Dear Luv Doc,
I love my wife but our sex life sucks. A couple of years ago I got so fed up with getting my advances shot down that I formally gave up. We were clocking in at less than once a month before the pandemic; now we're less than once a quarter. On the rare occasions when we do have sexy time, I'm so self-conscious about it that it affects my performance and makes me wonder if I'm exacerbating my wife's seeming disinterest in sex. It feels like things are spiraling downwards and I'm left wondering if my sex life will be ending in my 30s. We've had some quick conversations about this but I'm nervous about making this a formal issue as I don't want my wife to think my sexual frustration will lead me elsewhere. I don't want an open relationship, just a healthy sex life with my wife. Is our experience normal for long-term couples? How can we explore what's going on here?
– Sex Life on a Downward Spiral
First of all, when it comes to sex, trying to define what's normal is a sticky wicket. Defining something as normal in a sexual relationship inevitably leads to the assumption that anything that doesn't fit that definition is abnormal, and pretty soon you end up with things like sodomy laws because lord knows as soon as you let one couple do anal, every couple is going to want to do anal.
Perhaps what you're really asking is if the amount of sex you're having corresponds to other couples in your age range who are in peak physical condition with minimal body fat who don't drink, do drugs, or have children, insomnia, mental illness, or some sort of uncontrollable hormonal imbalance. You know, just the average couple. I imagine that you're beginning to see that the premise of average sexual frequency is somewhat ridiculous, but let's forge ahead nonetheless.
According to a few studies quoted rather carelessly throughout the interwebs, couples in long-term, committed relationships have sex two to four times a month, on average. So, if you're aiming for average, which is a shamefully low bar for a sexual dynamo like yourself, you're not that far off the mark. However, I don't think concentrating on quantity is going to be in any way helpful in your situation.
It sounds to me like your real problem is not the quantity of your sex, but the quality. If your wife is disinterested in sex but you don't actually know why, it's probably time to ask yourself why you haven't asked her what she wants sexually. Sorry to be rough here, but it is absolutely asinine to assume that if you talk to your wife about improving your sex life she will assume you are thinking about cheating. You're a goddamned grown man. It's time to learn how to communicate. It's time to make this a formal issue.
Put on a fucking tux if you have to, but have a conversation with your wife – not a quickie, but an awkwardly long, insanely embarrassing conversation where you both reveal your wildest sexual desires – because seriously, other than God, a disapproving priest, or maybe your adorably confused dog, who else are you going to confess that freaky shit to? Start by asking your wife what she wants and how you can best give it to her – not just the D, but the E, as in "everything": rose petals, candles, foot massages, hours of neck-straining cunnilingus. What? You thought this shit was going to be easy? Maybe you don't really want sex if you have to actually work at it? Imagine how your wife feels. No, seriously. Imagine. I know I have already dropped several hundred words, so hopefully you get it, but if not, here it is in one easy sentence: If she's not getting what she wants, there's no way you're getting what you want, so go get 'em tiger! Onward into the awkward!
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