to pass. I reminded her that I will NEVER live in a sexless or sexlite marriage, and that she use to feel the same way too. She told me she still does, but that these body image issues have just gotten her down. I reiterated that I don't care about that anymore. I love her, I'm attracted to her, and I need to make love to her. I told her that she's been having these up and downs over the last year, and that I've been very patient, but that my patience is finished.

I then took her into the next room to make love. She was really shy, and sheepish, and giggly at first. I just kept holding her, kept kissing her, and broke past all that girlish insecurity. We ended up having some of the best sex we've had in quite awhile, with multiple orgasms for us both. And we've done it three times this week, and will do it again today, AND I've turned her down twice in addition to all of that because she's just ravenous.

...
I think Jaquen makes a good suggestion here, as far as the "I don't care" goes. It reminded me of this article, (don't judge the source! She's got some good material sometimes!) How to Love Unconditionally - Martha Beck's Advice - Oprah.com

Given that your wife has a prior rape experience (that's just awful by the way, I feel terrible for both of you), I think leading her into the next room for sex might not be as safe as it would be for a woman without that prior experience. But I WOULD follow up the "I don't care" with some unapologetic display of physical affection. And if it seems right to you in the moment, then yes do take it on to sex.

That "I don't care" card only works if you're the kind of guy who doesn't normally say things like that, and it'll get her attention. It isn't a card you can or should play often. But, I think in terms of her self-image issues, it might be the right move.

It must be unapologetic, or it's not going to work.

Also, you mention a few issues here like the style of sex changing and so on. I think you'll have to hope that the sex spices up as a result of the removal of this issue, instead of trying to address that now too. If you indicate disatisfaction with sex while you're trying to address her insecurity issues, it'll undermine your efforts. (Probably obvious, but often we don't see obvious things from inside the situation...)

Good luck.

Athena
 

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I can't say I disagree with any of your insights, Ten Year Hubby. I do feel somewhat entitled to intimacy in my relationship though, and I sort of feel like I should feel that way. Aren't we mutually entitled to care for one another's needs? I don't know if "entitled" is the right word there or not.:scratchhead:\
You're not "somewhat", "sort of" entitled to sex. If that's your attitude, that signifies your approach to your wife in regards to sex.

You ARE entitled to sex with your wife. Period. The same goes for her.

I see this all the time on TAM. This wishy washy, weak commitment to saying boldly, and clearly, that satisfying sex with your spouse is an entitlement, an inherent part of the marriage vows, and something to be expected.

If you believe this then OWN IT. And let your wife know that you will not, for any reason, forsake your RIGHT to sex in your marriage. If she can't find a way to provide you sexual gratification, than she can start on a journey toward finding another man whose equally as sexless as she is.

Stop apologizing for being a man. Stop apologizing for being a sexual being. Stop allowing your wife's issues to stretch on into infinity. Trust me, a person can wallow for DECADES in a struggle, and be totally justified doing so because it's how they "feel". At some point you have got to say "I love you, I support you, but enough is enough".
 

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You're not "somewhat", "sort of" entitled to sex. If that's your attitude, that signifies your approach to your wife in regards to sex.

You ARE entitled to sex with your wife. Period. The same goes for her.

I see this all the time on TAM. This wishy washy, weak commitment to saying boldly, and clearly, that satisfying sex with your spouse is an entitlement, an inherent part of the marriage vows, and something to be expected.

If you believe this then OWN IT. And let your wife know that you will not, for any reason, forsake your RIGHT to sex in your marriage. If she can't find a way to provide you sexual gratification, than she can start on a journey toward finding another man whose equally as sexless as she is.

Stop apologizing for being a man. Stop apologizing for being a sexual being. Stop allowing your wife's issues to stretch on into infinity. Trust me, a person can wallow for DECADES in a struggle, and be totally justified doing so because it's how they "feel". At some point you have got to say "I love you, I support you, but enough is enough".
I can't say that I 100% agree on this point, though I think I am with the underlying message.

In my opinion, no one has a right to sex with another person, even if they are married. That's something that each partner grants to the other partner, every single time.

That said... everything else still stands. I still think you should be unapologetic, and I still think you should aggressively take charge of the situation.

Athena
 

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In my opinion, no one has a right to sex with another person, even if they are married. That's something that each partner grants to the other partner, every single time.
Sex, in our marriage, is a right. We are entitled to sex with one another. Just as we are entitled to sexual solidarity, love, honesty, caring, loyalty, and all the other basic tenants of marriage.

It does not mean that we can take our partner's body whenever we like; indeed we both exercise the right to turn down sex whenever we want to. It simply means that there is an overall expectation that, on the whole, we will both commit to having regular, satisfying sex with one another. That is an inherent part of the marriage vows. You do not agree to forsake each other with the hope that your spouse might offer you a sexual relationship. No, you forsake all others with the expectation that you will have a sexual relationship with your spouse.

Neither I, nor my wife, look at sex in our marriage as a hope. It is an entitlement for us.

People really seem to start getting uncomfortable when you talk about marital sex as being a right. But if we took the "it's not really an entitlement" attitude about sex and applied it elsewhere, would it still be wrong? For instance, perhaps my wife isn't really entitled to monogamy? Perhaps it's something I should take on a case by case basis, and my wife should fully accept that monogamy isn't a right, but rather a privilege that she could lose?
 

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Sex is an entitlement in marriage. It is a requirement of marriage. In many ways it's the purpose of marriage (sex leading to offspring).

It is also the one thing that makes a marriage different for any other relationship.
 

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I see what you're saying, and it's a point well taken. Within the marriage contract is the sexual relationship.

It does make me uncomfortable to hear it spoken about as a right, because it brings to mind marital rape, which is still rape. (I'm not at all saying that's what you were suggesting! I know you do not support that.)

I think we might be hijacking this thread a bit with this discussion, so maybe we should start a new one, (or maybe one exists?) that defines the line between where our right to our own bodies and our marital right to sex is.

I would say that access to sex is something that is a contractual obligation, but not a right? (Least romantic phrasing ever, I know.) I think there's a crucial distinction there, especially in this thread where rape is a sensitive issue.

But... I think the bottom line is still the same regardless of semantics, which is that your original point was good advice.
 

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I do feel somewhat entitled to intimacy in my relationship though
monkeyboy,

The question I see here is whether or not we can rightfully set our own arbitrary limit on how much we are willing to give and how much we are willing to do and match that limit to another arbitrary concept of how much we should be getting and how we should be getting it the way we want it.

For whatever reason, some of us may have a lot more on our plates than others or more than we would like or more than we think we deserve. The concept that one can say, "I've given all I can and now it's up to you to give me what I want" is just not going to wash. Lots of us, through no fault of our own, have female partners with self esteem issues. If we want our partners to function sexually on the level we consider healthy, it's up to us to do everything we can and bring every power to bear to the end of raising their self esteem. This is a tall order. Not for the weak at heart or the weak at all for that matter. If you don't like what your wife is giving you (and I can't blame you) and you want something more, then you're going to have to do what it takes to encourage her and help her raise her level of self esteem to the point where she can give more.
 
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