Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Low or no sex drive?
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Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby JT77 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:56 am

I'm new here. I've poked around a little bit, but not exhaustively. So, if this is redundant to other posts / threads, I apologize in advance, and I would appreciate being directed to the relevant discussions.

My wife, like many wives, is very ambivalent about sex. She doesn't "need it" as often, or as much, as I do. She knows that it's not that I want sex, period. It's that I want her to want to have sex with me. But she says that she just doesn't want it very often, but that I shouldn't let that be an indication of her love for me.

The common attitude is: Women are different. You have to warm her up. She might have psychological hangups, etc... etc... blah blah blah. I've heard it all. I've practiced it all. Finally, I recently realized that there is a HUGE double standard here.

Men typically receive and show love through physical affection (particularly sex).
Women typically receive and show love through non-physical affection (or at least, through non-sexual affection). This typically includes things like quality time, conversation, gifts, helping around the house, non-sexual caressing, etc...

Now, when men aren't getting the kind of affection they need, they're told to be patient. Keep giving her what she needs. Help here through her hangups, etc...

But what if it were the other way around? It's not like men typically naturally enjoy long conversations, chores, etc... Why aren't women expected to gradually coax men into these things? Why isn't it ok for a man to go weeks, or months, or years with rarely spending quality time with his wife "because he just doesn't need it the way she does"?

In our marriage, I know that my wife really values and appreciates quality time, and being surprised with dates. Neither of those things are things that I naturally enjoy. But you know what, I've been really intentional to cultivate an enjoyment of them because I know that she appreciates them. In fact, I do enjoy them with her--but only because I know she enjoys them. My love for her causes me to enjoy doing things she enjoys--even though, apart from my love for her, I would not enjoy those things.

So now, let's look at sex. Why can't she do the same with sex? In fact, why hasn't it come naturally? The only conclusion I can draw is that she doesn't really love me the way I love her. And I think that's true of EVERY wife who doesn't ENJOY having sex with her husband. When you love someone, you naturally begin to enjoy the things that he/she enjoys--because you enjoy making them happy. I've experienced that for my wife in numerous areas. Many husbands do as well. But it is rarely reciprocated. Conclusion: I don't think my wife loves me as much as I love her. And I don't think the wives who don't enjoy sex love their husbands as much as they should.

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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby slowandsteady » Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:50 pm

the double standard most likely comes from the idea that you can't change someone else's behavior. You can do everything you can to show them love, but at the end of the day it is up to them to change.

What you see here, is more often the High desire partner looking for answers. The advice then is to encourage them to be patient, keep loving, pray, etc... because you are only talking to one side of the marriage. When you look in the "those said no," part of the boards it sometimes looks different. But there are just a smaller number of those threads, because the Lower desire partner isn't generally the one struggling and looking for help with their sex life.

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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby poetess » Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:53 pm

Are you just looking to vent and get "I hear you, brother" feedback from other men?

Because as a woman, I can't see what is complicated about this. I don't understand why any person would not want long conversations with someone they love--and I guess I'm fortunate in that the men in my life all enjoy long conversations, too. (Not just my husband but the men in my family, my husband's family, our church, etc.) And no, they're not just tolerating them, because they have long conversations with one another, too, not just with the women. I can understand that some people are more talkative by nature than others, but not at all how you can "like it because she likes it" (sort of), but not really enjoy engaging with your spouse. And why on earth would you want to have sex with someone you didn't really "enjoy" engaging with otherwise? I don't get it.

On the other hand, men are saying (paraphrased): I tolerate conversations and time spent with my life, and in fact I even enjoy it that she enjoys it, though given my own preferences, I'd pass. But she says the same thing about sex, and that's unpardonable!
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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby JT77 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:58 pm

slowandsteady wrote:the double standard most likely comes from the idea that you can't change someone else's behavior. You can do everything you can to show them love, but at the end of the day it is up to them to change.

What you see here, is more often the High desire partner looking for answers. The advice then is to encourage them to be patient, keep loving, pray, etc... because you are only talking to one side of the marriage. When you look in the "those said no," part of the boards it sometimes looks different. But there are just a smaller number of those threads, because the Lower desire partner isn't generally the one struggling and looking for help with their sex life.


I'm not sure you understand my point.
She may be naturally "lower desire" regarding sex. But I'm naturally "lower desire" regarding quality time. And yet, because I love her, I've cultivated a desire for quality time. Why can't she do the same w sex, if she loves me?

Would it be appropriate to have the attitude: when it comes to dates, and talking, she just needs to understand that I'm "lower desire". It's just how I am. She needs to accept the fact that going on dates and talking to ea other just doesn't matter as much to me as it does to her..??

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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby slowandsteady » Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:06 pm

My point wasn't that that is wrong, it probably is correct. My point was that, what you read here may seem slanted because most of the advice given here is for the high desire partner.

If your wife came here and asked for help, most likely she would be told to start doing it for you, because she loves you and because you like it.

The other challenge in all of this is that, for me at least, I know my wife has sex more often than she would on her own because she knows I want it. She is enjoying it because I am enjoying it. But I want more than that. I want her to want it on her own. I don't know what your situation is, but in mine its a hard reality to accept. But when I don't accept that, and push for more, the result is usually that she doesn't want to have sex at all.

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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby poetess » Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:42 pm

So now, let's look at sex. Why can't she do the same with sex? In fact, why hasn't it come naturally? The only conclusion I can draw is that she doesn't really love me the way I love her. And I think that's true of EVERY wife who doesn't ENJOY having sex with her husband.


I know you're venting. But this really isn't fair. "Enjoying" sex includes having a solid relationship with one's husband and it is also related to hormones, how good one's husband is at making it enjoyable, etc. But judging another person's motives based on how much they "enjoy" an activity just isn't fair. And especially when you've pretty much just admitted you don't "enjoy" dates and long conversations with your wife except knowing that she likes them--in other words, if you can do those things for her and not for yourself, why can't sex be the same way for her? And sex doesn't "come naturally" for a woman; it's a lot of work.
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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby JT77 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:49 pm

poetess wrote: men are saying (paraphrased): I tolerate conversations and time spent with my life, and in fact I even enjoy it that she enjoys it, though given my own preferences, I'd pass. But she says the same thing about sex, and that's unpardonable!

No. I'm saying that I wouldn't enjoy it with anyone else. But I DO genuinely enjoy it w her because I love her. But on the flip side, she doesn't genuinely enjoy sex w me.. she tolerates it at best. I'm arguing that means she doesn't really love me. And if you don't genuinely enjoy sec w your husband than he should conclude the same about you... Just like you'd think he didn't genuinely love you if he didn't genuinely enjoy spending time w / talking to you.

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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby poetess » Fri Nov 18, 2016 2:03 pm

I do enjoy sex with my husband. But there are lots and lots of possible reasons a woman might not enjoy sex with her husband other than "she doesn't love him." Here are a few reasons off the top of my head:

(1) It brings no physical pleasure and sometimes brings pain.
(2) Her husband isn't a very good lover, and it simply isn't something enjoyable. Perhaps sex is usually rushed, and she needs more time to get into it.
(3) She has a history of being molested or raped, and sex brings back unpleasant memories.
(4) She is physically exhausted or ill, and sex isn't "worth" the effort involved.
(5) She isn't feeling at all connected to her husband, and sex doesn't feel intimate.
(6) Her hormones are out of whack, so she has little or no libido and sexual pleasure. (This might be caused by birth control pills, other medications, menopause, etc.)

There are probably other reasons, too, but "doesn't love her husband" is only one of them. That she "doesn't feel loved" is another. In my life experience, I prefer to look at other options before considering someone's heart motives (which no one else can know). We can judge another person's actions--she doesn't engage in sex as enthusiastically as I would like--without determining the reason (which we can't know).

Descending to "she doesn't love me as much as I love her" is beginning a vicious cycle. If you feel unloved, then you are less inclined to show her your love, and she likewise feels less loved and disengages some more. It's better to choose to assume your spouse's goodwill (that your spouse has your best interest at heart) unless and until they prove differently--that was a deliberate choice I made before I married, to assume my husband's goodwill. And he does it for me even more. (Recently I apologized for the grumpy tone I used in saying something to him, and he hadn't noticed my tone. That's his natural bent toward me, that he assumes the best from me. It makes it so much easier for me to do likewise with him.)
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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby JT77 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 2:07 pm

poetess wrote:. And why on earth would you want to have sex with someone you didn't really "enjoy" engaging with otherwise? I don't get it.

Why on earth would you want to be married to someone you don't enjoy having sex with?

It goes both ways. I do enjoy engaging with my wife in non sexual way, because I actually live her. But she doesn't enjoy having sex w me. Conclusion? I'm saying that the desire for physical intimacy with ones spouse should be just as strong as the desire for non physical intimacy for one's spouse.

Women try to have it both ways: the man has to truly desire non physical intimacy w her (and I do), but it's ok if she tolerates physical intimacy w him... Like she's throwing him a bone or doing him a favor. It's disgusting.

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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby seeking perspective » Fri Nov 18, 2016 2:15 pm

Being deprived of a sexual relationship and the intimacy that comes with that hurts a great deal. You are right to be unhappy about all this. Your sexual desire for your wife is a gift from God. No matter what our culture (and sometimes, sadly, our church) tells us about men wanting sex too much, your desire is a holy thing, designed by God to help you experience deep intimacy with your wife.

JT77 wrote:My wife, like many wives, is very ambivalent about sex. She doesn't "need it" as often, or as much, as I do. She knows that it's not that I want sex, period. It's that I want her to want to have sex with me. But she says that she just doesn't want it very often, but that I shouldn't let that be an indication of her love for me.

As hard as this may be for you to understand, your wife is speaking truthfully. She doesn't want sex very often, and it has nothing to do with her love for you. Does your lack of desire to have long drawn-out conversations with her indicate your love for her?

Most women don't experience arousal until they are relaxed and are experiencing some touching and kissing. That is when they realize that they want to have sex. I used to measure my wanting sex by a male paradigm. My husband wanting to have sex was indicated by his obvious arousal. Since I wasn't experiencing that same arousal, I figured that meant I didn't want to have sex.

I can't tell you many times my husband would ask if I wanted to have sex and my response was that I didn't--because I wasn't aroused. That didn't mean I wasn't willing to or that I wouldn't enjoy it once we got started, but it did mean that my arousal and desire worked differently than my husband's. It took us a long time to figure that out.

The common attitude is: Women are different. You have to warm her up. She might have psychological hangups, etc... etc... blah blah blah. I've heard it all. I've practiced it all. Finally, I recently realized that there is a HUGE double standard here.

I have learned (the hard way, of course, like I've learned most lessons in my life) that thinking about what is fair in this way is not good for the marriage. I am not saying there is no double standard--just that it isn't good to spend time dwelling on it.

Men typically receive and show love through physical affection (particularly sex).

This ^^^ is something many women truly do not grasp. Many women don't understand the depth of emotional connection that sex provides for a man. As a man, you may find that hard to believe because the truth is so obvious to you--but this is the way it is.

Why isn't it ok for a man to go weeks, or months, or years with rarely spending quality time with his wife "because he just doesn't need it the way she does"?

It isn't okay. It also isn't okay that a wife goes for long stretches of time depriving her husband of sex just because she doesn't need it.

The only conclusion I can draw is that she doesn't really love me the way I love her. And I think that's true of EVERY wife who doesn't ENJOY having sex with her husband.

You know what? You're right. She doesn't love you the way you love her--because she is a woman, and she loves differently than you do. She likely loves you just as much as you love her; she expresses it differently.

When you love someone, you naturally begin to enjoy the things that he/she enjoys--because you enjoy making them happy.

I wouldn't say that this naturally happens. Although I do enjoy making my husband happy, I am never, ever going to enjoy browsing through the gun section at Gander Mountain with him. I do it, but I don't enjoy it. It is never going to naturally happen.

Conclusion: I don't think my wife loves me as much as I love her. And I don't think the wives who don't enjoy sex love their husbands as much as they should.

Although I know it feels that way to you, please know that this is not the way she feels. If she is like many women, she doesn't understand the emotional aspect of sex.

Would she be willing to go through a study about marriage and sex, or maybe read some things that we could recommend? Would she be willing to come here and let some of us women walk with her for a bit while she tries to better understand?
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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby doug-h » Fri Nov 18, 2016 2:16 pm

I understand and empathize with the hurt and frustration but I would strongly encourage you to re-frame that line of thought into a direction that is less adversarial.

I think that when you start putting a grade on who loves who most, that you are probably drifting away from seeking a reconciliation. I don't doubt that you have been selfless, but I would encourage you to look at love as it is presented in 1 Corinthians 13. There is a great deal more to love than doing what pleases someone. Certainly, that is part of it, but only a part.

It is certainly reasonable to say that you are not being treated correctly, but equate that to some theoretical quantity of love is a problematic endeavor. It is unlikely to yield any fruit, and if it does, I would expect the fruit to be bitter.

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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby OldMarriedLady » Fri Nov 18, 2016 2:16 pm

JT77 wrote:I'm new here. I've poked around a little bit, but not exhaustively. So, if this is redundant to other posts / threads, I apologize in advance, and I would appreciate being directed to the relevant discussions.

There are many areas of the board that are "hidden" and you need to subscribe to them to see them. Please click on the WHAT ARE YOU NOT SEEING?? link at the top of the page, and you will find instructions for joining Usergroups. You should join Sexually Refused, Those Who Say or Said No, and Sexual Changes, Challenges & Difficulties so you can see the Lack of Desire section in it. That's where you'll find all the other discussions about this topic, and there are dozens.
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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby JT77 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 3:02 pm

poetess wrote:(1) It brings no physical pleasure and sometimes brings pain.
(2) Her husband isn't a very good lover, and it simply isn't something enjoyable. Perhaps sex is usually rushed, and she needs more time to get into it.
(3) She has a history of being molested or raped, and sex brings back unpleasant memories.
(4) She is physically exhausted or ill, and sex isn't "worth" the effort involved.
(5) She isn't feeling at all connected to her husband, and sex doesn't feel intimate.
(6) Her hormones are out of whack, so she has little or no libido and sexual pleasure. (This might be caused by birth control pills, other medications, menopause, etc.)


1) Very rarely a problem for us. Even if it was though, if she desired it, she'd at least talk to me about how to make it less painful, or (heaven forbid) enjoy giving me pleasure orally.
2) Again, why not talk about it to improve, unless you don't really care (i.e. unless you don't really love him)? Plus, this same excuse could be used for talking and quality time. Perhaps my wife is boring. Would that be an adequate excuse for me never wanting to talk to her?
3) N/A
4) 24/7? Really? Again, would this be a legitimate excuse for the man with anything else? I never desire to talk to my wife because I'm always just too mentally /physically exhausted...?
5) Again, why not talk about it? Trust me, we don't like non-intimate sex either. Or at least I don't. One time she just laid there and acted like a manequin. I stopped and refused to finish. It was disgusting. That's right. It goes both ways. Maybe I'm not interested in non-physical intimacy because of the lack of physical intimacy. This is often the case, actually. It's hard to want to take someone on a date when they seem more like your sister and less like your lover.
6) N/A w the pills, etc... But again, would this be a legitimate excuse for a guy not wanting to go on dates, or have intimate conversations? I don't think so.

So, like I said. Double Standard.

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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby JT77 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 3:12 pm

seeking perspective wrote:I can't tell you many times my husband would ask if I wanted to have sex and my response was that I didn't--because I wasn't aroused.

I have never just asked. I find asking degrading. I always initiate with kissing and touching and usually a full on 15 minute massage––often resulting in nothing.

Many women don't understand the depth of emotional connection that sex provides for a man. As a man, you may find that hard to believe because the truth is so obvious to you--but this is the way it is.

No. I believe it. We've talked about it. And she does know it. Apparently she doesn't care much. Plus, even if she didn't know it, it's not hard to deduce. It's not rocket science.

Although I do enjoy making my husband happy, I am never, ever going to enjoy browsing through the gun section at Gander Mountain with him. I do it, but I don't enjoy it. It is never going to naturally happen.

I meant the stuff that you do to make him happy. I'm never going to enjoy shopping for shoes. But I do genuinely enjoy sitting around and watching TV with her, or going out for coffee with her––which is something I never would have enjoyed by myself, or with someone else. I enjoy it because I get to bring her pleasure and express my love to her through it.

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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby doug-h » Fri Nov 18, 2016 3:54 pm

JT77, some of the responses are from people who are or have been in your shoes. Another side of the picture is being presented by individuals who used to mirror your wifes behavior.

With that said, your words border on accusing those who have found their way of not loving their husbands as much as their husbands loved them. They are telling you that was not the case. I encourage you to take them at their word. I would say that the restoration of their marriages speaks volumes about what is possible.

As one who has done an abhorrent job of loving my wife correctly in the past, I can assure you that I loved her completely and totally. Quality is not really a good indicator of quantity. I did what I knew, but what I knew was wrong. That is not an excuse. I accept my failures for what they were and resolve not to repeat them. My marriage is another that is finding it's way to what we both thought it would be when we started down this road 34 years ago.

Your words are bitter and resentful, and you are not going to leverage that into an improved circumstance. It can only make things worse.

Some people are so broken that change comes hard if it comes at all, and the things that are broken are often not visible even to those who are closest to them. Sometimes they aren't even apparent to those of us who are broken. It is a dis-service for you to assign motive to your wife based on your own viewpoint. Further, it is almost guaranteed to make things worse.

It is ok to vent frustration. BTDT a lot. Even in the midst of that, a careful tone should be taken so that you don't inadvertently cause offense. It also helps to look for things to be grateful for.

I'm with you Brother, and want what is best for you, your wife, and your marriage, and only caution you to not make things worse.

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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby Leah » Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:43 pm

It might not be fair to expect my spouse to respond to life and love in the same way I do. He's not me. His feelings and responses are his. After 37 years of marriage, I have learned to read his responses and I appreciate them for what they are.
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“I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”--C.S. Lewis


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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby JT77 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 8:34 pm

All I'm doing here is applying the same logic to sex as we commonly apply to dating and conversation.

I think people are just getting offended because it exposes a double standard. If there is a double standard, it is not loving or compassionate to ignore it, or pretend that it doesn't exist. If it exists, it needs to be exposed, rejected, and fixed.

I think it does exist. Not in every marriage, but in many. Especially ones where the man has bent over backwards to love and serve his wife with little to no such reciprocation from her in his primary love language. If I'm right, then this needs to acknowledged and addressed.

Sex is (and should be) a natural desire in a romantic relationship. If it's not a natural desire, then either the relationship isn't romantic love (and therefore a very odd marriage), or there is something seriously psychologically wrong that isn't translating that love into the desire it should naturally produce.

Why is that controversial?

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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby seeking perspective » Fri Nov 18, 2016 8:57 pm

I don't think your conclusion that there is a double standard is necessary wrong. The fact that you are focusing on it is where I have a concern:
seeking perspective wrote:I have learned (the hard way, of course, like I've learned most lessons in my life) that thinking about what is fair in this way is not good for the marriage. I am not saying there is no double standard--just that it isn't good to spend time dwelling on it.


Rather than thinking about a double standard (one for women and one for men), ask this: What is God's standard for how we treat each other in marriage?

JT77 wrote:Sex is (and should be) a natural desire in a romantic relationship. If it's not a natural desire, then either the relationship isn't romantic love (and therefore a very odd marriage), or there is something seriously psychologically wrong that isn't translating that love into the desire it should naturally produce.


I'm curious about something. What do you mean when you say desire? Given the differences between how men and women often experience desire and sexual response (even in sexually healthy marriages), what do you think desire on your wife's part would look like? In what ways do you think it would be like yours? In what ways would it be different?

It is possible that there is a natural desire that just looks vastly different in a wife than in her husband? Your conclusion that the relationship isn't love or that there is a major psychological problem strikes me as a bit unfair. However, I do have a bias as a woman who resisted and refused sex for many years. I also communicate with many women about sexual problems in their marriages, and among the biggest problems are miscommunication and assumptions that a spouse should be like us.

The first word in your thread title is "frustrated." How can we help you work through this?

I don't know if you saw my question earlier (or if you answered it, and I missed it), but would your wife be willing to read in an effort to better understand your frustration? Also, how have you communicated with your wife about your frustration?
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Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby JT77 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:29 pm

seeking perspective wrote:I don't think your conclusion that there is a double standard is necessary wrong. The fact that you are focusing on it is where I am concerned

I'm focusing on it because it seems like no one is willing to recognize it. And it can't be addressed if it's not recognized and analyzed.

I'm curious about something. What do you mean when you say desire? Given the differences between how men and women often experience desire and sexual response (even in sexually healthy marriages), what do you think desire on your wife's part would look like? In what ways do you think it would be like yours? In what ways would it be different?

It would exist, period. And it would result in action on a regular basis. What it would look like is unimportant. It's not that she has the desire and I'm not seeing it. Like many other couples, we talked about it, and like many other wives she just doesn't desire it. The fact that you think it's unfair to conclude that she doesn't love me is the double standard... Wouldn't you conclude the same thing from a man who had no interest in talking to his wife? It's the same thing.

The first word in your thread title is "frustrated." How can we help you work through this?

Talking about it period helps. Discovering whether this is a double standard would help. Discovering whether the problem is her lover for me or is some psychological hangup would help.

I don't know if you saw my question earlier (or if you answered it, and I missed it), but would your wife be willing to read in an effort to better understand your frustration? Also, how have you communicated with your wife about your frustration?

I've tried talking to her. She just gets hurt and makes me feel like the bad guy. Then shuts down and won't talk to me. So no, I won't be talking to her about it anymore...at least until I know what I want to do about it. I don't want the cold shoulder on top of everything else.

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Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:33 pm
Date of your marriage (past or future): July 3rd, 2007
Gender: Female

Re: Frustrated with Double Standards. No Sex = No love

Postby desertwalker » Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:14 pm

As a person who desires to refuse, but manages by God's grace to persevere in the sexual arena, I would say that unfortunately from my perspective sex is not at all equal to "quality time" or "chores" or other things you say a spouse may desire. Doing chores does not require baring of oneself, or communicating ones most intimate and embarrassing desires, ECT. I can do chores for the sick lady at church as well as my husband with no problem. The double standard view on your part may be a miss assignment of how hard those things are for someone. I am not condoning refusal, but I am saying that as a potential refuser I do not feel (however wrong I may be) that the needs you list as your wife's being equal in sacrifice or weight in her mind as the sex act itself.


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