Not enough sex

Submitted by James Bonding on
Printer-friendly version

For most of my 30+ year marriage I've felt like I haven't gotten as much sex as I wanted. Now, I want to solve this problem. I welcome anyone who has a similar situation to join this discussion, and would especially like to hear from people who have solved the problem in their own marriages.

My story... A few weeks after we got married, my wife's interest in sex started to wane, and for most of our marriage we've had sex about once a week, even in the early years when we didn't have kids and she didn't work. I think my ideal frequency would be every two or three days, so I've felt somewhat sex-starved for most of my marriage.

For most of our marriage my wife has been critical toward me and yelled at me a lot. Things got worse as time went on. For a few years she didn't sleep with me or have sex with me at all. I stayed in the marriage mostly because I didn't want our kids to come from a broken home. When the youngest kid got to be about 18, I started preparing to divorce. Suddenly my wife decided she wanted to keep me. She started sleeping with me and having sex with me again.

I had learned about karezza from this website. When we got together again, I started practicing karezza, and I've been practicing for the last five years. I believe it has been a huge help, by reducing feelings of irritation toward my wife, thereby avoiding many arguments and fights. We've gone from an oppressive, hostile atmosphere with my wife frequently screaming at me, and no sex or sleeping together for several years, to a quite pleasant and peaceful atmosphere. Now we sleep together, practice karezza, and have less than one quarrel per year. Quite an amazing turnabout!

But, karezza isn't a cure-all. In the last five years, we've still had sex about once a week. Sometimes a bit more, and sometimes we might go several weeks without sex. I feel like usually she agrees to have sex out of a feeling of obligation ("duty sex"). The look on her face when we're about to have sex is not one of eager anticipation, it's one of enduring something that's not pleasant.

...Most of the time. Occasionally, a few times a year, she'll surprise me by inviting me to have sex, sometimes even twice in one day! It makes me wonder who is this strange woman who got into my house? And I have no idea what causes that to happen. But it's certainly nice when it happens, and it gives me some hope that somehow I could do something to make it happen more often. I've been thinking and reading and trying to figure this out. What follows is a diary of sorts, of the last two weeks.

When I asked Emerson what he did to solve the not-enough-sex problem in his marriage, and what he would suggest to others, he said "Schedule it. Don't assume you both have to feel the same way." (http://www.reuniting.info/comment/95075#comment-95075) Well, "Don't assume you both have to feel the same way" is an interesting thought. If my wife simply had a low or zero sex drive, I could live with that, if I got enough sex anyway. But I think my wife actually dislikes sex (most of the time). I don't like feeling like I'm forcing her to do something unpleasant. It makes me feel like "Am I such a lousy lover?" I'd rather be with someone who would enjoy being with me.

"Schedule it." Well, I have a hard enough time just scheduling single sex-dates. If I try to make a date for the middle of the week, she might or might not agree. But when the time comes, often she will postpone it to the next day, then the next day, then we're into the weekend, and sometimes she keeps postponing it into the next week. If I can't schedule a single date, I don't have much hope of setting a regular, recurring schedule.

Sunday: I send this email to my wife. I sent email because having verbal discussions with her is very difficult. At the slightest hint of criticism, she starts counter-attacking and derails the conversation, leaving me angry and frustrated. In this email, I tried to emphasize the positive aspects of our relationship as much as I could, while still asking for what I want as clearly as I could.

Dear _____,

Please watch these videos now, while you are at your computer. The first one is 5 minutes, the second one is 17 minutes:
What if you don’t enjoy making love? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=On_Q8GIkL1E
The sex-starved marriage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep2MAx95m20

_____, I’m very happy that our marriage is so peaceful. We hardly ever fight any more.

I love it when you go to bed early and snuggle up with me, such as Thursday night. And I love it when you invite me to a sex-date, without me having to ask you. After we make love, for two or three days, I feel happy, I feel good physically, I’m productive at work, I feel loving, and I feel satisfied with our marriage.

But, I’m still not happy about two things:
1. We don’t make love often enough. Once a week is not enough for me. Could we make love three or four times a week, for example on Tuesday and Thursday (maybe 5 or 10 minutes if you are tired or need to go to work) and once or twice on weekends? I’m pretty sure I would be happy with that much, and would not ask for more. Here’s another short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtC26dOFQVM
2. I feel like we are not very close. We are more like friends or roommates, not lovers. I really wish we were closer and more loving. When you let me hug you, or snuggle up with you in bed, I feel happy and in love with you. When you snuggle up with me, I feel like you love me. Unfortunately, you don’t like me to touch you, and it seems like you don’t like to sleep with me. For about the last four years, you have watched TV or watched videos on your computer, until 2AM or even later. Could we please go to bed at about the same time, every night? Could you snuggle with me for 10 minutes every night (I don’t mind if you get up again after I go to sleep), and let me snuggle with you for 5 or 10 minutes before you get up? I think I would be very happy with that.

_____, this is important to me. I don’t want the rest of our marriage to be like the last 30+ years – not enough sex and cuddling. I hope we can be closer and more loving.
Love,

Monday night: She hasn't acknowledged that she's read my email, but I think she has. No dramatic change in her behavior, but Tuesday night (after 3 weeks of no sex) she said we could have sex Thursday morning. I was grateful that she had thought of me and was being considerate toward me, and was cautiously looking forward to the event. Cautiously, because so often, things come up and the date gets postponed. Sure enough, Wednesday night she tells me that she got a call reminding her of a dental appointment Thursday morning. So when can we have sex? Saturday morning, she says. I'm thinking, why not tonight, or tomorrow night, or Friday morning? But I said nothing. Asking such questions never gets anywhere.

Friday morning, I wake up early while my wife is still sleeping. I snuggle up with her. If she had woken up, she would likely have pushed me away or gotten out of bed. But she didn't wake up, and I enjoyed an hour of cuddling before I had to get up. That night I told her I had enjoyed snuggling with her that morning. She had no idea about it. Apparently she was fast asleep the whole time. But anyway she didn't seem to mind. (That just gave me an idea: I can set my cell phone to vibrate alarm to wake me up early without waking up my wife. Then maybe I can get some snuggling every morning.) But she also told me that someone had asked her to work Saturday morning. So, when can we have sex...? Sunday night.

Friday night she snuggled up with me, and it was nice, except that I was somewhat sexually aroused and wanting sex so I had a hard time getting to sleep. Maybe this is a case of "Be careful what you wish for..." regarding the snuggling!

Saturday afternoon she comes home, does some gardening, then comes in, turns on the TV, and goes to sleep on the couch. At one point when I see she's awake, I ask her if we could take a nap together, then make love. (Early in our marriage, we would often do that on Sunday afternoons.) She says she's already said we'll make love tomorrow night. Can't we do it today, I ask. She just gives me a cold stare. Around 8PM she's still watching TV. Can we go to bed early I ask? No, she has to practice her violin for her lesson tomorrow morning. 11PM she was still watching TV and hadn't practiced the violin. So once again I feel like she would rather watch TV than spend time with me.

Sunday morning I ask if we can make love in the afternoon, not wait until night when we'll probably both be tired. She says she's got two new classes in the afternoon. I groan inwardly. In the evening she buys a new computer and has me set it up. I get a glimpse of her email and see that she's read my email and hasn't deleted it. I still don't know if she watched the videos. It's about 12 when we get to bed. Shall I set the alarm for 7AM, she asks. (Translation: no sex tonight, reschedule for tomorrow morning.) We snuggle. She moves around and finds a position that's comfortable for her (and is OK for me). I mention that because it's pretty rare for her to do anything other than "endure" my snuggling. To me, it seems like a sign that she plans to do a lot more snuggling in the future, so of course she wants it to be comfortable for her.

Monday morning, FINALLY we do some karezza for about 20 minutes. I'm still a little bit annoyed that we didn't do it on the weekend when we could have spent an hour or more. Still don't know if she is prepared to have sex more often than once a week.

Monday night I help my wife with some stuff and don't get to bed until 2AM. My wife comes to bed even later. Next morning my vibrator alarm goes off and I don't even have the energy to cuddle. We've got to do something about our sleep schedule. Part of the problem has been that my wife says she can't get to sleep if she goes to bed "early" (like midnight). I think it's just a matter of habit. If you're used to going to sleep at 3AM, it's hard to get to sleep earlier.

Tuesday night: Can we make love tomorrow morning? No, she has to get up at 7:30 to go to work. Well, I'm not too bothered, because I'm still feeling pretty good from yesterday. But it shows that she hasn't agreed to the multiple times per week thing.

Wednesday morning: I wake up before 7AM, willing to just cuddle. Wife is sleeping face up. Usually she objects if I put an arm anywhere across the front of her body. So I just wait. After 10 minutes she rolls away from me onto her side. I wait a couple more minutes to see if she'll fall asleep again but she doesn't, so I move in. She leans back against me, which is a bit uncomfortable because I have to spend some effort to avoid falling over backward, but I hold the position until she gets up.

Wednesday afternoon, I'm starting to feel a bit sexually hungry. In the evening, I'm working late, so I call my wife to tell her not to wait up for me. I end the call with "When's the next time we can make love?" Friday morning, she says. Not bad!

Thursday morning, it turns out she doesn't have to work this morning. Why couldn't she have made the date for this morning? Whatever...

Friday morning, she wakes up at 7 and goes to the bathroom. I wake up at the same time, freshen up, and come back to bed, definitely ready for action! But she says she wants to sleep until 8:30. She's lying on her back and I think she would not like me to snuggle up with her, so I get up and do other stuff until 8:30. Then, we made love for 20 minutes. She was relaxed, and it was a better than average experience. One thing I like to do, when I'm on top, is ask her to wrap her legs around mine, so her calves are on top of my calves. Today she opened her legs wider and put her calves behind my knees. It was very comfortable. So what do you know? After all these years, we've found a new variation on one of our standard positions.

Friday night, I move in to cuddle, but she just wants to sleep. So I roll over facing away from her. After 5 minutes she says she can't sleep and snuggles up with me. I drift off to sleep, happy.

Saturday morning, as she's getting up to go to work, I ask when the next time we can make love is. She makes a snarky comment about how since my whole life revolves around having sex, I should be a porn actor. Maybe I asked at a bad time. I'll try asking at different times. She also complains that I haven't cleaned the bathroom and vacuumed and other stuff. I'm not good at thinking up quick retorts, so I keep my mouth shut. After she leaves I think I should have said, "Fine, you go find a man that likes to do those things, and I'll find a women who likes sex, OK?" Maybe a better thing to say would be "If you don't like sex, you should be a nun." Less confrontational, more answering in-kind. I'll try to remember that for next time.

Right now I'm feeling sort of neutral. On one hand, I'm happy about the sex on Monday and Friday, and I think maybe I'll get enough cuddling in the future. But on the other hand, I'm annoyed and hurt by the rejection this morning. There's been way too much of that in this marriage. If we are sliding back into the old pattern, we might not have sex again until next weekend. And we've had sex twice in the two weeks since I wrote the email. Two weeks isn't a very statistically significant sampling period, but so far it doesn't look like our frequency has increased.

For now I think I'll continue this strategy:

Be friendly and positive; don't react to negative events. (The Shamu training technique: http://www.reuniting.info/science/what_shamu_taught_me_about_happy_marriage)

Be persistent, without being a pest. Get a definite date and time for next sex.

Be clear about what I want, whether it's frequency of sex, or just asking her to snuggle up with me.

Saturday afternoon, I clean the bathroom. (No, I didn't vacuum.) When she gets home, she asks what what the smell is in the house. I say it's the stuff I used to clean the bathroom. She says I need to mow the lawn. I do it without a fuss. She camps out on the couch and watches TV from 4PM to midnight, then switches to her computer. While she was still watching TV, I asked if she wanted my help with music practice, which she usually does every night. She says "later." 1:30AM I ask again. She laughs and says "I've been waiting all this time for you. It's too late now." She has a strange smile on face that I don't understand at that moment. I go to bed. I don't know when she came to bed because I was asleep by then.

Sunday morning: GRRR... I feel frustrated and a bit angry. Not a good way to feel when I just want to snuggle up and have a nice time with my lawfully wedded wife.

This morning, as she was getting ready to go to her violin lesson, I thought about whether I should ask (one way or another) whether we could make love today. I really hate to be rejected, but on the other hand I feel like if I don't ask, she'll think it's not important to me and not make time for it. So I asked when she would get back. She said she had another activity late afternoon. That didn't answer my question because she might get home in a couple hours and have most of the afternoon free. I asked when she would get home from the violin lesson. She didn't answer that, but said "Don't worry, I'll make time for you." I said "I want to go to work today for a few hours, so I'd like to know when I should 'make some time'." (I'd rather not wait until late at night when we'll both be tired, and then she'd probably postpone it to Monday morning when we wouldn't have much time.) She said "Just go to work." Then she said (this is what made me angry) "I didn't make time for you yesterday because you were pushing me so much."

First of all, I didn't "push" her at all yesterday, after the very brief exchange yesterday morning.

Second, I feel like she was punishing me yesterday, without even telling me why. (Maybe that explains the strange smile last night.)

And a third thing, I feel like cleaning the bathroom was a waste of time. It felt a bit like I was paying for sex (and without the sex forthcoming!). I feel like, if she really enjoyed hanging out with me and having sex with me, the bathroom wouldn't have been an issue.

So that's where I'm at, stuck in a marriage with a wife who has a much lower sex drive than I do, and who doesn't seem motivated to accommodate my desire for more sex. I don't blame her for that - any more than I accept criticism from her that I want sex "too much." But it sure is a frustrating situation.

Ha! Just as I finished writing that last sentence, my wife came home. She said "This is what I meant about 'making some time' for us." Meaning, she was ready to make love this afternoon. She also said we could make love next Thursday morning, when she doesn't have to work. She also explained that she doesn't like to be pushed, and said if people push her too hard at work, she doesn't cooperate. (Ironically, in the past she has criticized me for being that way toward her!)

Anyway, we made love for half an hour (she was in a hurry to prepare for another class). She seemed to be in a reasonably good mood. I had a good time. My body is feeling great. But I still feel a need to communicate my thoughts about "pushing" and needing to have some idea about when our next sex-date will be. I feel another email coming on...

From last week's and today's experience, it now looks like she is adjusting to the idea of sex twice a week, when it's convenient for her (for example when she has a day off work). Twice a week is of course a lot better than once a week, but I'm not sure if I will feel satisfied with that amount. (Literally, I don't know. It's been ages since I had sex twice a week, consistently.) How to communicate that, without being "pushy"?

Maybe just continue with the Shamu training technique?

Topic:

Comments

Videos?

Can you get Izzy to watch the videos mentioned above?

I avoided saying anything during your 90-day experiment, but now I will say it. If Izzy is unwilling to change, do you want to spend the rest of your life with her? You might both be happier going your separate ways. You could find someone who is more interested in having sex with you, and who is compatible in other ways that are important to you. And she might be happier with you not around "pestering" her.

It's not about whether you are angry with each other, it's about how you want to spend the rest of your life. That's how I feel about my marriage. If I don't feel like I'm getting what I want from the relationship, and I think I could do better with someone else, I'm willing to move on.

BTW, if my wife said that asking for sex was a "stupid question," as your wife has, I would be livid. It's NOT a stupid question! Sex is a fundamental part of marriage, as I just said in another post. Without sex and cuddling, what distinguishes marriage from other types of relationships, such as friends, roommates, colleagues or business partners? Without sex and snuggling, what is the point of being married?!

That's my point of view, as someone whose top two Love Languages are Physical Touch and Quality Time. I recognize that other people may have other Love Languages, and if they can get those needs met in their relationships, that's great. I'm just saying, both partners should get their needs met; BOTH partners should ENJOY being in the relationship. Otherwise, time to move on.

Answers

Belated reply...I am very busy and I suppose content as well. I write more when I am in pain or anxious. I'm now on the train to Fresno passing through the flats of the San Joaquin delta.
Izzy watched some of the Sex Starved Marriage, but she really doesn't like talking about sex.
Not Asking for 90 days definitely broke something. Myself as an addict looked to her for all of the answers. If I didn't ask, she had no answers. If she had all the answers and was holding out, I was hurt and angry. If she had no answers, if she was not able to fix me ('cause I didn't ask) then I was left to my own devices. I had to find other ways of partnering. I certainly do not miss the desperation.
Our marriage is a partnership on so many valuable levels. We will work the sex thing out. I think I could find someone to have sex with me and be more supportive but it would not move me forward in dealing with my addiction. The cost to our partnership would be too great. I know the fantasy of "doing better with someone else". I've even picked a few possibilities, but I'm going to see this marriage though. I will spend the rest of my life with Izzy.
Sorry for the misunderstanding. I said, not Isadora, that asking for sex was a stupid question ('cause I believed she would say , no)
Our marriage is deep in ways that is far beyond sex. We love and care for each other. We challenge each other in ways that cut to the core. We share children, grandchildren and beloved in-laws. We are partners in property and business. We are friends, roommates, and colleagues. The point is, I love her and what I imagine it to be like without her, is not what I want.

Do you thank her?

Do you thank your wife and let her know you appreciate the times she lets you have sex with her?

I almost always thank my wife verbally, which hasn't seemed to make much difference. But maybe the fruit tart, speaking to her Love Languages, made a difference in my case.

I even thank her for cuddling. "I really enjoy holding you in my arms like this. Thank you." Or "It feels so nice when you hold me like that. Thank you."

Oh Yeah

I took what you said to heart and worked on it. Kind of like they said in parenting class, "Catch the kids being good." I am so grateful and I tell her.
I've found a difference in my "thanking". Prior to my 90 day fast, one could easily see the relief of desperation in the thanks and perhaps a little "why didn't you take me out of my misery sooner". Yuck! Free of the need, the thanks is more genuine.
Another one I've been working on is saying "I love you" as we cuddle or have sex. I was amazed at how difficult it as for me. I would get so excited at every touch, I got so high that I felt selfish and like I was lying. I used to think giving was my tender touch but I've taken "giving" out of the encounter. I am very happy to connect in a loving way that has nothing to do with giving, taking or Isadora. It is simply about me being loving with my heart open. The opening of the heart is a well defined physical feeling. I like going to that place.
Having said all that, the lizard is alive and sometimes I will ask for some penis sex. I am, since February, without orgasm. I see clearly how there are times when I just want my penis rubbed and squeezed, and how much of sex is getting my dick into that situation. Well....if I don't intend to cum, what's the point of the rubbing? So often, innumerable times, I've put Izzy in the position of having to say "no". Now I keep my dick to myself until she says "yes". Listen up frat boys!

More ideas

Next time you ask for sex and she says "Don't ask stupid questions," can you say, "Please don't say that. It's NOT a stupid question. We're married, and sex is something that married people do"? Can you find a way to say that, in your own words, in a way that your wife could accept it?

Does your wife have a relaxed/generous mode (like mine does, see my post below), perhaps at the times when she agrees to sex? Perhaps that would be a good time to discuss the possibility of more frequent sex.

I Feel for You

J-B-, I feel for you. No fun, at all, the situation you are in.

What a waste of time, all that TV watching and computer surfing. What a schedule, regularly being up past midnight.

At least that is my view from my prosaic vantage point.

In our 25 year marriage, we have always had intercourse two or three times per week. With my being retired these past seven years (she has been a stay-at-home Mom for 20 years, now) and Karezza, we now have intercourse five or six times per week.

For the last 20 years, I was the sole breadwinner, and my wife played her role in supporting me, sexually. In the five years before that, I was the primary breadwinner, and my wife played her role in supporting me, sexually.

Maybe I subconsciously conveyed that I was paying for the privileges that she bestowed upon me. I certainly felt that I was entitled to sex as often as I wanted it, and my wife cooperated, largely.

In addition to playing primary or sole breadwinner, I was always a very active, loving, and supportive father. I think that was, to my wife, a very important form of 'payment,' also.

Now, we only see our kids when we visit them at college or when they return home for holidays. When they are home, I treat them to good cooking; we all eat gluten-free and organic, with three of us being largely vegetarian. I also prepare special or fermented drinks for them (kombucha, lemon water, golden milk) each morning. I think this is, to my wife, a very important form of payment, also.

I prepare most of my own meals, clean the resulting dishes, vacuum, and wash the cars. I prepare coffee and special drinks each morning for my wife and bring them bedside for her. I help her sort through any physical challenge that she faces: e.g., lifting heavy things for her, taking out the trash after she bundles it up in the kitchen, preparing a special spray to combat a skin infection. I think these are forms of payment that she values.

I am a good son-in-law (we live in my wife's hometown), and we have a close relationship with my wife's parents. I am nothing but supportive and helpful to my in-laws (though we do occasionally verbally cross swords when discussing politics, food, or medicine). I think this is a form of payment that my wife values.

All is not perfect. My wife cooperates during Karezza, but is not interested in the spiritual aspects of it (though she is very spiritual person). Periodically, my wife states that she misses 'normal sex.' Our intercourse rarely goes beyond 20 or 30 minutes.

But, I am content sexually and am perfectly happy with our marriage. That was not the case when I was watching porn, which I broke from when we began Karezza two and a half years ago.

So, from my vantage point, that is how I get the amount of intercourse that I want: I pay for it, through acts that my wife values and through my having been the primary or sole breadwinner and implicitly -- and probably explicitly, on occasion -- expecting 'performance' from her.

Honestly,

if the tables were turned I don't think you'd want to be bought either. I see sex as a chance to nurture someone I love, but neither of us has a sense of entitlement. On the other hand, we both really, really believe in what we've written about how intimacy nourishes, so we're pretty good about keeping lovemaking a priority.

Gents, would your wives consider reading my book?

Marnia, my wife grudgingly

Marnia, my wife grudgingly read CPA early on in our Karezza journey. She really does not like to discuss sex. We discuss many other things, and jointly take tacks at odds with conventional wisdom. But, talking about sex is just not in the cards.

I just completed a protracted laborious task for my wife, and in exchange, she agreed to read Diana Richardson's, 'Tantric Orgasm for Women.' Diana's focus on energy may appeal to my wife.

I see nothing distasteful in each of us playing our role in supporting each other, our children, etc. We each have strengths, which we play to. And, as adults, we each take on required less-than-pleasant tasks without complaint (me, the 'Honey Do' list; her, frequent intercourse) and with even-temperedness.

My wife absolutely believes that intimacy nourishes. But, for her, cuddling is sufficiently intimate, and we enjoy that daily. But, if it was up to her, we would have intercourse only once or twice per week. So, we compromise: I nurture her with loving acts (cooking, chores) that benefit her health and she nurtures me with loving acts (frequent intercourse) that benefit my health.

I used the term 'payment' to illustrate that I provide my wife with acts that she values. I am giving, and she is giving in return.

Question

That's a fascinating account, James. It paints a really clear picture, except for the exact nature of your Karezza lovemaking. Is it the case that both of you are avoiding orgasm altogether, and have done for the last few years? Equally, if not more, importantly - does your wife enjoy what you both do? Not on reflection, or in anticipation, but as you're doing it?

If you plan on continuing on the Karezza journey, I think you need to address the chaotic nature of your scheduling! Scheduled sex should be no different to scheduled anything else; but in your case, 'dates' keep getting shunted aside for other, seemingly more important issues, whereas those issues don't get shunted aside for sex. Repeated over time, this behaviour trivialises and downgrades sex to seeming almost inconsequential, by comparison.

You both sound very busy people, so carving out mutually acceptable times may be difficult; but your wife does seem to spend a good number of non work oriented hours in front of a screen. That might be a good time to concentrate on. If I was in your shoes, I would try and introduce a playful element to this. Maybe chose a time that's mutually convenient (8-9pm?) and roll a dice, every evening. Decide what odds you would find acceptable (some numbers you make love, some numbers you don't) and abide by what is thrown. This helps neutralise any pressure to 'perform' and resentment at being 'rejected'. We tried it for a while and it was fun - sort of!

We were never in your exact situation, but we have tried numerous forms of scheduling over the years, and finally settled on a very loose arrangement of 'every other day', either mid morning or late afternoon. We're lucky in that our time is our own, in this respect. In actuality, we miss many days, and rarely catch up on arrears, but this is fine, as the willingness is enough to see us (me!) through any gaps, which are almost always caused by external circumstances intervening.

The great virtue of 'every other day' is that if a day is missed, for whatever reason, 'tomorrow' is automatically 'on', without either of us having to mention it. There's no counting, and not much remembering required.

I can understand your recourse to email rather than a discussion that is likely to go wrong. We've found, over time, that talking about sex is ruinous, more often than not. Sometime, it has to be done, but it can seem like extracting teeth. However, arranging - or rearranging - a schedule should be the single most important topic, and it can only really be done face to face.

the exact nature of our karezza lovemaking, and some questions

"That's a fascinating account, James. It paints a really clear picture, except for the exact nature of your Karezza lovemaking. Is it the case that both of you are avoiding orgasm altogether, and have done for the last few years? Equally, if not more, importantly - does your wife enjoy what you both do? Not on reflection, or in anticipation, but as you're doing it?"

I've been avoiding orgasm as much as possible for the last five years, or seven years if I count my time alone not masturbating. I have maybe 4-6 unintentional orgasms per year, from getting too close to the edge during lovemaking, or due to my wife making unexpected movements that send me over the edge. Recently I've been staying a bit farther from the edge, and I don't think I've had an orgasm in the last 5 months. (Still enjoy karezza as much as before, maybe even more, if yesterday's experience is an indication.)

What is my wife doing? That's an interesting question. I don't think she's trying to do anything! I think she rarely had orgasms, even before I started karezza. I can only recall about three times in our entire marriage when I think she had an orgasm. In one case I felt a single, quick, sharp contraction in her vagina (quicker and sharper than what she can do if she voluntarily contracts her PC muscles). I asked what happened and she said she had an orgasm.

If I ask her how many orgasms she has had in her life, she is pretty vague. I suppose that would make sense, if she has had so few.

So I have a question for you guys: is it usually obvious when a woman has an orgasm? I haven't had much experience with that, and somehow I don't think porno videos give an accurate indication of what women's orgasms look like! Smile

In the pre-karezza time of our marriage, my wife would sometimes get this look of great pleasure on her face in the last few seconds before I would have an orgasm. She looked more beautiful in those moments than at any other time. That's about the only thing I miss about conventional sex. She doesn't have that look during karezza.

I think she doesn't feel much of anything during karezza. So it's kind of boring and thus not a priority for her. She does ask me to make some sounds of pleasure during karezza (otherwise, my natural inclination is to be completely silent!), so maybe she can enjoy my pleasure vicariously.

It seems like she enjoyed conventional sex more than our current karezza practice. But I really don't want to go back. Our marriage is so much more peaceful and pleasant, and I feel so much better, mentally and physically, without orgasms in my life.

Oh, another question. I've found that I'm less sensitive when I have an erection (over 50%, say) than when I'm soft. This means that soft entry can be tricky because I can get over-stimulated and have an orgasm (premature ejaculation) while trying to get it in. Similarly, if I lose my erection while inside, I sometimes have an orgasm while trying to move and regain my erection. Unfortunately I don't feel anything if I'm inside and soft and don't move at all, and I can easily fall out. So I usually try to have a greater than 50% erection before going in, and I end up moving almost constantly to keep my erection.

I just wonder if other guys have the same experience. Have you found ways to work around those problems?

Orgasms

It's pretty clear when my wife has an orgasm as she loses all interest in sex and only wants to curl up and doze. Prior to that, she also moves and convulses in unmistakable ways.

My wife thought Karezza was dull to begin with but she relishes it now. It was a slow process as she found it incredibly difficult not to follow her well worn pattern of ramping up the stimulation in a linear fashion, leading to the hot whirlpool plunge. As did I! Nowadays, she likes nothing better than to wallow in the warm shallows.

If you've both been practicing Karezza for more than five years and you love it but your wife still finds it less appealing than conventional sex, maybe you could consider the alternative Stanley Bass approach? He recommends Karezza as a marriage saver, but in the particular context of men forsaking orgasm for the purposes of enabling their partners to climax more often and more vigorously than they did before. His belief is that intercourse based around male orgasm limits a couple to brief, unsatisfactory bouts of infrequent lovemaking that leaves both parties unsatisfied and the female partner so unexcited at the prospect of sex she may shut up shop completely. In his view, because non orgasmic males can 'last' indefinitely, their partners are no longer rushed and become able to climax in their own time, from which they derive far greater pleasure and satisfaction than when dependent on the vagaries of male orgasm.

Thanks, Sood

That's an interesting idea. I had given up on being able to do anything to make her enjoy sex, so I have just been doing what I want, which is moving just enough to maintain an erection and avoid falling out.

But with this change, and her apparently seeking more pleasure, perhaps I should do whatever it takes...

Maybe sell the scheduling

as a way to avoid being perceived as "pushing" her, given that you don't want to be "pushing" anymore than she wants to be "pushed." The "every other day" (as delayed by external events) tends to work well for us.

Also, staying on interactive screens late at night is stressful for the brain and can mess up healthy sleep patterns and cause irritability. Can you (together) agree on a time that you will be off of them? This book has a good description of why intereactive screens can cause problems. Even though it's a book for parents, the science applies to adult brains too. Reset Your Child's Brain: Victoria L. Dunckley MD - Amazon.US

Consistently snuggling or karezza-ing before sleep (as opposed to exhausting herself online) is likely to be much better for both of you. Maybe she could treat it as therapeutic, like meditation...at least at first.

Dissatifaction

Thank you JB, you have held a mirror up to my face. Your story is mine, I own it, and I own this face so reflected. It is the face of dissatisfaction and blame. It is not an attractive face. No one, save perhaps the Martyr to Mother, would ever be attracted to this face. The feeling turns in the pit of my stomach (perhaps I need breakfast). (I even wondered at one point if you might be writing a parody of my story.)
Remember friends, I am speaking of myself. Your words only ignite me.
3-4 day Passion Cycle, I know this too. Sweet, sweet dopamine...I get so high, life is so good. For 3 days I am handsome, smart, creative, loving....and then it starts to turn and rot. The voice starts speaking (He needs a name....Dastardly Durd?), "I want more. This is not enough. She's got it and won't give it to me." I am angry and resentful. BUT!!!! what face do I put on? What mask does she see? It's the "I Love You" face on good days and the "Innocent Victim" face on not so good days. This sort of duplicity drives children crazy, and a strong woman to say, "Fuck his shit, I'm outta here!" For, gawd knows what reason, she may not walk, but she's left.
Day 85

Day 88

Yesterday was my birthday and it was a good day, but she didn't even....
What will my first question be? Should I ask a question on Day 91?

She Knows

I'm Not Asking. I've mentioned it a couple of times but we haven't really talked about it because I haven't asked to talk about it. I'm pretty sure my first question will be, "I've been trying to Not Ask for 90 days. I'd like to have a conversation with you about what that's been like for me and for you." See how that goes.
There are parts I like. It's forced me to not see her as my Salvation. It's helped me to become somewhat more self reliant in calming myself. And most certainly decreased anxiety about asking for sex, 'cause I ain't askiin'!
But also feel more disconnected and I miss the physical connection.

More of the same, but maybe some progress

Hi folks. I really appreciate all your replies. I haven't posted recently because I've been really busy with work.

If I were to recount what has happened in the last few weeks, it would be similar to the first post. If anything, my wife has been sleeping with me even less than before. It seems she's been watching a particular soap opera on TV at 2AM. I've offered to record the shows on our DVR so she can watch at a more convenient time, but she won't have it.

(An interesting thing about VCRs and DVRs: I found that after we got a VCR - years ago - I watched TV a lot less. Without a recorder, you've got to watch at a particular time or you miss the show. With a recorder, there's no pressure to watch at a particular time. I found that I didn't have much interest and seldom spent time to watch the shows I recorded.)

Before she started watching this soap opera, she was watching dating shows! Why is a married woman watching dating shows?! If I were to put an optimistic spin on it, maybe she is looking for answers to the problems in our relationship, much as I look for answers here on Reuniting.

But in general, the TV watching and the going to bed late has been annoying to me. I feel like "WTF, you'd rather do that stuff than snuggle up with me? Is it really that boring or unpleasant to spend time with me?"

She has said that the soap opera will end in a few weeks, so maybe she will get to bed earlier in the future. I feel cautious about celebrating that news, because several times she has said that she should go to bed earlier and get more sleep. But most resolutions she makes seem to last less than 24 hours. Next night, she'll still be watching TV. It's like making a resolution to get some exercise or go on a diet. "I'll start... tomorrow!" But tomorrow never comes.

There have been some positive developments that make me feel cautiously optimistic. The biggest one is that she rescheduled her violin lesson from Sunday morning to Sunday afternoon, in order to make a time for us to make love on Sunday mornings. We did make love the last two Sundays (the first time it got delayed in the typical fashion to Sunday afternoon, but still...). And she has said we can make love tomorrow (Sunday). So I feel optimistic about that continuing as a regularly scheduled event.

She changed her schedule without me asking (other than what I said in the original email I posted previously). We haven't had another discussion about scheduling.

I think there has been a change in her attitude about sex and cuddling. Sex and cuddling has (almost) never been interesting or important to her. People have a tendency to assume, if they don't think about it carefully, that other people think and feel the same way they do. So I think she assumed that sex and cuddling were not really important to me, that perhaps my requests were just momentary whims, and I would forget about them in 5 minutes.

In fact, sex and cuddling are VERY important to me. I think they are the most important, fundamental aspects of a marriage or other romantic relationship. Otherwise, what distinguishes a romantic relationship from other types of relationships, such as friends, roommates, colleagues, or business partners? Without sex and cuddling, why be married?

So I think my wife understands that a little better now. Previously, my requests would usually be met with a dismissive and sometimes an annoyed attitude. Now, I feel like she has some empathy, and I feel like she is really trying to accommodate my requests (although it still seems hard for her to resist watching the next episode of the soap opera).

One reason I like "The sex-starved marriage" video so much (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep2MAx95m20) is that it makes it clear, to the less-interested partner, how important sex is to the other partner. That video, or maybe one of the related ones, also talks explicitly about empathy.

Wednesday night I asked if we could have sex Thursday morning (knowing she wasn't working that morning). She said no, she had another appointment that morning, but we could make love Friday morning. Thursday night, she went to bed around 3AM, and I wondered if she would be willing to have sex in the morning. Well, she was willing, and I had an above-average nice time for 30 or 40 minutes. That night I bought a fruit tart for her. I presented it to her, explaining that I had gone to four different stores to find the type she likes, and that this was a thank-you gift for the wonderful time she had given me that morning.

That night we both went to bed around 3AM. She said her nipples were itchy and she wanted me to massage them. Suuuure, no problem! Smile We snuggled and I massaged, and I don't think either of us got any sleep until she got up and went to work. But despite being a bit tired and sleepy today, I'm pretty happy!

Shamu training technique. http://www.reuniting.info/science/what_shamu_taught_me_about_happy_marriage I'll continue with that.

Thanks for sharing your progress

I know it can be frustratingly slow at first. And I can see why you would resent the TV obsession. I wish I had a magic solution, but the fact that she's rescheduling at all is a very good sign. Have you tried sex without orgasm when you engage in it? For some couples it makes sex more frequent.

Yes

Karezza, consistently for five years. Unfortunately it hasn't made any difference at all for me regarding frequency.

Responses

"So I have a question for you guys: is it usually obvious when a woman has an orgasm?"

My experience is the same as yours, contractions in the vagina. My wife often had orgasms during ordinary sex, and I have sensed an orgasm from her only once or twice during Karezza.

Great observation, that you are more sensitive and prone to inadvertent orgasm when entering soft. I had not thought about that, and half of my inadvertent ejaculation episodes are upon entry.

For me, it seems that the precipitating cause of my inadvertent ejaculation upon entry is too much foreplay, and which has moved onto stimulation. I sure like groping and rubbing, but it sure seems to cause me problems. Yes, I sometimes have inadvertent ejaculation later, but that is because I have been playing too close to the edge.

I feel for you, J-B-. Sex and physical intimacy is very important to me, too, and I share your feelings about it being of utter import in a marriage. I think I could not stay in our marriage if my wife voluntarily withheld sex and physical intimacy. Fortunately for me, she does not. Too bad that she is open-minded about many things, but not about Karezza. Oh well. But, no doubt, our marriage and emotional balance have been improved -- at least from my perspective -- by our foregoing orgasm.

Funny (kind of): I clearly feel and, seems to me, act more calm. My wife denies that I have changed (for the better), denying that I am less angry and irritable. But, she also accuses me of being too unresponsive -- 'Why don't you want to talk about this!!??' -- when we are in a disagreement. My lack of engagement during her dramas is purposeful; things seem to spiral out of control when we engage when feelings are running amok. It is a no-win situation for me when she is emotional, it seems.

Me, I think it is the damn TV that she watches that subconsciously programs her that orgasms are good and that occasional high emotion is okay. And, she is especially trigger-prone on matters pertaining to our youngest child (age 21), who is sensitive but strong.

But, all in all, things are very good for us.

May your wife awaken soon, J-B-, and take the wonderful path that lies right before her. Or, may she at least start giving you more frequent sex and physical intimacy.

P.S. -- this may seem a cop-out, but I will offer it: there are a number of philosophical and spiritual texts that speak to the transitory nature of this world. They offer me comfort. As a result, when things are tough with my wife, my first response is no longer, 'I need to get out of here.' Now, I think more along the lines of, 'Next life, next wife' (will be better).

Follow-On Observation

This is how I correlate erection vs. soft entry with the risk of inadvertent ejaculation.

For me, the sequence is:
My wife says that she has time for intercourse --> immediate erection
Thereafter, if I engage in 'hot' foreplay --> loss of erection
Or, if I engage in extended cool foreplay --> loss of erection

So, the correlation for me is: presence of erection during initial part of intercourse means that I have had no hot foreplay and am not apt to ejaculate upon entry.

And, the absence of erection, as long as it was the result of extended cool foreplay, means that I am not apt to ejaculate upon entry.

But, if the absence of erection comes as a result of hot foreplay, there is a clear and present danger of inadvertent ejaculation, both upon entry and during the entire session.

Karezza seems to work best for me when there is no foreplay. I use lubrication -- grapeseed oil -- so I am not causing physical discomfort or pain for my wife. My wife seems content with no foreplay; maybe it is just her getting her 'duty' over with more quickly.

P.S. -- outside of intercourse, I give my wife lots of foot, leg, arm, back, and facial massages with no groping and no expectation of sex. So, she receives physical demonstrations of my love and affection outside of intercourse. Maybe, in her mind, that is a palatable substitute for foreplay.

Who is this strange woman in my bed?!

As I mentioned last time, Friday morning we had some great karezza, then that night we snuggled for hours. What I didn’t say was that she seemed pretty aroused. She was pushing against me with her hips, and so on. I was thinking, if I asked her if she wanted to make love again, she might say yes. But I didn’t ask because 1) I was still high from that morning’s lovemaking and was happy to just snuggle, 2) it seemed likely we would have sex Sunday morning, and 3) I didn’t want to risk a bad reaction if I was misreading her signals.

She was busy most of Saturday, but Saturday night we snuggled some more and she started grinding into me again. Finally I asked if she wanted to have sex, and she said, if I want to, ok. So I started. Unfortunately I didn’t use enough lube, there was too much friction, and – oops! That was the end of my 5-month no orgasm streak. She asked if I wanted to try again now, or in the morning.

In the morning, we did karezza. Because of the orgasm, I was less sensitive, so I was able to be more active without coming again. She noticed.

That day, out of the blue, as if it was her own idea, she asked me to set the DVR to record her soap opera. (I had suggested it briefly a few days earlier.) That’s significant, because she won’t have to stay up so late to watch the show.

That night, we snuggled, and she started grinding into me again. She asked if I wanted to have sex now, or next morning. I said I’d have to think about it and didn’t do anything more. After a few minutes she took the initiative. We started doing karezza. She was quite active, compared to her usual very passive style. She requested about four sex positions, and did other things we hadn’t done for five years! After an hour, she moved into bridge position. That didn’t work very well for me, so we moved to scissors position. We lay still, with me inside her for about an hour. It was lovely, with me enjoying even her slightest movements. Then, she said she was still not satisfied, so we went at it again for another half hour, and then we lay still, connected for another half hour. And then she said we could make love again in the morning if I wanted to. (I didn’t – I needed to get some sleep!) Three hours of lovemaking in one stretch! That may be a record for our entire marriage!

I thought things might go back to normal that night, but no… We snuggled, and she offered sex that evening or next morning. Unfortunately, I had gotten home late and needed to go to work early, so I declined.

I asked if we could have sex Wednesday morning. She said she has to work on Wednesday, so no. Maybe Friday or Saturday.

Anyway, my big question is, WHAT HAPPENED?? Why the complete turnabout? And will this continue?

I asked her why the sudden change. She said she just wanted to be nice to me for Father’s Day. But to me, that doesn’t make sense. Why not around Christmas, or my birthday?

One possibility is that getting the fruit tart for her as a thank you for the wonderful sex Friday, was just the right thing to do. It may have spoken to her Love Languages, which I think are Gifts and Acts of Service.

Another possibility is that she got enough pleasure from the Friday morning event that it sort of woke her up from her normal boredom and made her seek more of the same.

Or maybe it was the Shamu training technique. Or the email. Or the videos. Darned if I know!

But I'm certainly not complaining!

Fruit tart

I would get a standing order in at that bakery!

Seriously, if your wife's 'love languages' are Gifts and Acts of Service, then maybe they are the keys to the kingdom. However, you did say in your original post:

"Occasionally, a few times a year, she'll surprise me by inviting me to have sex, sometimes even twice in one day! It makes me wonder who is this strange woman who got into my house? And I have no idea what causes that to happen"

So maybe this is another instance of that? Or maybe, each time this happens, it's been preceded by you giving or doing something, which has triggered her response?

Whatever the cause, the important thing is your wife is enjoying sex with you. Somehow you need to help her establish a mindset where the prospect of physical intimacy becomes more appealing than other ways of spending time.

I have memories of persuading my wife to make love on occasions when she gave every appearance of wanting to do something else to 'fill in time', but rather than thank her afterwards (which I think, in another post, you said you do) I would encourage her to verbally acknowledge how much more pleasurable and satisfying what we were doing was than what she had planned. I would do this both during and after the event. It wasn't an inquisition I put her through so much as a momentary exchange of affirmations. I think, over time, this had a profound effect.

.

Thanks again, Sood

I think the "momentary exchange of affirmations" that you described is an excellent suggestion. I've been keeping it in mind, for use at an appropriate time. So far, I haven't seen an opportunity, for several reasons:

The main reason is because most of the time when we have sex (or just cuddle), it's not obvious to me that she's enjoying it more than an alternative activity, such as just getting more sleep.

We both prefer to have sex in the morning. So the alternative activity (e.g. watching TV at 2AM) is somewhat disconnected in time. Would it help any if I said "I'm glad you came to bed early last night so we could make love this morning"? Dunno.

Finally, I rarely do any "persuading." If I talk her into having sex or even cuddling when she doesn't want it, she is resentful. So I leave the scheduling up to her.

I do thank her for sex, and recently, even thank her for snuggling up with me. Maybe that, in addition to other things I've been doing, is sufficient to bring about some positive change.

Problem solved, I think!!!

For the past several weeks we've been having sex about twice a week, with a couple of exceptions. One week she had to work every day, so we didn't have sex in the middle of the week. I was OK with that, because she's been so considerate lately. And last week I was away on a trip. After getting back, we picked up where we left off. Yesterday morning we had a very nice karezza session for more than an hour.

We never did have a face-to-face discussion about setting a schedule, but somehow she established a schedule on her own: sex Sunday morning, and sex some morning during the week when she has a day off from work. Typically that's Thursday, which makes for a nice, regular schedule.

I've found, from these last few weeks experience, that sex every three or four days is enough to keep me happy and satisfied. That's great news for both of us. It's great for me, that I'm satisfied with what I'm getting. And it's good for her, that she doesn't have to give more than she wants to.

So, I'm ready to declare the problem of not enough sex in our marriage SOLVED!

This is a HUGE deal. It's been a major frustration for me for nearly all of our 30+ year marriage. I've spent thousands of hours feeling resentful, angry, sorry for myself, considering divorce, indulging in porn (not in the last 7 years), and so on. It's been the #1 problem in our marriage, from my point of view.

And now the problem seems to be solved. Any remaining problems in our marriage seem pretty minor to me.

It's a strange feeling. Maybe the guy who first scaled Mt. Everest, or the guy who proved Fermat's Last Theorem, felt sort of like this. "Gee, I just accomplished my biggest life goal. Now what do I do?!"

Part of the strangeness is that there was no drama (of a negative sort) connected with the change; no long discussions (no discussions at all, really), no ultimatums delivered, etc. It makes it hard to determine what caused the change. (The mating frenzy weekend was rather dramatic, but I think it happened after the change had occurred.)

So, how DID I solve the problem?

I'd like to know the answer to that question because: 1) It could be a valuable lesson in how to solve tough life problems of any sort, and 2) I'd like to help out others who are in a similar situation to what I was in.

I think part of the answer is, my wife changed. On 6/18 I wrote:

"I think there has been a change in her attitude about sex and cuddling. Sex and cuddling has (almost) never been interesting or important to her. People have a tendency to assume, if they don't think about it carefully, that other people think and feel the same way they do. So I think she assumed that sex and cuddling were not really important to me, that perhaps my requests were just momentary whims, and I would forget about them in 5 minutes.

"In fact, sex and cuddling are VERY important to me. ...

"So I think my wife understands that a little better now. Previously, my requests would usually be met with a dismissive and sometimes an annoyed attitude. Now, I feel like she has some empathy, and I feel like she is really trying to accommodate my requests (although it still seems hard for her to resist watching the next episode of the soap opera)."

The change is, she now thinks about our sex life a lot more, compared to before. She takes it into account when setting her schedule, and sometimes she tells me when we can have sex, without me asking.

But what caused that change in her thinking?

I reread my previous posts in this thread (good thing I kept that diary and wrote those posts!), and I think it started with the email. I wrote: "Monday night [a day after I had sent the email]: She hasn't acknowledged that she's read my email, but I think she has. No dramatic change in her behavior, but Tuesday night (after 3 weeks of no sex) she said we could have sex Thursday morning." It took several weeks for her to rearrange her schedule and start finding more opportunities to have sex, so it wasn't clear for the first several weeks that there was any real and lasting improvement.

Why did I succeed now and not many years earlier?

That's a tough question, and I'm not sure I know the answer, unfortunately. It could be a combination of things. Anyway, here are some of my thoughts:

* Writing. It's interesting that I succeeded when I wrote about my problems on this blog. I've found that writing helps me focus and crystallize my thoughts about a subject.

* Having a goal. I've had this goal for about the last six years: either increase the amount of sex and cuddling to a level that's satisfactory to me, or else persuade my wife to have an amicable divorce so we can each find more suitable partners, or she could live by herself, whatever she would prefer.

But obviously, simply having a goal isn't sufficient to let one achieve that goal. You have to take constructive action.

* A problem solving attitude. For too long, I've wallowed in self-pity and blame. Those are emotions, and don't really help to solve problems (except that the unhappiness can be a motivation to take action). For the last year, I've been focusing on what can I SAY and DO to either increase the amount of sex in our marriage, or else persuade her to accept an amicable divorce.

Communication with my wife about contentious subjects is very difficult. She just dominates most "discussions." (Imagine a match between a Sumo wrestler and a 98-pound weakling - you get the idea!) So I have to condense what I want to say into one, short sentence, and then find a good time to say it. (Or send a succinct, written message.)

Last year I came up with this line to say to her: "I don't want the next 30 years of our marriage to be like the last 30 years - not enough sex!" I patiently waited for a good opportunity to say it, and said it after we had gone several weeks without any sex, and she declined my request for sex. I think that time she just gave me a cold stare. We probably had sex a few days later, but nothing happened regarding frequency of sex.

A few months later, we had gone a couple weeks without sex, and I started thinking about how to manipulate her into asking for a divorce. First, I should explain that, occasionally, when she is irritated with me, she will angrily say that we can get a divorce. But I don't think she really wants a divorce - six years ago when I was serious about wanting a divorce, she refused and eventually changed her behavior to get me to stay. So one morning, when we both woke up 20 minutes before she had to get up and go to work, I politely asked if we could have sex for just five minutes. She declined, and got up and got in the shower. I stood outside the shower and continued the discussion as calmly and politely as I could. I repeated the line about not enough sex. She said, if you're not happy, we can get a divorce. SCORE! I had gotten her to suggest divorce, as if it was her idea. I just calmly said "OK" and walked away. I planned to fill out the paperwork for an uncontested divorce and present it to her a few days later. Unfortunately, I wasn't prepared for what happened next.

A few minutes later, she got out of the shower, hunted me down, and asked anxiously (she was probably thinking, "Oh no! What have I done?!"), "Shall we call the kids and tell them you're planning to get divorced?" I said said something like "I'm not planning to get divorced," meaning, it's your idea, not mine. But she interpreted it to mean, I'm not planning to get divorced at all, no emergency, etc. For some reason (perhaps she was extra nice to me for the next few days) I didn't take any action to continue with the divorce. Unfortunately, the sex frequency didn't increase.

The next step in the problem solving path was to read a bunch of articles and watch a bunch of videos about "sex starved marriage," and to start this blog and ask for help.

* More communication, don't assume she knows how I feel or how serious the situation is. As I've said, my wife is a pro at dominating a conversation. Unfortunately, she seems so focused on saying whatever she wants to say and "winning the debate" that she doesn't really hear what I say.

I, on the other hand, am very quiet and not very assertive (I'm working on it, but it's been a long, long, long road for me). I hate verbal confrontation. So my pattern has been to ask for something (for example, sex), and if she doesn't agree, immediately drop the matter, in order to avoid confrontation. I also dislike repeating myself. This has been a problem, considering that often my wife doesn't hear what I say.

Since sex is so important to me, and I've spent thousands of hours thinking about the problem, it's easy for me to assume that she knows how I feel. But that can be a bad assumption. It can require many repetitions of the message, or some drastic action, to get the point across.

It's truly amazing how hard it can be to get my point across to her. During the time we were not sleeping together and were in a cold war with each other, several times I asked her to sleep with me, and tried to make it clear that I was just asking her to sleep with me, and was not asking for sex. (Years later, she said she didn't believe me that I wasn't asking for sex.) Most of those requests by me resulted in screaming fits by her. So I have a hard time understanding how she could NOT know that I was unhappy about the lack of sex and sleeping together. Anyway, she said she would sleep with me when I got a better job. I did get what I considered a better job, but she said it wasn't good enough and still refused to sleep with me. It was beginning to look like she would never sleep with me again.

I started considering divorce more and more seriously. I sent an email to my wife saying, in part, "If you don't like being together with me, let's just end this marriage." I'm sure she read the email, but there was no response.

A few months later, I was applying for a job in a nearby city. I told my wife that if I got the job, I would probably get an apartment there and start looking for another girlfriend. That started a huge argument (not surprisingly!), but nothing changed. (I didn't get the job.)

Months later, I told my wife I wanted to sell our house and get a divorce. No reaction. A week later I told her I had ordered an appraisal of our house, so we could sell it. Why do you want to sell the house, she asked. I was amazed that she didn't remember what I said last week. "So we can get a divorce," I said. She looked sad, said "Oh, you want a divorce?" and walked away.

Next night, she delivered an hour+ monologue about how she had decided to "stay with me." I don't remember anything else that she said. But I was listening carefully at that time, and I did not hear her say anything about sleeping with me again. And the monologue was all about her plans and what she wanted. She did not ask what I wanted or planned to do. I suppose it was rather cruel of me, and perhaps I missed an opportunity to improve the marriage, but since she didn't ask what I wanted or planned to do, I said nothing, and continued with my plans to get a divorce.

A few weeks later, I told my wife I was going to visit another woman. Not much reaction, she seemed only slightly curious. Maybe she didn't believe me. The next week, I did visit the woman for a couple weeks. When I returned home, you'd think there would be a huge showdown, right? But no, my wife said almost nothing, hardly even acknowledged that anything had happened. I think she was in a state of shock and denial. Nothing changed. I continued with my divorce plan.

During those years when we weren't sleeping together and I had no nice, warm wife to snuggle up with, I preferred to stay up until 3 or 4AM rather than going to bed alone. Sometimes my wife would come find me and deliver hour-long tirades about how staying up late was "bad for your health" and would make me too tired to work, etc. Usually I would just try to ignore her as best I could. Sometimes I would ask her, in a polite and non-confrontational manner, if she wanted to go to bed with me. She never agreed, and would usually just continue with her tirading.

A couple months after the visit with the other woman, my wife came to lecture me about going to bed. I asked if she wanted to sleep with me. She went away. Ten minutes later, she came back and said she was busy and tired and couldn't sleep with me on weekdays, but that she could sleep with me on weekends. I just about fell out of my chair when I heard that! But that's the story of how we got back together. And as it turned out, we have been sleeping together almost every night since then, not just weekends.

* Persistence, repetition. As you can see from the two stories (getting back together, and increasing the sex frequency), it can take a LOT of persistence and repeating the message to get the message heard and accepted.

Recently I've been willing to continue conversations longer than before. "Can we make love tomorrow morning?" "No, I have to work tomorrow." Previously, I would have dropped the subject (in order to avoid provoking her anger) and spent the rest of the day feeling frustrated, resentful, etc. Now, I'm more likely to continue, "OK, when can we?" And often get a satisfactory answer!

Perhaps I realized that that my wife wasn't going to change her habits unless I took some action and pushed a bit (without being obnoxious).

* Determination, visualization, focus. As I said in the first paragraph of this thread, "Now, I want to solve this problem." I think I've been more determined this time than previously to solve the problem.

I don't believe in mysticism, such as is presented in the movie "The Secret." But I do believe that visualization can sometimes be helpful for achieving goals. My non-mystical explanation of how it works is this: In visualization, one may anticipate the enjoyment of achieving the goal. This provides motivation. One may also consider a number of paths to achieving the goal. With enough thought, one may come up with some paths that might work, and try them. If they don't succeed, continue thinking and trying other paths. Certainly success is more likely if you try some things, than if you do nothing!

I think visualization (or intense, prolonged thinking about a problem) also causes the subconscious to tune in to opportunities relevant to the problem. For example, one time I was looking for a girlfriend. I got attached to one girl, but after a few dates she ignored me. After a couple weeks I finally decided that relationship was definitely over and done with. I went sightseeing (not even thinking about looking for another girlfriend) and a couple hours later spotted a cute and interesting-looking girl and started a conversation. It seemed like a miracle that I found someone else so quickly, but I think it was just that my subconscious was tuned in and looking for opportunities. If I hadn't been looking, I never would have noticed that girl or struck up a conversation with her.

So that's all I can think of to say about how I solved those problems. I hope those ideas may be useful to others.

I'm really happy for you both

Of course, I think you should give karezza attempts some credit. It really, truly does seem to create harmony in subtle ways that the logical mind can't fathom.

In any case, as I read this, it almost sounded like you were trying to get yourself annoyed again by rehearsing all the injustice over the years.

Suggestion: "Don't worry; be happy!" Drinks

Ha!

Yes, I can see how it might seem that I was trying to get myself annoyed again. And indeed, I do feel somewhat annoyed when I review those old memories. But no, that was not the intent.

The intent of all that writing was, as I said, "1) It could be a valuable lesson in how to solve tough life problems of any sort, and 2) I'd like to help out others who are in a similar situation to what I was in."

Some of the other stories I have read or watched about sex-starved marriages are heartbreaking, and certainly resonate with me. I've been there! I want to help. (I'm thinking about you, AC!)

The long story about how we got back together (sleeping together) was to illustrate how difficult it can be to communicate an idea to someone who is not receptive to the idea, and also to show that persistence can pay off, eventually. (I considered saying that patience pays, but actually I think I was way too patient, and not assertive enough. I should have been more assertive waaaay back in the second month of our marriage, when the problem first appeared. But I say that with 20-20 hindsight. How could I have known, at that time, how the future would unfold? All I can do now now is share my experience, so perhaps others can learn from it.)

What other advice can I offer? Consider other options, such as divorce. Don't limit yourself by thinking you have to stay married and endure a painful situation. I didn't consider divorce until the kids were grown. But I'm not sure that staying married in that horrible war zone environment was any better for the kids than getting divorced. And perhaps if we had at least considered and discussed divorce (with the help of a marriage counselor as mediator), my wife might have decided to get back together with me a lot earlier.

Definitely, I give karezza a lot of credit for helping maintain the peace in the last five years since we got back together. I'm never going to go back to conventional sex! And I can believe that some people find that sex frequency increases when they adopt a karezza practice. It just didn't help sex frequency in my case, with five years of consistent practice. Not by itself, anyway. Something else was needed.

I'm not worrying, and I am happy, honest!!! Smile

Still trying to figure out what happened

tl;dr: Detailed, detailed communication may be key to unlocking some relationship problems. If you are not very communicative normally, try opening up. Really stretch your boundaries!

This morning she snuggled up behind me. These days I think it's important to give clear, verbal (as well as nonverbal) feedback about what I like, and I've been making an effort to give that feedback. In previous years, I would have enjoyed the snuggle but would have remained silent, giving her no feedback. This time I said, "I really like it when you snuggle up with me like that." She said, "You like me to put my hips against you?" I said, "Yes, and your chest, and your legs." She snuggled up closer. She asked, "You like me to put my hand on your chest?" I said, "Yes. And I like it even more on my penis." So she gently stroked my penis for about an hour, and I made sounds of contentment (nonverbal feedback). At some point I said, "I love lying here, half asleep, and enjoying the snuggling and you touching me like that." She said, a bit jokingly, "You don't want to make love? You're going to be happy for a week?" (She was referring to my statement in the email that after sex I'm happy for three days.) I said, "This is a different sort of happiness. I'll probably be happy for about a day." I didn't feel a need to answer the first question (about making love) since I was happy to continue with what we were doing, and sex is scheduled for tomorrow anyway.

As I said previously, I'm a man of few words, most of the time. Believe it or not, that conversation (above) is one of the most extended and detailed conversations we've ever had about sex and cuddling. It makes me wonder what else I've never said that she should know.

I think that conversation was useful because it reinforced what I've been saying to her for several years: that I like her to snuggle up with me, put an arm around me, etc. She has a hard time believing that because she is just the opposite. She doesn't like like me to put my arm around her (she says my arm is too heavy and it is uncomfortable), and doesn't like me to snuggle up with her when she wants to sleep. For me, snuggling is more important than sleeping (within reason)!

A few days ago, I asked (again) what had changed? Why was she willing to have sex more frequently now? She said it was because I had said that I was happy for three days after sex. The first time I ever said that to her was in the email. I mentioned it again during the mating frenzy weekend when she asked me why I tried to avoid having orgasms. Previously, I would usually say something about being irritable for a few days after an orgasm. This time I said if I have an orgasm, it feels great for a few seconds, but I don't feel anything special in the following days, but with karezza, I feel happy for about three days afterward. So isn't that interesting?! Both statements are true, but the second statement (I'm happy for three days after) was much more effective for motivating her to be more generous about sex.

My wife seems to have two modes. One is "busy/tired." In that mode, she doesn't want to deal with me, and even a question like "When is the next time we can make love?" can get a bad reaction. The other mode is "relaxed/generous." Those are the times when she'll smile if I give her a hug (instead of looking slightly annoyed and pulling away quickly), when she's willing to make love, and when productive conversations can occur. I should figure out how to let her relax more, and also be less afraid of starting conversations when she is in that mode.

Makes sense

The power to make someone "happy for 3 days" is a lovely power to have.

Given that one orgasm seems to intensify cravings for another (the "chaser effect"), I think it's very comforting to women to be assured that their sexual responsiveness won't open up a Bottomless Pit of neediness. This may be why the "3-day" statement finally had the desired effect.

Sadly, I'm not sure this fear is conscious enough for most women to realize why they avoid triggering a cycle of increasing neediness by avoiding sex in the first place as often as they can. It's a shame because it's not that hard to reach a satisfactory accommodation when both partners understand the biology of orgasm (and/or are willing to incorporate karezza). That's why I wrote my book. But most women don't seem willing to educate themselves. They trust their unconscious uneasiness more.

Glad you found your way through the thicket. And thanks for continuing to speak up. I'll put some of this on the appropriate Karezza Korner page.

Insightful comment, Marnia

I hadn't analyzed the situation that carefully. I think you are right.

I actually said two related things in my email:

"After we make love, for two or three days, I feel happy, I feel good physically, I’m productive at work, I feel loving, and I feel satisfied with our marriage."

And, "Once a week is not enough for me. Could we make love three or four times a week, ... I’m pretty sure I would be happy with that much, and would not ask for more."

The two statements go well together. "Happy for two or three days" explains why I "would not ask for more."

Regarding advice on the Karezza Korner page...

I don't think just making those two statements is likely to solve a sex-starved marriage situation. Conditions have to be right for the message to be accepted. For example, I was a "good boy" in the weeks before and after sending the email. I did my chores without being asked. I probably asked for sex a few times when conditions seemed favorable, but didn't make a fuss or sulk if I was turned down. Basically, I tried to eliminate any excuses she could give for turning me down. (She's really good at finding excuses.)

I didn't mention divorce at all in the email, or afterward. But I think it gave me some strength and calmness to know that divorce was an option, if she didn't agree to more than once-a-week sex. If divorce (or finding another girlfriend) was not an option, I would have felt trapped and desperate, because there would be nothing that I could do, unilaterally, to improve my situation; I'd be entirely dependent on her agreeing to cooperate.

I don't think there is a single magic bullet that can fix all sex-starved relationships. Other people's situations aren't exactly like mine. We have different partners, different personalities and styles of doing things, and different issues in our relationships. So my advice to other people in sex-starved relationships is, do lots of research, find out how other people have solved the problem, write a blog to help you sort out your thoughts and to gather some wonderful advice, and try everything that makes sense for your particular situation. Something might work!

Ha! While writing this post, I cracked open a Chinese fortune cookie and found this: "For insight on quandary, turn to people with firsthand experience." So the fortune cookie agrees with me! Smile

And maybe she's enjoying it more now

Great topic @James Bonding. I'm grateful to be given a window into your struggle, your thought process, and eventual positive outcome!

I also had struggled with a low-sex marriage. I wasn't getting much sex, maybe twice a month on average. For one thing, looking back, I notice that I used to have all sorts of unconscious thoughts about how to manipulate her into having sex with me. How I could arrange the situation so she didn't have any excuse to say no. Trying to discourage her from over-exerting herself with yard-work so she's not too tired. Helping out with things around the house, not because I wanted to be helpful, but because I wanted to leave less stuff for her to occupy herself with as an excuse to avoid sex. Probing to see how she is feeling (will she be ready for sex tonight?). When I wasn't getting sex, I would get pouty and sullen. Then, when we finally did have sex, it was the typical, porn-addict, mechanical, she's-a-prop-in-my-porn-fantasy sex. She didn't feel seen, appreciated or loved for who she is. She didn't enjoy it at all; in fact (I know know because she told me) she dreaded it and would do it as little as possible just to keep the peace. At the time, I didn't know any better, but now that I have distance from that and clarity about it, I can't understand how she would have enjoyed it. It's an ugly view of myself that I am glad to have "grown out of".

Karezza has changed all of that for us. Now she is enjoying the sex. A lot. For us, that's probably The Key to solving the frequency issue because now, it's not that she's accommodating me, it's that she wants and looks forward to the sex, and actively participates in planning for it. Sometimes, all we can manage is once in a week. We have a kid, both work, and can be busy and tired. But sometimes lately, we are doing it as much as 3x / week, which is wonderful and we both love that. We don't really understand how it can get any better, but somehow it does.

I agree, and can appreciate that each couple has their own sex-rubik's-cube to solve. In our case, however we got there, the frequency went up when she started genuinely enjoying it. She often mentions the word trust, so I think for her, it was not a quick process because she gradually had to gain trust that I had truly become different; that I was no longer the same porn-addicted, insatiable, robotic, manipulative, childish sex addict who just wanted to use her body to satisfy an urge. For her to really trust that took quite some time.

Hey!

I know that story!
"Dread" now that I can hear, Izzy has said that. I can now hear, thank you friend, because I stopped asking for 90 days. Now my questions are in response to real life situations, not made up in my head, and are not loaded with expectations and manipulations. It's really quite marvelous. I can't say we've come to a place where she looks forward to sex, but she has invited me to her bed 4 times in these last four days!
Something I finally heard was that it was uncomfortable to take my yuge cock into her (I lied about the huge part). What I heard was "different" and "weird", and I thought no big deal. Now that I've heard "uncomfortable", "painful", and dread", I have promised her that I will not attempt or even ask for PIV sex. She doesn't yet believe me. I believe me, 'cause I did 90 days without askin' for nuttin'!

As An Addict

using my wife as my junk, I had the same story ( actually I still have that first bit). Sex is bliss and I stay stoned for 3-4 days, for sure. I am happy, more creative, have more energy, and I am kinder. She became the Evil Bitch if she didn't put out in time to keep me rolling. It's so simple. If you really loved me, you'd take just five minutes every third day or so, to keep me from coming down. Our life would be soooo much better. I negotiated all different kinds of ways. My Izzy, my strong, beautiful Isadora, would not be bought. She would not deal. She would accept nothing less than love.

The sleep thing

I struggled with this a lot when my husband and I first married. I always went to bed at the same time as a younger sister and when I got married I expected it would be the same. I've come to the conclusion that he's just a night owl and I'm a morning person. So we often go to bed separately now. What's working for us currently is doing our cuddling out on the couch, in the living room, after our daughter goes to bed. Or during nap. Or any other moment we can grab.

You said:

"Could we please go to bed at about the same time, every night? Could you snuggle with me for 10 minutes every night (I don’t mind if you get up again after I go to sleep), and let me snuggle with you for 5 or 10 minutes before you get up? I think I would be very happy with that."

There was a period of time when my husband would come to bed with me, lay down and snuggle, talk for a bit, and then say goodnight and leave. That helped. But we didn't do it every night. And I'm personally a, do not touch me when I'm sleeping kind of person, so the morning thing wouldn't work for me unless we both happened to wake at the same time, which is practically never.

Best of luck to you as you navigate this!