So I mentioned life being fucked up. And yes, it is fucked up. Now let me tell you why.
Its no secret that my sexual relationship with The Husband is at best, uninspired, and at worst, non-existent.
That’s the reason I became non-monogamous in the first place–because after a years of not having my needs met, I was done. We came to this arrangement because if I didn’t start getting laid, our marriage would have ended anyway.
A couple months ago, I had a talk with him. It wasn’t one of our usual screaming matches about him not being into me. It was more just an inquiry. I asked him, “Do you not like sex?” And he doesn’t.
He said that realization didn’t click until the moment I asked. And honestly I was flabbergasted. How the HELL had he not realized this before? How can this possibly be the very first time he ever thought about this? We’d fought like cats and dogs. We’d both totally lost our self-esteem. We redefined our entire marriage around this problem and he’d never stop to ask himself if he likes sex???? What the actual fuck???
I asked him to explain, and he said he often enjoys it, but during almost every encounter there’s a moment of panic or a feeling that he really doesn’t like, and that makes it hard to enjoy the rest of it.
He said he never realized because he thought that everyone likes sex. It just never crossed his mind that the reason we had these problems was because he didn’t.
I let some time pass. But I couldn’t help thinking “This marriage is probably dead.”
(Stay Tuned for Part 2).
Papa Bear and I took a break. Things were rough, mostly caused by the tension between myself and his wife, and both of us feeling like we could never measure up to the other. It was, in retrospect, all kinds of ridiculous. The truth is, I cannot measure up to her. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care. In a lot of ways, she can’t measure up to me. Does she care? At the moment, yes–very much indeed.
The Wifey’s boyfriend was going to be out of town for awhile, so I told Papa Bear to take that time to focus on her, and that I would take that time to focus on myself. He spent time with her. They had long, hard talks. They took their kids on a day trip to the mountains. They talked candidly about their needs, and exchanged lists on paper. He and I talked a bit during that time. Every day we exchanged a few messages–mostly just how are you’s, or funny pictures or videos, but once or twice we did have a long talk about where things stood or what we were learning. All three of us read relationship books–Papa Bear read one on communication and started re-reading More Than Two, and I read Co-Dependent No More. The Wifey read something as well, but I’m not sure what.
I also read for pleasure. I took hot bubble baths. I spent time with my family, and put together a care package for my mom. I bought new decorations for my bedroom. I woke up in the morning feeling too sad to go to work, and came home at the end of the day feeling happy and fulfilled. I cried a lot, even breaking down at work once. But I came out of it better, because I learned that I am capable of handling my feelings all on my own.
After our break, Papa Bear and I felt like we were re-set. The first time we talked, it was hard. We were both obviously frustrated and felt somewhat hopeless. Then an hour into our talk (for which we’d both blocked off the entire day), The Wifey called to say she’d been in a car accident. So he left, helped her, had dinner with her, and then came back around 8 PM. We ended up talking until after midnight, and it was a good talk. We felt we understood each other after that.
At the end, I asked how the sex was going with The Wifey. He’d said they had barely had sex over the past few months, so I was hoping that a few weeks of exclusive alone time had helped. He’d said they’d been having sex a handful of times a week, so that things in that department were okay. I remember being floored by that. They were having sex a few times a week now, and that, for them, was considered just okay? I would do backflips if I had that with my husband.
We were drinking and cuddling and I nodded off for a bit. And when I woke up I was in tears. I sobbed all the way home. Papa Bear asked me what was wrong, and I told him I was just jealous. He said “Jealous? Or envious?” And he was right. I was envious. I wasn’t worried that The Wifey was going to take what I had. I was sad because I wanted the same thing.
It wasn’t that I wanted sex with Papa Bear a few times a week–though we usually have that–I wanted that for my marriage. With my husband. I cried and cried, but I didn’t explain to Papa Bear what I was envious of. I’m still not even sure he knows.
Instead, I had a long talk with The Husband the next day. Not just about sex, but about the fact that I feel like we are lacking intimacy and passion. We share the same emotional intimacy best friends would have, but not romantic intimacy. I do not want a perfect marriage, but I do want a romantically intimate one. That doesn’t mean I want flowers and chocolate and sonnets, though he used to do all of those things for me. It does mean that I want a husband who not only likes me and loves me and supports me and partners with me–I want a husband who wants me. I want my husband to actually be attracted to me. I want my husband to smile when he thinks about me, and want to be close to me.
When I think about spending the rest of my life in a passionless marriage to someone who likes me and is good to me and wants the best for me, I want to cry. I feel robbed. I want him to be my lover, not just my friend.
I don’t know what to do about it. He assures me that he does love me, that he is in love with me, that he is attracted to me–but that he is just dead inside because he feels like a total failure. He assures me that his heart will open and he will be able to be spontaneous and romantic and sexual, as soon as he is no longer working in a dead-end, low-paying job.
I don’t know if that’s true, but the irony is that until he does catch a break, there’s nothing I can do about it anyway. We can’t separate–we don’t have the money. Sure, I could send him off to some crappy one-bedroom apartment, but we’d both be broke and our children would be hurt. He is good to me, and I love him, and genuinely enjoy his company, so I see no reason to do that to him. I guess we’ll wait and see. I am willing to give him more time, if that’s what he needs, and he is willing to try harder to be close to me, if that’s what I need. Honestly, I’m not holding out hope for much to change right now. But I am going to try to not complain too much about things I can’t change for the time being.
As far as Papa Bear and The Wifey go…he said things are still hard. She said, when we were on our break, that she wanted him to talk to her about our relationship. That when he didn’t, her mind went to all kinds of crazy places. She’d assume he wasn’t talking to her about our relationship because he didn’t trust her. Or she’d assume it was because he was planning to leave her and set up house with me. So once he and I were back on good ground, and I’d learned how to deal with my insecurities and emotions, he started talking to her about me. The very first time he did, she broke down and cried. She thinks I am all he ever thinks about. She thinks he wishes I were his spouse, instead of her.
He feels like he can’t win. And I have to say, there’s a chance he might be right. He says he doesn’t know what he’d do if he was put in a position where he was forced to choose, but I am fairly confident he would choose her. And after taking some time away from him…I’m okay with that. He needs to do what he needs to do.
Of course I would be sad. I would be devastated. But honestly? “The only thing that’s the end of the world, is the end of the world.” (Co-Dependent No More.)
Life would go on.
I am not having enough sex.
I don’t know how long it’s been since I had sex with The Husband, but I’m going to go ahead and guess it’s somewhere around two months–at least–and probably closer to three.
A strange thing has been happening to me.
I feel like–with all the logistical shit getting in the way–I am starting to close in on myself.
I hate the way I am, and I hate the way my body/mind/emotions work. I hate how strongly connected every part of me is.
I hate how not having enough sex, or a certain kind of sex, can make me feel like I am coming apart.
But its not just the lack of sex that is fucking me up.
It’s the lack of intimacy in general. I feel like I am starved for it.
The Husband and I touch each other so rarely that it actually feels awkward and unnatural when we do. We are used to sleeping spooned around each other every night, and that is honestly the only physical contact between us that feels genuine. I tried to kiss him the other day–must have been a couple of weeks ago by now–and it felt like he was pressing his lips together. Like he was purposely keeping me out. I haven’t tried to kiss him since then because it is too awful, but we kiss so rarely that honestly I don’t even want to kiss him anymore. I don’t know how.
Same with sex. I have to be drunk to have sex with my husband. If I am not drunk, I can’t get turned on by him. And its not because he’s not attractive–he is very attractive and is actually my physical ideal.No, it has nothing to do with the way he looks.
It’s just that we have been living together for so long as basically platonic co-parents, that I just don’t feel that way about him anymore. It may sound cruel, but I talked to him about it for years. on. end. I begged him. Pleaded. I told him I couldn’t take feeling rejected anymore and that I couldn’t live without sex and romance and dates and all the things we used to have and be. I cried and wailed and screamed. I wrote pieces about it and showed them to him. I told him that one day it would be too late. That eventually we wouldn’t be able to go back. That I didn’t want us to be ruined beyond repair. And every time, things would improve for a couple of weeks, and then we’d end up exactly where we were before.
The problem, is that we have never had it good. We’ve never both had decent paying jobs or not lived under a mountain of debt or not had babies or toddlers or preschoolers underfoot. We’ve never felt like we’ve had a handle on things. We’ve never had family or friends around to help. Never known what its like to not be diagnosed with anxiety and depression–the both of us. So, while under ideal conditions it would be easy to say “Fuck him–you deserve more than this,” we don’t live under ideal conditions. We never have.
Sometimes keeping us above water is all we have the energy to do. Sometimes we try to cuddle and are immediately screamed at by one or both of the little terrors who share our DNA. Sometimes we try to have sex and are interrupted. Until eventually its just easier to give up.
I feel a heavy, heaving, hopelessness. I feel like I want to burrow into the ground and howl. I feel like we will never get to a place where we can even see what we could be capable of being. I feel white-hot anger. I don’t know at what or at who, so it just bursts out all over the place, at the most inopportune times.
I need to be sedated. I feel like I am out of options. I don’t know where to go or what to do.
I made a “bad” sexual decision last week. And the result was happiness. I felt like me. I felt like a person. I had patience. I had a sense of humor. I walked around smiling. It didn’t fucking hurt to exist. I don’t want to have to make bad sexual decisions to feel like a fucking person. But everything else hurts. It’s too much, or its not enough, or its both and I just. can’t. breathe.
I physically cannot bear the loneliness. I can’t bear the emptiness. I can’t bear the now-you-see-me, now-you-don’t, “here’s an appetizer, you aren’t covered for the main course.”
I can’t. I can’t. I can literally. not. bear. it.
I do not want to have sex with strangers. Its dangerous and seedy. And frankly, the risk of bodily harm is actually less off-putting to me than the risk that I will have done the work of finding them and setting a date and primping and showing up only to have them disappoint me. I am looking for something very specific, which is why no one on the loop of men who keep. texting. me will do.
I’m not sure what I am supposed to do. Just continue to hurt? To not feel the way that I need to feel in order to function? What is the point of being smart, of taking the long view, of assessing the risks or behaving responsibly if doing all of those things just makes me feel like shit? I am unbearable to be around right now. I am either numb, or I’m snippy, or I’m teary, or I’m hurriedly shoveling indiscriminate amounts of random food items down my throat.
I CANNOT DO THIS. I AM A FUCKING BASKET CASE.
This past Sunday was supposed to be the next round of my bad decision. And I cancelled. And now I am so angry and resentful and pissy I can barely see. I need what I need. Period.
And the worst part is, I can’t talk to anyone about it.
The Husband, who will listen to me whenever I ask, who works his ass off 16 hours a day, who struggles with depression himself, who will support me in any and everything I want do do, who asks for NOTHING–cannot help me. He cannot hear this. All it would do is pile guilt on top of all of the horribleness he’s already feeling. All it would do is make him feel like he HAS to fuck me. And it hurts too much. It’s too pathetic. It’s too fucking sad. I can’t. I can’t be honest with him one more time. Not one more time. I’m done. If he doesn’t want me, that’s not his fault, and I can’t ask him to try anymore.
I can’t talk to my boyfriend about it, because what is he going to do? It’s not his fault he isn’t around most of the time. It’s just not possible for him to be.
But none of that makes me feel better. None of that makes me feel like I have any options at all. All I feel…is that parts of myself are gradually being erased…and that if I don’t connect with that primal part of me, on a regular basis, I am going to disappear entirely.
And as I was writing this? Just now? The Husband told me that he would “really like to have sex tonight.” Probably because A) he’s been stealthily reading this over my shoulder, or B) He can tell that I’m starting to come completely un-fucking-hinged.
But it doesn’t matter. Because he doesn’t want me. I cannot get turned on by pity sex. Maybe I will get plastered enough to do it (I am on my third glass of wine), and maybe it will scratch the itch or do the trick or make me feel slightly less like I am dying of something horrible…
But he doesn’t want me. And even if I can pretend, while drunk, that it doesn’t matter? It does fucking matter. I want mutual hunger and heat and need. There is nothing more electric than when that explodes. And the man cannot even let me kiss him. I swear to god I have no idea when the last time we kissed for real was. We don’t even kiss when we have sex. He just fingers me and then we fuck.
It’s too horrible. It’s too painful. I can’t leave but I can’t stay either. I just want to distract myself. I want to step out of this into my own little world where everything feels good–the sun, the food, the sex, the music, the drinks–and nothing hurts. I want to indulge, utterly. It’s like bingeing. I want to gourge myself on pleasure so it doesn’t hurt so bad when its gone.
Me: Do you want to lick my nipples?
Husband: I guess I could…
A woman in recovery recently told me that most sex addicts are co-dependent. I didn’t really take in her meaning at the time, but I guess it is a fairly obvious truth. How can we be addicted to something that requires the intimate participation of someone else, and NOT be co-dependent?
My husband and I did not have sex last night. I don’t remember anything after my fourth glass of wine, but apparently my attempts at seduction were in vain. Either that, or I got drunk and passed out before I even had a chance to make a move.
We flew across the country and unpacked in our new apartment yesterday. We have been going non-stop for days. We are both tired and sore, jet-lagged and disoriented, excited about new possibilities and sad to have left our home. You would think that all of this would be enough to keep my mind off my all-consuming need to screw, but not so.
I bought a mop today and the shape of the handle turned me on. The vibration of the plane triggered a totally unique (for me) fantasy about what it would be like to have a cock. Rhianna’s song Skin on the radio was so provocative I had to switch stations. My only saving grace is that I do not know the area, and I am too tired to find someone to hook up with. Of course, we could just agree to meet at a specific hotel. I could just tell the cab driver where I want to go. I could be having sex with a random stranger in a matter of hours. Why does such a terrible idea make me so hot?
Back to being co-dependent. I use my husband to manage my addiction. I want to have sex with him but when I get like this I really don’t give a fuck WHO I’m having sex with. He is a safe, available male and he is right there. He will do. Except for when he won’t. I am using him and he is a band-aid. He temporarily relieves the pain of unmet need. He does so in a way that does not give me exactly what I want, but gives me something close enough.
That sounds awful but I do love him. The reason why his touch does not completely satisfy, is because I love him. My addiction is about something else entirely–freedom, escape, using and being used, exhibitionism, danger, thrill. I can’t get that in my very own bed, in my very own apartment, with my very own husband. It’s not him, it’s me–I am the addict; I am the problem. Kukukachoo.
I am not even trying to control my fantasies. Joining the Mile High club, fucking a shemale, being fisted while being fucked in the ass, are all in my current repertoire of imagination porn.
Dirty. Little. Slut.
Fighting a losing battle.
We are who we are.
It is embarrassing to admit, but at almost 30, I am still sorting out my beliefs about sexuality. I was raised believing that sex is exclusively for marriage, and that anyone who does it outside of those guidelines is a) weak, b) immoral and/or c) damaged and desperate for love.
I was taught that having sex with someone you are not married to is giving yourself away, and that you will never be able to get those parts back. Further, that upon marriage, you would experience marital dysfunction because you didn’t “save yourself”. I was also taught that men were different from women–that men need sex within a marriage in order to feel loved. So basically, while outside of marriage, sex is considered base and people who do it are just acting like animals, within a marriage sex is necessary for men to feel loved. I guess this is their way of telling women that once married they need to be prepared to give it up, regardless of whether they feel like it or not (since women are presumed to be the ones who are only having sex because their partner wants them to.)
Fast-forward to now. I believe that we are just very complex animals. Moral codes were invented to stop humanity from devolving into chaos, so unless someone is hurting or taking advantage of someone else, there are no morals. There is no code. Believing that, I believe that sex is something that we are built to enjoy–which is why it feels so damn good, and why we dissolve into euphoria when we are having it. There is no limit on the number of people we go to bed with, no right or wrong to who or how we fuck. The only reason we should place parameters around our sexuality is if we personally require these guidelines in order to be safe and happy. If we feel better only having sex with a carefully chosen partner who we love, then that is what we should do. If we want to avoid getting or spreading disease, we should use contraception. If sex is taking over our lives or ruining our relationships, then we need to get control of that impulse in order to reduce our suffering and the suffering of those close to us.
So as far as morality and sexuality go, I have figured out my personal ethic and that works for me.
The problem comes when thinking about the nature of, and value placed on sex. Of course this is something personal that we each need to decide for ourselves, but I have seen so many couples (including my husband and I) destroyed or seriously struggling because of a lack of agreement on this issue.
It seems clear to me that sex–like everything else–has no value besides that which we as people place on it. For me, it is extremely important and a necessary part of a vibrant and full life. For others, it is just a fun recreational activity, or something they don’t care to do at all. Obviously, making a commitment to spend your life with someone who places different value on sex than you do is going to be a problem.
I guess my confusion comes from being on a different side of this issue from so many of the other mothers I know. Many will talk about how they haven’t had sex with their husbands in months, or they only have sex a handful of times a year. When their husbands complain about the lack of sex, they get angry and defensive, saying that sex isn’t important. It doesn’t matter enough to make or break a relationship, it is a “want” and not a need, and that their husbands should be able to take care of themselves in this area if they need to get off. They completely misunderstand their spouse–that he does not just need an orgasm, he needs to be able to express his sexuality with another person. Sex is not just about relieving the discomfort of being horny, and masturbation is a totally different experience from having sex.
The attitude of these women is, that sex is “base”. That is is not a higher order need. That family, companionship and whatever else their husbands have in their lives should be enough to keep them satisfied. Like I said before, sex is not a need for everyone, but for some people it absolutely is. Should their husbands continue to suffer in silence, not having their needs met? Should they do so with a smile, and not even complain? It seems like deprivation of pleasure–and that which makes us human– is cruel and unusual. But is the wife cruel and unusual? This is where I get twisted up in my thinking.
No one should have to have sex when they don’t want to, so my friends are right. Their husbands should not pressure them. No one should have to live without their basic sexual needs being met, so their husbands are right–they deserve to be able to be as sexual as they want to be. Yet these couples have committed to each other, built lives together, and love each other. Families should not be torn apart because two people have different ideas of what an adult relationship is and what it should look like. Where does that leave us–all of us who are mismatched in our relationships?
It leaves us in a place where we know, once and for all, that sex should NOT be abstained from until marriage. It leaves us knowing that we should experiment and experience our sexuality fully, and what it means, and communicate that honestly to our partners before making a commitment, so that we do not end up in this situation in the first place. But for those of us for whom this ship has sailed, I’m not sure there’s an answer. Especially if those in the couples believe whole-heartedly that monogamy is something that they want.
In discussing this with my husband, he has stated that he has not been having more sex with me just to make me happy, or out of obligation. He is doing it because he wants a healthy sex life. Even if he does not always feel like it, he always enjoys it, and he knows that a major part of increasing your sex drive is to have more sex! I am thankful that we are in this place, but worried for my friends, their marriages, and the marriages of all the other couples out there who are on opposite sides of sexual appetite scale (and of course, things between my husband and I could become sexually stagnant again–we are not out of the woods yet).
It seems like, no matter what, there is no way for everyone to be happy. I’m beginning to wonder if this is just the nature of life.
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is even truer for sexiness.
Ever since my self-imposed ban on other lovers, I have pretty much given up on sexy.
I haven’t combed my hair since Sunday, and my “going out” clothes have been relegated to a suitcase in the bottom of my closet. My poor lingerie drawer has been sorely neglected as well. If I do not have “other” men telling me in word and deed how sexy I am, then my physical appearance ceases to matter.
Am I a non-entity who can’t take care of my appearance because I respect myself, and not just so that others can validate me? Apparently that is exactly what I am.
I am not sexy.
I’m surprised my husband will even agree to have sex with me. We have been averaging about once a week lately. I can tell when it has to happen. The constant raging fire inside me has turned into more of an orange ember, though it is still there. It doesn’t increase when I need to have sex, but what DOES increase is my bitchiness. I snap at the kids if they do not go to bed immediately after our telling them to do so, for fear that if they are up too late the husband will be too tired. I also snap more at him–I am punishing him because I anticipate that he will reject me. Why I think I will catch more flies will vinegar I’ll never know, but though I want to be sweet as honey, my subconscious is in control and it is angry at him when I want sex.
Even on these nights, I don’t do anything to up my sex appeal. I am still sporting the bedhead I woke up with that morning. I may pass a damp cloth over my body instead of taking the effort to shower, deodorant serves as a substitute for perfume, and my mascara and lipstick remain abandoned on my dusty make-up shelf. I am forcing him to love me at my worst, because it stung so badly each time he rejected me when I was at my best. And, miraculously, love me he does–even though I am not sexy.
I know, though, that sexy isn’t all about looks. It is about how you feel–who you are. When I had a variety of lovers and illicit trysts penciled into my day planner, I was sexy all the time. One morning I dragged myself into work after a night of no sleep. I didn’t bother with make-up, I was wearing my unflattering work clothes–and I was sexy as hell. I got hit on by countless male customers.
It was the naughty way I smiled to myself while reliving the previous night’s activities. It was my confidence, and the endorphins still coursing through my body. I felt sexy, and so I was. And that is the real issue here.
Why does having sex in a committed relationship, with someone who genuinely loves me, have zero effect on how I feel about myself? Why does having sex with a stream of assholes who couldn’t give a shit about me, make me feel like a goddess? Is there any logic to this at all?
Maybe knowing that I am ONLY wanted for my perceived outer sexiness boosts my confidence, while the possibility of being rejected by someone I have committed to spending my life with fills me with fear. Maybe I do not believe that I am worthy of true love, or maybe love without the rush of infatuation bores me. Maybe I have serious psychological issues and really do desperately need a therapist.
I am not sexy. But I want to be. I want to shave my legs just so I can rub the smoothness of one against the other. I want to pout my lipsticked mouth in the mirror and smile because I like the way I look, not because anyone else does. Can I convince myself to sleep in lingerie, even if chances are my husband will NOT rip it right off me? Can I walk around naked just to feel the air move across my skin?
I am not sexy. But I want to be.