she's in charge now

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Our own special version of male neediness and feminine lockdown is taking on a new progressive twist. She is going to be in charge for awhile. We'll do the Exchanges during the week and she'll initiate intercourse on the weekends. 

We have to do something. Although we have had a lot of sex this past year or more, there has been something missing. The idea originally for Karezza came from me and she still feels that I am too domineering so we're switching things and this way she can explore this space for herself without my neediness getting in the way.

She is frustrated because she feels no arousal. She says the scheduled sex may be responsible.

I am not happy because she isn't into this at all. She cooperates, her body is willing, but I'd like to see what develops without this for a bit. Part of me always wonders and doubts whether I am sexually wanted. In fact, I know I am not. That is not a good feeling. So it's worth giving up our scheduled intercourse for awhile to see how things can get even better.

I recently went almost two weeks without physical contact with her at all, when I was on a trip, and I can see that this isn't really difficult. Especially as we will continue snuggling and now doing the Exchanges for fun every night in the meantime.

I'm really happy about this. It's all progess. As I tell guys, there is no such thing as two steps forward and one step back here. It's all forward, even though it may not seem that way sometimes. This is how progress really looks.

I'm pretty jazzed about not having sex at the moment. I think it's terrific. I want to see where she takes us when she has her space. 

My partner is such a terrific woman.



Good luck man

My thoughts are with you on this experiment and journey. We will probably give the exchanges a go too soon too.

On a side topic, something sood said in his recent post set me thinking. We are noticing a pattern forming in that my partner is a lot more likely to arouse in the afternoon, than any other time of the day. Of course there's some consequences, its like she's just discovering her sexuality all over again. Translation = lots of deep vaginal orgasms. Im not sure what to make of this, but i told her that the important thing for me is that she's happy. We make sure we start slow and if she orgasms, make sure we end with a long connected cuddle.

She maybe has some way to go to want to do karezza for her own reasons.

don't know if this is helpful but

I like a man to be in control. However, he needs to have his body weight and leverage in relation to mine so that i can still move freely. Otherwise, my responsiveness is somewhat inhibited and it does make me feel less connected. I think this is because I am too much on the receiving end and don't feel that I am really sexually expressing to him how I feel.

You are doing the right thing empowering her and helping her to find her "voice" in the loving expression you share.

thank you Elira

That makes sense. In our case it wouldn't apply. When she is in a woman-in-control position such as cowgirl she isn't much interested in any event. 

I hear "I really like cuddling" a lot. Not "I really like sex", ever. Or any real enthusiasm. I guess I should have done this a long time ago, but there are countervailing factors such as 1) the fun I have had in any event despite that, and 2) the fact that her body seems responsive to me in many ways.

I really don't know how this will pan out but I'm not attached to a particular result at the moment so that's a nice place to be. 

My two cents

I changed my whole view on sex after listening to a Barry Long tape about being in right relationship. I will not repeat everything he said. I will just summarize what I took away from it.

The woman's body is a temple where the spiritual act that is love making takes place. In order for that to happen, the man has to be invited inside. She has to open up to receive him.

All men know this. Deep down they know that the natural order is for woman to invite, and then man to enter her in love. However, men feel that they are not being invited often enough, so they start forcing their way in. When I say "forcing", I am not talking about rape. 99% of men would never physically force their way inside a woman. However, they may use guilt or other psychological ways to get in.

The problem is this ... if you were not invited, then you are not fully welcome. She will not meet you at the level you want. She will probably retreat further inside of herself to places you cannot reach.

The end result is the neiether person is really satisfied by this experience. In fact, you could be doing more harm than good depending on how negative your tactics were.

Thus, I have decided that sex will only ever happen in my marriage when my wife has invited it. I may do things to seduce her. I may start kissing her or otherwise "making moves" on her. However, actual sexual intercourse ONLY happens when she invites me to do it. She can do it with words, or with actions. I don't care how she does it, but she must do something to invite a deeper level of love making.

After that, I am happy to take over and make love to her. I am very Alpha in bed and I have no intention of changing that. We both like it that way.

The only part of the whole process that she is responsible for is deciding to open up and invite me inside.

Anyone who has seen my recent posts would know that she has not done this in a while. I am OK with that.. This particular point is important enough to me that I will wait it out. I will not force the issue at all.

It has to be a genuine invitation. It cannot be something that she is doing just for my sake, or for the good of the marriage. She has to want it for her own reasons. It has to be a deep YES from inside of her. Only she can know when that happens, so I leave it up to her to decide. She will let me know when she is ready to receive me.

I have gone out of my way to tell my wife that she is very safe and secure in this marriage. She can have as much time as she needs before deciding that she is ready for sex. There is no rush, and no pressure. I honestly think that is the way things should be. I will wait as long as it takes for her to feel that YES coming up from inside.

And yes, I know there is a possibility that she will never invite. However, I seriously doubt that will happen. I have faith in this.

thanks Louie

I am very alpha and she is assertive in her domains but she defers to me in many matters including sexual ones.

I'm so impressed that she has gone along with me to this point. Quite willingly. But the fact remains this Karezza is "my idea". I suppose she went along with me for many reasons, and one is that she loves me a lot and knows how much I love her. And she can see how much better a man I have become over this past year. And it feels good even for her, I'm sure. And I insisted.

So here we are. I can insist and she'll go along, but that doesn't mean she'll be there in her head.

One reason she isn't there completely is resistance to something that is my idea. Second reason, she hasn't learned how to be as present. I have meditated and practiced and she hasn't. And like many females she is a huge multi tasker.

I think the Exchanges will prove very interesting. We do the first one tonight. Even there, it's me directing the show but hopefully since it comes out of the book and doesn't involve intercourse it will be okay. She agreed to do them.


I had been hoping my wife would grow into this and find her sexual identity a bit better. I think that will happen. She has a tough time accepting how beautiful I think she is. And she has shame associated with sex. That might unravel. 

One thing I've learned, and this may sound weird, but I love my wife more than anything but I know that we can bond with another person in a deep way, and I know how to bond with another person this way. And I'm not a believer that there is only one in the universe for each of us. So I know I could if I had to find a start with someone else.

I'm a high drive person, and I don't masturbate and I don't intend on living for very long without that sexual expression of my love.  And I think my wife will wake herself up, and rise to the occasion, and figure out what she wants and doesn't want, given space from me. I doubt it will take very long either. 

The plan is sex this next weekend, and the Exchanges during the week. 

Keep us posted!

I know you will keep us posted, Emerson, and I just wanted to say I hope you giving her this space to find her own sexuality ends up being exactly what you both need!

And I love the comments in this thread, too.

What has been so interesting to me is how I can be fully open and receptive and *wanting* of my man and yet he is still the "giver"~~I love that and he does, too. So many women think they have to act in a masculine way in order to be sexually provocative when in fact, it can diminish the experience (for both partners).

My lover can feel when I'm saying "now" without me saying a word. It's heavenly to want him inside me and not feel as though anything is forced or faked (which is how I spent the majority of my sexual life until now).

Good luck to you both!

thanks Rachel

your posts now and in the past are a huge inspiration for me.

Whatever has taken place over the past year, we're ready for a new level in our relationship. I think Louie is totally right, and Rachel you've written this before, but it really hurts not to be wanted, and that's the feeling I have. Not to be wanted sexually by my wife. I am not willing to continue not being wanted, that's the bottom line. I think too much of myself and my wife to accept that.

The stuff you talk about here, wanting and receptive, in a feminine way...this has to be discovered by a woman. I am hoping my wife discovers her own versions of this. She knows I want her, but she is quite shut down sexually and doesn't want me at all. Since that isn't a long term viable proposition in our marriage, and she knows that, she will figure things out for herself I think, perhaps with some help from the Exchanges and without pressure to have intercourse from me.

Figuring out her own desires

I have given my wife a vacation from having to deal with my desires so that she can figure out what her own desires are. I think that she has never really made peace with her own sexual nature.

Thus, I like to think of it this way:

My wife's sexuality is like a temple with many chambers. The door to the first chamber is always open. I can walk through that door any time. I am always welcome in that first chamber. That is the level of hugs and kisses. It is light affection and most of the time that is where things remain.

However, sometimes my wife opens a door to the next room. She does not use words. It is usually very subtle things. She kisses me more passtionately than normal. She hugs me a little tighter than usual. She is looking to go deeper. All that I have to do is go to that level with her. She might decide to keep things at this new level, or perhaps she will decide to open the next door and invite me even further inside.

This is something very new to us. In the past I would say "I want to have sex with you."That was basically me saying "open all the doors so that I can go straight to the inner most chamber. I am not interested in anything else." She did not like that at all. Deep down she knew that I was not supposed to be demading anything from her. She was supposed to be inviting me, and then together we would work our way to inner chambers. If she was enjoying the energy that she was receiving from me at a certain level then I may be invited to go deeper.

This new way is much more comfortable for both of us.

My wife is experimenting with this. She is gaining confidence in the fact that if she opens a door to a deeper chamber I will go there with her, but I will not try to rush things along to the next room after that. I can meet her where she is at. At any time she can decide that this is far enough and it will not bother me. I am not in a rush to get anywhere in particular. She is learning that she can trust me in that respect.

We have gotten into some rooms lately that we have not be in for a while. Even when we were sexually active we tended to go through these rooms too quickly. We forgot how luxurious it can be to just kiss each other for a while. That room is pretty good on its own. It is pretty awesome to be pressed up against each other, exploring each others lips like it is the greatest thing we have ever discovered.

Last night she kissed me so passionately that it took my breath away. It was that "tiger unleashed" energy that every man dreams of finding in a woman ... then she stopped because her nose was stuffy and she had to breathe. The moment was over, but I was not dissapointed. It was very pleasant surprise. At bed time her body language said that she was tired and sore so I left her alone. If she is making break throughs like that on her own then there is no need for me to use pressure. I will just let things run their course. It is precisely the absence of pressure from me that has created this opening for her to explore her own passions.

She knows that it is safe to kiss me like that. She is not starting something that cannot be stopped. It is not all or nothing. It is safe for her to go to any level, and then back away from it again if she needs to. Any expression of her sexuality is good. It all gets rewarded, and none of it leads to places that she does not want to go. That makes sex a very safe play ground for her, and over time she will become more daring in her explorations of it.

She was very pleased with herself for that kiss :) She wants to be a tiger. She just needs some confidence with it all.

I hope that makes sense.

I like yang energy for this reason

It's forward moving.

However, think how you would feel if you couldn't feel something, and didn't know how to make it happen...and yet your marriage were on the line if you couldn't make it happen. That's a lot of pressure. Just saying.

If she's feeling cornered, she may also get some useful insights from Tantric Orgasm for Women. There's a lot of emphasis on urging the woman to focus on her own feelings of arousal...however slight...and that attention is like any brain training. It grows as the brain wires it more strongly.

yeah I get it, thanks Marnia

I must come across a bit heavy handed, lol. I really am very patient and in love with my wife. I know this isn't her fault at all. It's a female version of male ED which I'm very familiar with, in a way. She can't help it. And I realize that.

I think your point is very, very well taken. I won't recommend her reading anything for that reason, at least for the moment, as that will come across as pressure. I might read relevant passages to her but even that may be too much "pressure" to her. It's difficult here because I want to keep things on an even keel and yet I don't want to stagnate to the status quo as it existed prior to my starting Karezza. And anything I do smacks of pressure. So I have to stay cool and not be pushy.

It's difficult.


I can relate

cause I'm naturally pushy myself. But sexual desire is a funny thing. It has to be coaxed and enticed, not badgered.

I understand that you don't want to give her reading material. It may be possible to get her to talk (occasionally) about what stirrings, if any, she's feeling by asking her, "Do you feel more with this...or this?" Or "do you prefer the sensation with this...or this?"

This is not for your benefit! It's to help her focus on what she's feeling so she acknowledges to herself what's happening. But I don't know if it's time, or even if this is the best approach.

thank you

really helpful to hear.

We did one of the exchanges last night. I can see how these are going to be helpful. 

I told my wife that she can do whatever she wants, nothing, or anything in between. That I wouldn't escalate anything or ask for anything either.

This is a very odd role for me. But I can tell sexy matters are on the front burner and I'm fine with taking a passive role in this and letting her discover.


Emerson, am I right in thinking your wife has continued having orgasms during your Karezza period? If so, do you think there might be a connection between that and any difficulties you (either, or both of you) are experiencing?

I still have very little idea how orgasms affect my wife - and, indirectly, me - as she hasn't really, consistently gone without them for long enough, or often enough, for me to make a proper evaluation.

Or so I like to tell myself.

As it happens, I am beginning to suspect my blithe self assurance that her moods and behaviour are undisturbed by climaxing may be me avoiding recognising the more subtle (and even the more obvious) differences, so I can continue enjoying her orgasms, every bit as much as she does.

I'm not suggesting that's the case for you. But if there is fallout, I suppose it could take on any form.

interesting question Sood

She has continued climaxing but not frequently. In fact in the early days of Karezza I discouraged her, which I think was a mistake. And as we moved along, she became less orgasmic, maybe once a month.

Do these affect moods? Yes they do. Things are more even keeled for me and her when we are out of the orgasm cycle. As it happens, I had an orgasm this Saturday. I had made up my mind to have one, I realized, because she wanted me to have one. She told me she wanted me to have one and I decided I would. It wasn't worth it. I really feel the aftermath strongly myself.

With her orgasms, I feel the aftermath as well, more of an up and down feeling for days afterward. Cuddling can ameliorate the symptoms but those odd feelings of separation, aloneness, seeing her critically (And she seeing me critically) happen during this time.

I find after orgasm she is more likely to go into a wide mood swing. In fact I think the wide mood swings she would go through during our entire marriage may be largely attributed to this.

Don't push through resistance

A few months ago I told my wife that from now on she was in charge of initiating sex and it did not work out as I expected. It resulted in nothing at all happening. I think the same thing will happen if you make your wife 100% responsible to initiate.

The thing I eventually figured out is that there is a difference between initiating intimacy and inviting intimacy to go deeper.

My wife is not going to pull me into the bedroom and ask me to make love to her. We may get there eventually, but at present time it is highly unlikely. Thus, I am not going to wait around for that to happen.

What is much more likely is that she will walk up to me in the kitchen and give me a kiss. She is not intending to start something. She just wants a kiss. If she likes the energy that she got from that kiss then she may decide that some more kissing would be nice. From there it could continue to escalate one step at a time.

It is also possible that I could initiate the intimacy and then she invites it to go deeper.

Either of us can initiate intimacy. However, it is up to her to decide how deep that intimacy will go. I never try to push through her resistance. I wait to be invited to go deeper.

I developed this view after reading one of Diana Richardson's books. She was talking about the idea that a man should never push through resistance when he is entering a woman. If she is tight and resisting then he should stop and wait until her tension lets go before advancing. She was talking specifically about intercourse, but I have decided to apply that principal to the relationship as a whole. I would apply that principal for intercourse, I would apply it for a complete love making session, and I would apply it for the entire arc of the intimate relationship. As soon as you encounter resistance from her on any level (physical, emotional, mental) you stop and just be at that level with her. You do not push through it.

I know what your concern is. You are concerned that if you do not push through her resistance on some level then you will grind to a halt. There will be no forward progress. To some extent that is true. Progress may stop for a while. However, if you stay with her in love at the level of the resistance, then it will eventually let go.

My wife and I have not had sex since July, but that does not mean that we have been at a stand still. We have gone through several iterations of releasing tension and resistance at one level and then moving forward until we hit the next pocket of tension and resistance again. This has played out over several months already. I expect there will be months yet before sex is back on the table. I could have sex this week if I really wanted to. I could apply some pressure and push through to that level. It would not be hard. However, it would not be right either, and I might create more tension and resistance in the process.

We men get ourselves so wound up about the availability of sex sometimes that it feels like a matter of life and death. It can be a cause of real anxiety. However, it does not have to be that way. We can choose to be much more relaxed about the whole thing. Sex is supposed to be fun. It won't be that way if we are anxious and upset about it.

Human beings need to get back in right relationship with sex. We need to stop taking it so seriously. We need to learn how to approach the whole thing with humor and compassion again. Sex is play. It should be relaxed and light hearted with no tension, no pressure and no anxiety. That is what I am aiming for.

thank you Louie

I think you make so many good points here.

I love your "rooms" analogy above too.

But I don't think I could honestly have a relationship with my wife and not have sex for months at a time. That's not the deal I signed up for. Let me put it this way. Say I was injured and could no longer have sex. If it was important to her, I would want her to find a new partner so she could be happy. I wouldn't want her to stick with me and not have sex. I don't know if that explains it, but to me, sex is terribly important. And in fact in the last year it's become MUCH more important to me than ever before.

And although I see your points and they are excellent, I also see that this is to me a bit of an extreme. If I did that, it would be to me an extreme is putting TOO much burden on my wife. And you're right: she might be happy not having sex and that would not be acceptable to me ultimately. I know that and am very solid in that knowledge and therefore I can be patient. It's not like I've given her an ultimatum and I haven't felt one inside

I know she will figure this out. I am super confident she will. Meaning, I believe she willl achieve breakthroughs in her femininity and sexual identity and that I can help facilitiate that in some way. I believe that the answer may lie in temporarily having less sex or even at times no sex, but that more than that the solution lies in her actually taking charge and discovering what it is like to really want me sexually, to have desire for me. I think she will figure that out and I'm very confident it won't even take that long. I know I'm not going to wait months and I'm not going to just let this slide and get out of sight.

Last night we did the first Exchange and it was fun for both of us. We both discovered the power of touch non-sexually. This morning I showed her how she could touch me and not have me want sex, even if I got aroused, and I showed her the same thing. That I can touch her vagina and not have intention to have sex. That is all new stuff. I can see this really clicking over the next few weeks.

It's the opposite of just letting it slide and seeing what she does, but at the same time, it is that also. A very feminine posture, very yin I would say.


My methods are somewhat extreme. I will not deny that. They feel right for me, but I can totally understand why other people would look at them and be not interested in going there. Truth be told, I am not sure why some of these ideas are so imporatnt to me either. They just are.

In any case, I think its great that you are opening up some space for her to explore her own sexuality. It sounds like the exchanges could work wonders for you guys.

Onward and upward!


Emerson, I'm so curious. What was your wife like when you were courting her? Did she have a strong sex drive? Did she often take charge? Has she *ever* been sexually free with you?

great question Rachel

Interesting history. When we first were dating, I had ED problems and she took charge and helped me with that. She did that by being supportive, believing in me, and using a diaphragm so I didn't need to worry about condoms at that point. 

I went to a hypnotherapist and she saw that I was working hard at fixing the problem, and that reassured her about the kind of man I am. And as a result, we cuddled our first 5 or 6 dates rather than having intercourse...and I think that was a great move for us both unknowingly building up our mutual oxytocin attraction.

She was not a take charge person in that way normally, though. And she was never very high drive and never very adventurous at all. I would say in retrospect I was sexually very naive and we aren't really terribly compatible in that way, although we are in every other way.

Her drive really declined with menopause and declined further with Karezza honestly.

good progress

We had a chat last night and she agreed to work with me to figure things out. How to build desire. How to feel more, focus more, relax more. I suggested she not focus on having an orgasm at all. We spoke frankly about the past year, and how she felt a sense of obligation to have sex with me even when she didn't feel like it. I told her about how I didn't feel wanted and how that made me feel, and we didn't blame each other and there was only a positive discussion with real communication taking place.

It is nice to get things out there and talk about them. I told her and she agreed that working together we can figure things out, and that her job is to relax as best she can. I said she will be very crappy at that for awhile but that it gets easier as she does it more. Focus takes practice and she's crappy at it right now. Plus, it will all feel a bit uncomfortable because that's how new things are.

We had very pleasant sex today.

She figured out quickly how to feel comfortable touching her breasts. She puts my hands where she wants them and then she can more easily relax rather than have me moving my hands over them.

Small things are often big things and I'm pleased with this. I told her that we're going to help her relax so she can open her legs and have me explore her vagina and clit and that this will take some time and effort and be uncomfortable at first. This has been linked to oral sex and now things are different and much more fluid.

I also showed her how we can each hug the others' genitals without it being purely sexual.

She worries she will have no desire at all, and no arousal. I said we'll just see how things go and her job is to relax and focus, and that's all. I know she will try now, as she agreed to really try, and that's all I care about, that she make an effort.

I feel really encouraged.

thanks Marnia

the daily bonding does its magic. It makes us incredibly resilient with each other. We'll make it with this, and stronger. Things are always getting better. They don't always seem that way, but they are.


Some thoughts

You know Emerson, I've been watching your approach with a certain amount of fascination wondering if it could really work, and what I want to say, is you CAN awaken her but I think its highly unlikely the way you've been going about it. I was actually rooting for what you were trying. I will say I commend your determination and your willingness to chuck an approach when it doesn't cut it. In my view, its not that you cant take masculine action it just has to be the right action. The only way I've seen it really work, especially for women in lockdown, is to completely, and I mean completely, hand over the reigns of the sexual realm to the woman, period, even if that means it feels like you'll just be dead in the water. And, that by your example she KNOWS that she's in charge, that she OWNS the territory. As we work with people in the last year Its been my observation and belief that for a relationship to be sexually vibrant the woman must know that the sexual realm is her domain. That its her's to do what she wants with because it belongs to her. And that she can go there, if she chooses, for her own pleasure, for her own reasons, not because she owes pleasure to someone else on some level. I believe that until a woman can fully and safely say "no", (without some form of repercussions, subtle or otherwise) she will not completely be able to fully say "yes". This is the first and primary piece that Annabelle and I share with the couples we work with. Lets call this understanding, Step 1.

So she's there underneath you, naked with her legs spread wide in invitation, you're poised above her completely rock hard. She looks you in the eyes and says, "this is lovely but I'm getting up now". Inside you say, "I can never get enough of you and in this moment I'm completely satisfied" That would REALLY be giving her the sexual reigns. I use this example because it happened to me this morning and I really did feel satisfied. Its what she offered me and I drank it in.

I never, and I mean NEVER initiate sex with Annabelle, and when there is an invitation its over when she's done. For me, at this point in my life, it would feel like a form of forced entry to do otherwise. At one point this was not so, I did not understand that I was the guest in her home. Now, there's nothing sweeter than the invitation and I'll wait as long as it takes to get the call. Ironically, I dont have to wait at all, in fact I got in trouble the other day when I DIDN'T respond to repeated invitations. Hey, it wasnt my fault, I was in the middle of a blacksmithing workshop where I was spending all day over a hot forge and anvil pounding red hot iron into very cool shapes...I was a little tired and in a very "guy" kind of head space,thank you very much. After the third day of masculine blacksmith bliss and stupor, I snapped out of it, rallied the troops and jumped her bones as instructed by her not so subtle invitation. Actually she was starting to sulk and I got the message. Man, did I earn some major brownie points when I started leaving an hour late for class just to please my goddess. She clearly approved of my shift in priorities. I think there's something about pounding glowing iron that warps a guys perspective on priorities. At least the teacher and other students didnt ask why I kept on coming to class an hour late as I think they may have frowned that I would put my woman in front of the forge.

Sorry, I'm getting a little off track here. What I am saying, is that you can turn it around, and that a woman has just as much of a sexual appetite as a man does, maybe more, with definitely more staying power. One of the things I hear with the couples we work with is the woman saying "I want to want to". That is a good sign, in my opinion. I know feminine lock down sucks and its really hard to get a firm grip on male neediness. I mean, drinking in the feminine essence of a woman who is giving you a full "yes" soothes the masculine soul like nothing else. Every man craves and longs for this kind reception. What's that line from a Bob Dylan song..."In a world of steel eyed death, and men who are fighting to be warm... come in she said, I'll give you shelter from the storm"

What I tell men, is that you dont have to sit around waiting for an invitation because its actually already happening all the time, most guys just arent seeing them. So here's what I call, step 2, "finding the yes" and it goes like this. A woman is always giving her man a "yes", an invitation in some way or another, however small or seemingly obscure, its there. The feminine part of a woman cannot not do it, its what the feminine does. I like to use the example of a rose bush or any flowering plant, being that they are built to flower, its what they want to do, an expression of their nature. The only reason it doesn't bloom is because the right conditions aren't present. I say, same with a woman. "Finding the yes" is like a trail of bread crumbs, a trail of yes's, that leads to and opens a womans heart, which for the feminine is connected to her genitals, they are together, not separate. What I observe is that women tend to shut down, (sometimes a small amount, sometimes almost completely) when us men repeatedly skip over the "yes" she is giving and look for the "yes" we want to get, like her taking out the trash is skimpy lace lingerie while you lounge in bed.....just kidding.

The first step in "finding the yes" is expanding ones definition of sex. For many guys sex is, for the most part, a genital experience, an "action" that includes the genitals. For most women the definition is much broader, its very little about the "action" and all about the feeling. Holding hands can be a form of sex, talking can be sex. Sex is a feeling that can be embodied in any activity. If you look at it this way just think of how much sex you'll be getting, you are already getting. I think of sex as the arc of attraction between masculine and feminine poles, its taking place way before you get to the bedroom in all sorts of forms.

I'll give you a few examples of a "yes" from my own life. So we're about to watch a movie at home, Annabelle is on one couch and I'm on the other. She asks me to sit with her on the couch she's on. I dont like the couch she's on because its sideways to the TV, the one I'm on faces the TV straight on. So, believe it or not I decline the invite. Whats the message, I'd rather see the movie from the angle I prefer than be snuggled with you. Geez, somebody needs a dope slap. You would think this one would be pretty obvious. Not in the moment to this masculine brain.

Example two. We're driving back to our house on the highway, and when we are about 30 seconds from a next exit, Annabelle says, "you want to see if there's any good movies playing at the theater". I mean, you've got to be kidding me, I'M 30 SECONDS FROM THE EXIT AT 60MPH!!, and you want me to change direction just like that. Somehow I abort male direction and pull off at the exit. I can tell she's happy. I said "yes" to her "yes" although it wasn't easy. We pull up to the theater and I sit in the car waiting for her to go check out the movie choices. At 6pm I already know there are no movies starting at this time so I sit in the car.

So she comes back out and says, "I thought you would come in with me to see what was playing". Oops, there was another "yes", I missed it totally. I can tell she's subtlety disappointed. What is she really saying when she wanted me to look at the movie choices with her? In my mind its, looking at the movie choices, obviously...wrong, its an opportunity to be together, a little arc of attraction, a little sex.

Well, there weren't any movies playing at 6pm, (I could have told her that) and were once again on our way home when she see's a restaurant she likes and says,"you want to eat out". We're only 15 seconds from the turn this time. I see the "yes" and turn into the restaurant, (miraculously, without squealing the tires) Once again she's a little happier, (and its not because they have the best fries in the world, well maybe a little, cause its sure is what I'm thinking about) because I responded to her request for my attention, that being with her was more important than my direction.

I think you get the picture. Interestingly, the first example on the couch is what happened when we got home as we stopped by the DVD place and rented a movie after leaving the restaurant. My idea too. Kind of like responding to a "yes" that wasn't actually asked for....extra points! You would have thought that after getting the hang of the earlier "yes's" I would have been a little brighter on the uptake and sat with her on the couch. Believe it or not, even after that blunder, she wanted to make love with me afterwards, and I know it wasn't "Men in Black 3" that put her in the mood. Well, at least I doubt it.

I will say this, she wasn't as open and receptive as usual and afterwards I was pretty clear as to why. Another lesson learned. I believe that when there is very little or no lock down, missing some of the "yes's" doesn't shut the masculine/feminine play down, (although it may create a little dip in the openness), but when there is a fair amount of lockdown catching as many "yes's" as possible is key to opening up your woman along with her knowing that the sexual domain is her's to control. Annabelle knows that the sexual realm is her's so although the "yes's" are important, missing some doesn't shut the door.

My guess is that somewhere you may be missing some key "yes's". While you're giving her the deed to all things sexual may I suggest being vigilant around the "yes's" in whatever form they come. I like to look at the play between the masculine and feminine as a very sweet and often challenging dance. Enjoy it all. There are other things that I think are valuable like, touch, feminine praise, and humor but I think these two concepts are at the top in my opinion. Hopefully some of this may be useful, if not I'm sure you'll figure it out.

a lot to absorb but one question Darryl

I am still pondering your incredible post, Darryl. Thank you very much.

I think you can predict my question and it is indeed the puzzler. Let me set it up.

My experience is what becomes the status quo is hard to change. And we have an example of that right here on this thread, a man who has seemingly turned the reigns over to his wife but hasn't had sex for many months. 

If I turn the reigns over to my wife completely and totally in this, how do I know that it won't end up completely sexless for months and months?

I have a feeling that this would happen.

My woman does NOT have the sexual appetite I have. Nothing close, never did. I didn't understand how important this was when we were first dating because I wasn't sophisticated enough to really get that.

Her drive went way down at menopause, and when we started Karezza it fell even further. I think it fell because she resented my disrupting things with Karezza and that was the beginning of the major shutdown. Paradoxically when we started having the most sex of her life.

Point is, her drive is quite low, nowhere near mine. And I don't think she "needs" sex all that much, like I do. 

We had a sexless week last week, and I didn't get the remotest sign she was unhappy. She enjoyed cuddling, she said, and was not in the least flirty or interested in sex.

We had great sex this weekend because she told me we would have sex this weekend. So it was scheduled (by her really.)

When we were having sex, I felt that she is practicing focus more, and there was evidence of progress that way on her part. But in between and if she hadn't committed to sex this weekend, I doubt we'd have had any.

I can see how this no-sex stuff could continue for weeks, then months. I think she would actually be perfectly happy not having sex very often at all. And I wouldn't want to live that way. I would have too many resentments.

That's my concern. However, I haven't fully digested this and who really knows...


I am assuming that I am the example you were referring to ...

It is true that my wife and I have not had much sex in the past couple of years. I will completely honest here and tell you that we have had sex twice in the past 20 months. Both of those happened in one month, so there was 10 months of nothing, then another 9 months of nothing. If you measured the success of my progress based on how often sex occurs then this would be deemed a miserable failure.

However, that perception is ENTIRELY based on the frequency of sex being the measure of success.

There are several other levels of activity going on, and it is at those levels that I am seeing the huge positive effects of my approach.

Affection is WAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY up, and very little of it is initiated by me. Two years ago I got a quick peck in the morning and at night and sometimes she sat beside me on the couch. Now it is lots of kissing, lots of cuddling, full body hugs, and touching me all the time.

The general comfort level is WAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY up. We never fight. Disagreements often end up with both of us smiling (or even laughing). We are in constant communication. None of that was true two years ago.

What it basically comes down to is that 2 years ago my wife and I were fundamentally disconnected. I was trying to use sex as the method to rebuild connections and it was not working. Thus, I made the conscious decision to let sex go entirely on the back burner while I focused on reforming connections. It was always my intention to get sex back on track as soon as possible.

Then a funny thing happened. As time went by I stopped caring so much about sex. It is not that I stopped wanting it. I just stopped thinking of it as a huge priority. It was no longer a matter of life and death to get sex back on track.

I think what happened is that I started forming real emotional connections with my wife, and it turns out that was what I was after all along. Since I now have that, even without sex, sex is no longer a huge priority.

Sex will come back. We are on a clear trajectory that will take us back there. However, I will put no effort into trying to make it happen. I am applying my effort where it will have more effect ... on myself. I am resolving my own insecurities and bad habits. I am becoming much more attractive and comfortable to be with, and thus, my wife is naturally moving toward me. She is inviting me to form deeper and deeper connections with her. Eventually it will feel natural to her to WANT a sexual connection. I don't know when that will happen, and I don't really care so much. If it takes a couple of years then so be it.

I think that intimacy is a pyramid with many levels. Sex is the very top level, but you will enjoy it much more if every level under it is rock solid. Two years ago we had rot all over the place and the top level caved in as a result. Now we are in the middle of rebuilding the whole thing from the ground up.

That is my situation. Yours may be completely different, and your path to success may be very different. However, from where I am standing, my approach is working amazingly well for me and it is not a hardship.

I know that is hard to swallow. Many men on different forums have asked me how I can possibly say that my marriage is in a good place when sex is not happening. To them sex is the single biggest measure of whether the marriage is good or not. I know full well that many people have written me off as having betrayed myself or having given up on sex. That is not true at all. What is true is that my path back to sex involves doing nothing to try and make it happen. The less I do to try and make sex happen, the faster it will come back and the better it will be when it does come back.

the sex was better

she didn't hurry to get up and about her day. She seemed a little more focused, a little more relaxed. She guided me to touch her breasts. We're making progress I think. 

My 2cents you know I’m brand new to this site and Karezza, which I hope might provide you a different view then some of the others that have posted. Being new, I’m no expert. However, I can relate to your issue. My wife and I have recently gone 2 months without intercourse, which included a big anniversary. Most of our issues have been our schedules that had me thinking of desire issues and what not. Because of her traveling and our endless personal schedules, I found myself having to entertain myself more and more, which didn’t help anything. Somewhere in the last year or so we both lost our game. Meaning, we were not on the same page and didn’t know how to approach each other at times to start things.

Starting Karezza really has helped. I’m fully on board where she chose not to hold back her O’s but did agree to meet me half way with all the rest. Having setup a bed time and 30min at night and 10min in the morning of together time with no intention to lead to sex has done wonders. Just spending time with each other and doing the basics like spooning (which we NEVER did before), sleeping touching each other, and doing some touching or full body massages has really awoken our passion for each other. This past weekend we couldn’t get our hands of each other.

Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People applies here I believe. Most, if not all of these Habits can be applied with the last three being the focus for your post –Seek first to understand, then to be understood, Synergize, Sharpen the Saw. (look them up!)

The Saw is still a saw but works better if you sharpen it by going back to the basics instead of making a new saw that might bring up other issues or make thinks more confusing. Part of Karezza is really just getting back to where we had been when we first started our relationship with hugging, spooning, sleeping together, massages..etc all natural actions that lead the mind and body to sex. You sound like you had a good chat with her and seemed to help some but based on what I read and your tone you still haven’t totally identified the root issue. You mentioned a few times that all she has to do is relax. Perhaps her lack of desire is coming from you trying to build a path for her and that she’s not sure she wants to fallow at this moment. Try to help her build her own path, one that she is comfortable with and use Karezza basic practices to bring your paths together. I hope this helps some!

your post is very welcome, thank you BorderlineIQ

Funny username too!

[quote]You mentioned a few times that all she has to do is relax. Perhaps her lack of desire is coming from you trying to build a path for her and that she’s not sure she wants to fallow at this moment. Try to help her build her own path, one that she is comfortable with and use Karezza basic practices to bring your paths together. I hope this helps some![/quote]


We do a lot of affectionate connection, 2 or 3 times each day usually, and have a lot of love for each other. We have a very loving relationship I think and I'm pretty sure she thinks. So that part is really, really good.


Her lack of desire may be coming from me and my controlling nature, for sure. I do want to help her build her own path, as you say. That is a good description of what I want. I want her to figure it out and maybe I can help.


You say, "If I turn the

You say, "If I turn the reigns over to my wife completely and totally in this, how do I know that it won't end up completely sexless for months and months?"

Of course the answer is, you dont. I think the real question is, are you willing to find out and possibly end up without sex for an extended period of time? If not, then are you willing to continue to engage sexually with your partner without her being fully on board, not in her own passion? I think you either give her the reigns or you dont.

A bit like being between a rock and hard spot, wouldn't you say?

I've watched you be OK with your situation, and then not be, a number of times. You seem to keep coming around to being unhappy with your wife's continued lack of sexual interest, which I find very understandable. Personally I would feel the same way, and if it was me I would give her the reigns and see where the chips fell, but that's me. Continuing as it has been would not work for me.

Originally I thought that her seeing what karezza was like and how it honored the feminine would be enough. Some women are just disgruntled with lick, pump, squirt, snore sex, still have their libido intact, and karezza style love making is enough to turn the tide. For more severe lock down even karezza isnt enough to rekindle the spark. Unfortunately, I think this is your case.

Obviously, no one can say if your wife will regain her sexual passion butI believe its definitely possible. The consequences of our patriarchal culture has taken quite a toll on women's sexuality and both the men and women are suffering from it.

The next question, which is more difficult, is are you willing to spend the rest of your life with your wife and not have a fully alive sexual relationship, as it stands now or basically without sex at all?

I guess what I suggested in the previous post was a total reboot and then see what happens. If you're up for it and think you can do it, I would look at it as a longer term project, like give it a year. Yikes! Did I say a year? Hey, you'd have Louie for company and support. I do admire him. I'm not sure I could do what he's doing.


I do not think it would be a year. My wife and I have extenuating circumstances. Her health has been all over the map for a few years. On the days when she is feeling good she is very flirty and very interested in me. If her health had been better we would have had much more sex.

Another woman forum member

contributed this, and I decided to share it anonymously:

He and I talked about their conversation [emerson and Darryl] over the weekend (I sometimes read posts out loud to him - he doesn't read the site), and during the talk we had, I realized that I couldn't remember the last time he asked for sex, which seemed weird.  Then I asked him if he ever had asked - and he said never, and he had the most curious look on his face, like "I wondered when you were going to notice."  I was stunned.  I have always been 'in control', I guess, but I never knew it!  

Then I got to thinking about it, and my long-term highschool boyfriend (who I adored), never asked for sex either, and we had lots of it!   The boyfriend before him, and the husband after him were always pestering me. That's the term that comes to mind - pestering, and trying to 'buy' it with gifts (gifts that were *never* for me - ie: silky, sexy lingerie, when I'm an all cotton kind of gal.)

There was a lesson for me here.  I always "bristle" at the boat and pilot analogy.    But when I watched the slowed down ballet, I could see the analogy in action.  Both strong, but each with a distinct part, one that neither could have alone.  I like it better than the boat and pilot analogy, because this analogy is about humans and music and beauty, not a man, and an object he owns.

That's interesting~~

But I have to wonder if it's a "chicken or the egg" thing?

Perhaps the reason the man never has to ask a woman (in certain relationships) is because she is *very* attracted to the man (and wants to have sex with him). So it's not the fact that he's not asking that makes her want to have lots of sex, but just the fact that she wants to have sex with him (does that make sense, lol?)?

I'm very, very sexually attracted to my lover. His skin, his smell, his hands, his kiss, his touch, his soul...everything just floats my boat. Therefore, I am always "ready" and willing to make love and I give out massive signals to him that I attracted to him (always initiating a kiss, a hug, climbing on top of him when we are lying in bed together, rubbing my leg over him, etc.). He doesn't have to ask~~it's very apparent.

I have to wonder if it's possible for a woman to feel that way if she's not interested in *wanting* to feel that way. This whole dance does need to start with an invitation by the woman (and not out of duty or because it's "her turn"), but because she really wants it (otherwise, the man can feel it and who wants to be in a relationship like that?).

Rachel wrote:

[quote=Rachel]I have to wonder if it's possible for a woman to feel that way if she's not interested in *wanting* to feel that way. This whole dance does need to start with an invitation by the woman (and not out of duty or because it's "her turn"), but because she really wants it (otherwise, the man can feel it and who wants to be in a relationship like that?).[/quote]


My wife has always had a low drive, and never was "all over me" ever, ever ever, even when we were first falling in love and had those honeymoon hormones going. Marnia has made this point before, somewhere, but it needs to be said again. Many people just have low sex drives and that's how they are. They are mostly not on this website, lol. Why would they be?

I believe that she would be happy having sex infrequently. I would not be. I have decided that I will have a great sex life in this lifetime and I will help her get there, even if she's not always into it so much. That's okay with me. So long as *in general* I am wanted.

As far as "shutdown" is concerned, I think that the "shut down" for a lot of relationships is not ENTIRELY the same as it is for ours. We have a lot of physical affection and real affection. 

BUT...I think there is a LOT of "shutdown" going on here due to my woman's resentment over my unilaterally changing the sex rules in our relationship. But coincident with that is the fact that her low drive was getting lower anyway, after menopause. 

This new thing we have talked about is for her to figure out how to have desire. She sees the benefit of wanting to feel desire and we are working on it together. I am not talking about it all the time. I am not asking her if we can have sex tomorrow (which would have been a "scheduled sex" day.) I will play this by ear. But I also notice that going a whole week without sex really makes me crazy and unhappy. I'm not interested in living that way and I don't think I have to.

As long as she is trying, I'm fine with it. I believe we'll have a breakthrough. I've always found the magic in things. This site has been magic in my life. I have always found there are amazing magical answers to problems if you are open to them and keep looking.




Sounds good!

Emerson, I think you and your wife will have a breakthrough as long as you give her the space she needs to find herself. I agree with Darryl~~you never know what will happen unless you try it (giving her space to find her sexuality). It sounds like she is willing and has the "want to"~~so I think it will happen, but on her time, not yours.

Just so there is no misunderstanding, what I was saying above was in reference to Marnia's quote from the forum member~~not specifically directed at you but at couples in general. I was just musing out loud because I was in another relationship (my ex-husband) and I don't recall ever having that feeling of wanting him (which makes me sad for him). We were a loving, happy couple, but that "spark" between us was missing. You and your wife have *much* more going for you than we did.

I hope you all can get through this and be blissfully happy in all ways!

A rock and a hard place

Is it the case that the only options available to you are handing the reins over to your wife, or keeping them yourself, for the foreseeable future?

How about taking turns? You could suggest to your wife she remain in charge throughout February, you take over in March, and then she returns to the helm in April ... and so on and so forth. You need hardly be resentful if you know your time is coming, and she would hopefully feel the same way. A month might seem rather long but I suspect a person needs that amount of time to find 'their' way.

I don't think this need turn out like an alternating on/off switch. Your wife might surprise you; you might surprise yourself.

I suppose much depends on whether you view the realm of sex as a woman's space, a man's space or a shared space.

a really good idea

a month isn't much. A year is long. I can handle a month.

I decided that this is what I'll keep doing. Not make any agreement or anything. Just keep letting her guide things or not.

This morning we snuggled and she actually was responding sexually but I didn't push anything or initiate anything. She finally asked me what I wanted to do, and with a smile looking at her smile and sparkling eyes, I said, nothing, whatever you want, or nothing is fine with me. And we got up in a few minutes. So I suppose it is this type of thing, being very patient, not pushing any agenda, that I will do. I am fine this way for awhile.

I also have an advantage because I know she will at some point initiate sex, perhaps for the first time in our relationship, believe it or not. Because I'm not going to, lol.

the laundry theory of relationships

If we get together as a couple, one of us is stronger in certain areas than others. So while I might have done my own laundry living single, when we live together, she ends up doing the laundry. She is better at it. I do other things like say dealing with bills. She was paying her own bills when she was single but now I do that.

So each of us does what we are strongest at and as a result, our skills in certain areas atrophy.

I think sex is like that with us. I was aggressive and initiated most everything and she lost her desire or ability to do that. And she grew comfortable with not thinking about it anyway, as she is low drive and has shame associated with sex in any event (more than many people do, of course shame is almost universal.)

I think that this is a period where she focuses on something she let atrophy. That is not the same type of shutdown as other examples perhaps. So I am quite optimistic.

After such valuable

After such valuable contributions from everybody, I have given this thread some thought too, laying in bed at 4am in the morning, as i'm want to to.

On one hand I think its true that people do have a range of sex drives. When i think back on the loves of my life, i experienced the whole spectrum from nymphomaniac to asexual. Its no surprise that my favorite was the one who was in touch with herself and a sense of spirit, and was also into me sexually (but circumstances dictated that that was necessarily short lived).

Emerson's household and mine share this needy/lockdown dynamic as you know. In my case i have previously tried for 2 years handing the keys over to her, and the result was sex once a month.

My partner is a person for whom the words 'self improvement' and 'personal development' dont really feature highly. She considers that how she is, is determined mostly genetically. I dont really think handing her the keys will work, realistically. Sorry Louie, she will not change. There will be no breakthrough, no trajectory.

In some ways in that regard i think we are just mismatched. We get on fine in other respects, but who ever said that a partner that you chose historically for various largely unconscious reasons long ago will always and ever be compatible.

I also dont really think its an accident that a needy person attracts a distant person, talking from a secure attachment theory point of view. Ever since reading Goon Park, I wake up most mornings feeling angry, and its a question i need to put to my mother. Why do i constantly feel like my affection needs arent being met, always? Especially in the morning. Instead i get up early to avoid dwelling on the pain of it.

But where i think Louie is right on, is that you dont need to define your happiness by whether your partner will have sex with you. You can choose your own terms in this life, that is for sure.

Lastly the thing Rachel said that hit home for me was that if a women really likes her man, she will want him. I think that's what Daryl is saying as well. Likeable is probably the last way you'd describe me. I dress awfully, say the most untactful things at the most inopportune times. So, theres work for me there.

Financial and 'out in the world' stuff mean i cant write much or think much about this stuff at the moment, but that will sort itself out soon. Meantime, regards to you all.

treehouse wrote:

[quote=treehouse]In my case i have previously tried for 2 years handing the keys over to her, and the result was sex once a month. My partner is a person for whom the words 'self improvement' and 'personal development' dont really feature highly. She considers that how she is, is determined mostly genetically. I dont really think handing her the keys will work, realistically. Sorry Louie, she will not change. There will be no breakthrough, no trajectory.[/quote]

My wife is not into self improvement or consciously getting to any sort of goal. That's not a bad thing. That's why we get along so well. As you point out, there is a reason that a copule can get together and the complimentary strengths is a big part of chemistry after all the rest.

I have more confidence in our house that this can work. I think the real key is motivation. Is she motivated to change?

[quote]But where i think Louie is right on, is that you dont need to define your happiness by whether your partner will have sex with you. You can choose your own terms in this life, that is for sure. [/quote]

Right, internal climate is independent of whether your partner will have sex with you.

And there is nothing LESS attractive to a woman than a needy dependent man. So by being independent as a man, you are more likely to attract your partner sexually, than being that needy man. 

I focus on being who I am, strong and masculine and independent. I know my wife likes that a lot. And she finds it attractive. I don't think she wants ALL the reins really. She still wants me to be the rock, the source of ideas, the driver. That's what makes this complicated.

I am learning not to push though. That is really huge. I can see how this can really work. I'm getting good glimmerings. Primarily because I know she cares about my feelings and she wants things to work out. Not in a negative "or else" way, either. That's huge.


Lastly the thing Rachel said that hit home for me was that if a women really likes her man, she will want him. I think that's what Daryl is saying as well. Likeable is probably the last way you'd describe me. I dress awfully, say the most untactful things at the most inopportune times. So, theres work for me there. Financial and 'out in the world' stuff mean i cant write much or think much about this stuff at the moment, but that will sort itself out soon. Meantime, regards to you all.[/quote]

I don't think it's a matter of "like." I think it's a matter of sexual wanting. I don't think like leads to want. Not at all! That is totally wrong. The things that lead to sexual wanting are the things that attracted her to you in the first place, the "chemistry" things. In my case, it was my goal oriented positive confidence. She loves that.

I can be patient, believe it or not. I can be confident, good humored and patient. And I think that's what this takes in my case, as long as she wants to fix things. Handing over the reins without some sort of agreement I am pretty sure would lead to very little sex in my marriage.

Sorry you are having difficult times...


last night

I'm a lot better at toning down the neediness. We talked about that last night snuggling and she said so. It's hard for me but I continue to not be sulky, not asking for much and not getting disappointed. I know this is the right path for now.

She said she feels no desire at all. I knew that, and it's good to communicate.


My wife has told me at times that sex is of no importance to her. At other times she says exactly the opposite. I think that she is just speaking her truth of the moment in those cases. Right here and right now she has no desire. That is all that she is really saying.

It is also true that our wives say such things at times just to see how we will react. Will we calmly accept that this is the truth of the moment, or will it knock us off balance? It is one thing to say that we have no neediness. It is another thing to actually live the truth of that from day to day. They hear the words, but they also want to see action that is consistent with the words.

And the funny thing is, after you have demonstrated a consistent ability to be patient and calmly accept her disinterest for a while, she will decide that she can trust you and then the resistance starts to dissipate.

On the surface that kind of testing may seem cruel, however, it is not done consciously. At a subconscious level a woman needs to know that her man loves her more than he loves sex. When she is convinced that this is true, then sex no longer holds any negative energy for her and she can surrender into it.

So long as she thinks it is sex that you care about most, she will subconsciously resist that.

Louie wrote:

[quote=Louie]And the funny thing is, after you have demonstrated a consistent ability to be patient and calmly accept her disinterest for a while, she will decide that she can trust you and then the resistance starts to dissipate. On the surface that kind of testing may seem cruel, however, it is not done consciously. At a subconscious level a woman needs to know that her man loves her more than he loves sex. When she is convinced that this is true, then sex no longer holds any negative energy for her and she can surrender into it. So long as she thinks it is sex that you care about most, she will subconsciously resist that.[/quote]


I have to say this is theory to me. I am not convinced that it is reality. I also am not convinced it is true, in fact, the question "do I love my woman more than sex, equal to sex or less than sex" is meaningless. Would I stay married and never have sex again? No. So sex is more important to me than a marriage to my woman without sex. That's the truth. Are you suggesting that I lie? Are you suggesting that I give a different message to her?



No, I would not suggest that you should lie. If the truth is that sex is very important to you then it is what it is. The truth is always the best message to put forward.

Don't panic


I don't think anyone is suggesting you are lying.

What is being described by both you and Louie is the uncomfortable balance that occurs in many sexual relationships.

First I think you misstated (partly) what you mean. You said "So sex is more important to me than a marriage to my woman without sex". I can't speak for how you feel exactly, but I don't think that you value sex on its own above your relationship with your wife. What you value is the sexual expression in that relationship, sex with a particular person, not just sex in general.

Now, what Louie says is true: overt neediness or emotions similar to it is a turn off, particularly if one partner is in some kind of shutdown or lockdown.

What is missing to me in Louie's comments is where the shutdown partner is at. If the partner is just looking to shut you down so they can avoid growing or changing or facing the things that hinder them, then you all you have done is relieve the pressure on your partner which just let's them float along and you give up a part of yourself to stay. If this is the case, they will do everything in their power to avoid change and maintain the status quo regardless of what you do.

If you are gaining control of your neediness, letting love grow in you and mature, you are doing what you can right now. What you need to decide is what is really important to you and whether you can OWN it without becoming desperate or overemotional. If you decide that a sexless marriage is not acceptable for you, and you can accept that regardless of what your partner feels RIGHT NOW (knowing that it can/may change) or what decision they make or what reaction they may have, then you have to OWN that but NOT let it OWN you or cause you to enforce your desires on someone else.

When one person starts to change, it puts a lot of pressure on their partner to either change or get out. The partner will work hard to maintain the status quo because change is HARD, especially if this is the first time this has reached the boiling point in the relationship.

It will be hard, it will be probably tearful, and there will be times that you cave to your emotions or the emotions of your partner. I am not telling you to be a tough nut and not change or adapt, nor am I telling you that doing this will get you what you want or desire to be.

Many relationships get pushed into a corner because both partners assume they are in the same boat. Paddling across the lake or down the river, usually both feel like the have to go where the other partner wants to go and feel controlled in the process. They are stuck in the boat. Resentment builds, and in some cases, someone wants off the boat. This can be particularly true in a marriage where commitments have been made rather formally which seem to "bind" them in a way that makes them feel trapped in a boat with someone who won't paddle in the direction they want to go.

The reality is that marriage is better viewed as 2 people who have decided to paddle together. You paddle together, make decisions and generally enjoy each others company. But the reality that you are in separate boats means that you are not being steered by the other person, you elect to go along with them. Either of you could leave because you are in your own boat, but you choose to stay together. If one partner decides to stop paddling or head off away from the other partner, the other has to decide what they are going to do and that can be uncomfortable for both.

My apologies to Schnarch/Passionate Marriage where I got this analogy, I have done a poor job getting summarized. Let me try and sum it up this way: my happiness is not dependent on my wife having sex with me, but if she decides to cut it off, I will be hurt and have to make some decisions about what I do next. Is this a "test"? Or is this someone shutting down further and not trying to change? I would be disappointed, probably hurt and most likely a little desperate. Owning these things doesn't mean you won't hurt or completely take the pressure of your partner.

Looking over this, I am not totally pleased with everything but I wanted to push it out there for consideration.

Am I telling you to leave your wife you if don't get the sexual relationship you desire? NO. And I do mean NO. But perspectives change a bit when people start thinking of themselves in their own boat, not being steered by the other person but responsible for steering themselves. Convincing your partner to view it that way can be....challenging.

yeah I liked this video

I do have sex with my wife and quite frequently compared to most people I know. Plus, we have a very loving relationship. But she feels no desire and says she felt worse since we started Karezza. She sees my enjoyment and compares it with hers and feels badly that she isn't feeling what I am.

Her message is "I SHOULD be feeling aroused, I SHOULD be enjoying this more" and this interferes with her enjoyment and arousal.

I just finished the Sex Diaries by Bettina Arndt and the lack of desire is so very, very common with women, often around menopause.

I don't agree with a lot of what is in that book because I don't think it is what it seems. It is a very common theme "men want sex, women shut down and don't show an interest" but I don't think that women have a lower sex drive than men in general.

My wife has a lower sex drive and always has. I think most people on this site have a higher sex drive or else they'd have no interest in this site. So we can't relate to low drive people as much.

But I don't think it ultimately matters. I think it matters a lot in the dopamine orientation, but in the oxytocin orientation it is not important. 

Arndt's conclusion though, backed up by 100 diaries kept by men and women over time in committed relationships, I think is accurate. And that is that the best marriages involve frequent sex and the woman doesn't necessarily feel like it but is involved anyway. 


Wanting and needing

This is an interesting clip, with a telling distinction between 'wanting' your partner, which is considered good (in an erotic sense) and 'needing' them, which isn't. The former is fuelled by desire; the latter by ... I'm unclear what, exactly.

I've noticed a lot of posters here bemoaning being 'needy'. How do they recognise this, in themselves - or others? What makes it so reprehensible?

Most relationships presumably began with both partners charged with desire for one another. They both 'want' the other, sexually. What turns this sort of desire into neediness?

Is it that the desire for a person, or 'wanting' that person, sexually, is considered okay (in the context of a relationship); but the desire for sex, in itself, which just happens to be with that person, isn't?

I'm having difficulty understanding how anyone could know when wanting their partner had turned into needing them, and what would necessarily be wrong with that.

Not sure how practical this is, but...

Neediness comes from an underlying sense of "lack" that you expect your partner to fix. That's not possible, because it's generally caused by a neurochemical imbalance that needs time to pass. (Not to say that bonding behaviors/karezza can't be a great coping mechanism in the meantime.)

Healthy wanting comes from a sense of surplus. You have so much energy that you want to share it with your partner, to create a beneficial synergy.

Now, we just need a litmus paper that can pinpoint which is which. Pardon



In the absence of a reliable litmus test, I just hope people aren't being too hard on themselves - or others - by pointing the finger of neediness at what might actually be rebuffed desire (wanting, but not getting).

fuzzy line

There is a fuzzy line between being disappointed/rebuffed and neediness.

I think of it like this: If I AM turned down or put off, where will that leave me? If I am going to be REALLY sullen, to the point where I am inflicting that sullenness on my partner, or if I become angry and possibly vindictive (passively or aggressively), then I am coming from a point of neediness. If the thought of getting turned down seems like the end of the world (a bit over the top but anyone who has felt that way will "feel" what I am saying), then you are being "needy".

When coming from a place of surplus, you can absorb a rebuff. That doesn't mean you wouldn't be sad or disappointed, that is natural, but if it escalates to the point where it interferes with your feelings for your partner, that is usually a signal that you are in "need" not "want".

It's also easier

when there's a strong subconscious trust between partners such that each has the other's welfare high on their list. Daily bonding behaviors help sustain that kind of trust (as does karezza), such that when someone is rebuffed, that person knows the rebuffer must have had a genuine reason. Doesn't mean the genuine reason can't be shifted with time and patience, but at least there are fewer projections of "S/he is just denying me because they don't care."

yes exactly

We care so much for each other.

And there is a high level of trust.

I think though that a lot of shutdown takes place because each person is unconscious of their patterns and affect on the other.

It isn't anyone's fault at all.

Third way

This is a real conundrum. Wanting becomes needing, but only if a person responds adversely to their desire remaining unreciprocated.

The alternative is presumably to 'take it on the chin'; but how often, or for how long, can this go on? Unmet desire can't be a matter of indifference; so resentment is bound to build up. The solution, of course, is for the specific desire to be dropped, or made more acceptable to the other party. It then becomes a case of 'wanting what you get', rather than 'getting what you want'.

If the desire is for something that can be readily diluted, or done without, it may be no big deal; but sex seems to be in a world of its own, in terms of wanting or not wanting. Emerson mentioned Bettina Arndt's book, The Sex Diaries. I read this sometime ago and thought it sad that so much unassuaged longing could exist. My wife managed only one chapter, before hurling it to the floor in disgust, saying it blamed women for not acceding to men's excessive demands.

For 'demands', of course, a more sympathetic reader might think 'desires', or 'wants'. My impression of the book was that the characters in it - male and female - had got locked into a downward spiral, so that the more desirable sex, physical closeness, and even basic friendliness, became to one person, the more unwelcome they appeared to their companion. Some had been 'taking it on the chin' for so long, they were groggy with confusion; while their sparring partners seemed almost triumphant in 'victory'.

Isn't there a third alternative? Something other than accepting, as graciously as you can, that your desires aren't being met; or ranting and railing (or pouting) in perceived injustice?

Happiness = sex

I had an interesting conversation with my 93-year old grandmother the other day about men and sex (lol!).

She was saying my grandfather always told her that sex was the most important thing to him in the world. And he got angry at her toward the end of his life (he had prostate cancer) because he felt she could "help" him with his ED, but she didn't (or couldn't, she didn't elaborate).

She then remarried (yes, at age 80!) and her second husband always said he had to have "happiness" (this was when they were discussing divorce, which happened soon thereafter).

She said she finally figured out that her second husband was too much of a gentleman to say "sex," so she felt that when he said "happiness," that is what he meant.

And then she said, "they are all the same" and laughed. I laughed, too, but I felt very smug inside because I *know* what her husbands meant. (I didn't bother explaining it to her because her "boyfriend" just passed away at age 90 and I didn't think she'd be using the information any time soon!). But she told me even he, at his age, wanted to french kiss and she wouldn't let him! Smile

The thing I have learned which has been life-changing for me (and I so wish all women could realize this) is when a man "needs" sex it's not that he is just wanting to "get off" or use the woman~~he actually needs the yin for balance; he needs her essence. And we women need the masculine yang. When you understand that it's not about the physical act so much as it is about finding a beautiful place to rest (for each partner), it becomes something you know you have to include in your life, just like eating or drinking or exercising. And it can help a woman become more beautiful and feminine and happy. Sex is no longer sex~~it *is* happiness~~for both people. It's amazing how just a small mind shift can change the way you look at now feels nurturing to me...not a chore and certainly not dirty.

If both partners come together as a way to replenish each other, it becomes an equal "need" and not just one person giving in or trying to please the other. Diana's books explain it so beautifully~~they should be textbooks for sex education!

third alternative

Being in control of your response (i.e. not letting your mammlian brain run off with your emotional control) does NOT mean that you stop wanting nor does it mean you are giving up on what you want and desire.

Many relationships negotiate this situation by having the high desire partner acquiesce to the low desire partner....which leads to resentment and alienation.

The problem is that quietly and firmly standing up for yourself is hard to do....and as has been pointed out, requires a partner willing to be kind and considerate and adaptable (that is a two way street, by the way). When a partner is in lockdown emotionally and won't budge, then you have reached a kind of emotional gridlock. Pressure builds and change has to take place or you just sit there and simmer, sometimes for years.

So there is a third option, but it is painful and requires everyone to grow in the relationship, and usually requires someone to see themselves clearly and understand their contribution to the problem (which is probably being denied).

Just want to put in a little plug for

consistent karezza. Somehow it seems to make it easier for couples to "synch up" their desires without a lot of teeth-gritting or analysis. OK, maybe, like emerson, you have to get your partner on board and it will take a couple of tries, but the combo of daily bonding and non-goal-driven sex can really help.

Third way

[quote=Marnia]teeth-gritting or analysis.[/quote]

My feeling is, the hard work, 'knowing ourselves', warts and all, option only works if both parties are willing to undergo equally uncomfortable exploration, which probably is quite rare.

The subtle 'change of mind' eye opener might happen relatively effortlessly, but it's unlikely to occur at will - especially the will of the desiring partner. It must need a bit of serendipity to happen at all.

Karezza presupposes sex is already on the table, which, in the case of many, isn't necessarily true.

Clothed cuddling and snuggling, delightful as it is, can sometimes seem overly companionable. It might create great affection, without loosening sexual unwillingness.

For my money, naked cuddling is the way to go. I assume this could be negotiated in any relationship worth it's salt, especially if the desiring party promises to remain chaste.

If getting together naked for overtly non sexual purposes for, say, fifteen minutes daily, or every other day, is considered too unreasonable a demand, then I dare say there might be good grounds for separation.

There's something about skin on skin contact that has a magical effect. Most magical of all, of course, is how simple and absolutely non analytical it is.

Time has to be made for it, of course. In normal, day to day life, there is no moment when naked cuddling could occur 'naturally', except in bed, where it is usually preceded or superseded by sleep. Initially, making the effort to do this, in the face of all the other demands on our time, might seem odd, or even self indulgent; but when looked at objectively, what could be more logical than being naked with the person you (hopefully) love.

One of the most profound aspects of naked cuddling with full consciousness is what the mind does while the body is in relative repose. What I've found is, it - the mind - seems to expand out of my head, fill the rest of me, and then stray across the borders into the body of the person I'm with.

When sex is an option, naked cuddling can lead to it, almost too easily; but if it's not an option, the cuddling can make that option less threatening.

I'm only musing out loud, here. I have no proof of anything, other than that naked cuddling seems a lot more productive, and is certainly less stressful, than most other forms of communication - especially talking!

Desire and Dependence

Needy is a loaded term so I would prefer to talk about desire and dependence.

Desire is normal and healthy. There is something that I am interested in attaining or experiencing so I move toward it. There is nothing wrong with having desire, and there is nothing wrong with acting oin desire.

However, things go wrong when desire becomes dependence. A dependence is formed when a person starts to believe that something they desire is essential to their well-being. It adds an element of urgency and anxiety to the situation.

The difference is detectable in how a person reacts when the thing they desire is not available to them. If they are dissapointed and then get over it then the situation is probably one of simple desire. If they become angry, anxious, controlling, manipulative, depressed or otherwise resort to negative patterns of emotion or behaviour then you are likley dealing with a dependence issue.

I spotted my own dependence on sex by noting how anxious I would get around the subject. I could get so angry and resentful just thinking about it. Normal desire does not lead to such strong emotional reactions.

my neediness came from here...

I stopped masturbating.

Now my wife is my only sexual outlet.

I have no intention of going back to masturbation.

I can live without sex but I don't intend on it either. And now I love sex more than ever before and love my wife more than ever before (due to brain chemistry stuff).

Neediness comes when you are afraid you won't get what you want, and you have no other options. A guy who gets turned down can go whack off to porn if he's a porn user. Without that, I'm going to focus on my wife, and that can be pretty intense for her :)

I do think it's needy and her defensive reaction understandable when:

1. I inititiate

2. She says no

3. I pout

She is very sensitive to my moods and feels resentful when I pout because it makes her feel bad.

All understandable.

It isn't easy but I am getting much better at avoiding expectations of sex. We are having intercourse much more frequently than we used to, though not as much as we did the past year with Karezza, and all sorts of things are unpeeling like an onion skin.

One, we had the best sex in a LONG time yesterday. I focused on my love for her and just holding her and relaxed, and just let things flow, and she really enjoyed it and I did too, with she in a much more aroused way than in a long time.

Two, I was clear with her that to go back to what we used to have wouldn't work for me. I wish that wasn't the case, but I am not someone who wants to live with very little sex or even sex once or twice a week. So I explained that. 

Three, she said she is willing to try progesterone cream. Maybe that will help a bit. I think there are libido issues from xeno estrogens and she has some of those symptoms. That raises libido quite often as well as taking care of other issues.

We'll see what happens, but I am 100% believing we will work it out and it will be GREAT. We love each other so much and she is such a wonderful person. And I'm clear on what I want. I don't say "need" but "want." But I know that I will not stay in a relationship without frequent wonderful sex. And not sex that is out of duty or pressure.

So that's where we're at. I'm pretty blunt.

I think it's a matter of time

with us we are still doing Karezza and working through stuff. I think this past year has been an adjustment period for her and for me and this is part of that adjustment.

I realize that sometimes things just take a long time. And sometimes you have to continue to just chip away. And we are doing that. All this time we've been doing Karezza. Even this week and last week and the week before. That sooths us both and is great for both of us. 

I'm not sure the analysis is terribly useful, or maybe it is. Dunno. But we're still bonding almost every day and having Karezza often.

I have not initiated. I let her do that. And she does. Now she knows that I want that, but I am not sulking when she doesn't want to. I'm okay with that. And it's a lot better.

Time is working things out. I still am not sure about her lack of desire but I suspect this will work out too.