Marriage Of One

July 26, 2010

Half a dozen options

Filed under: intimacy,sex — marriageofone @ 10:41 pm
Tags: ,
A few nights ago I visited Greta Christina’s blog as I do every so often.  I came across her response to a blog post by Dan Savage (whom I had never hitherto heard of) regarding options surrounding couples with mismatched libido.
I suggest you read Dan’s post and then Greta’s before continuing.
The argument got me thinking about my own situation.  There is little doubt of course that the cap fits my marriage with Susan perfectly.  I was a bit put out by Dan’s position of ‘suck it up, breeders‘ regarding couples with children as though they had no options other than to ‘suffer’ as it was all their fault.  But I’ll ignore that.
Dan’s answer and his only solution to this situation is to get out of it.  Always.  No ifs. No buts.  It can’t work, it won’t work. Ever.
So Greta’s response to this post was (as usual) really rounded and useful.
Greta listed the following as options:
  • Scheduling sex
  • Re-defining sex
  • Re-thinking the circumstances in which you have sex
  • Compromising
  • Trying an open relationship
  • Couples counseling
The only caveat which Greta has not approached is, what if one or the other partner in such a relationship refuses to either recognise the problem, or is unable/unwilling to tackle the problem.  Can one partner work it all out?  My experience and assessment is no.  Not possible.
And this is when I got thinking.
Of that list which have Susan and I been through?  And more importantly what options are left?
Scheduling sex: Susan thinks it destroys spontaneity and doesn’t believe you should have sex just because it’s in the diary. Can I change this?  No.  It’s something that she has or has had programmed into her brain.
Re-defining sex: By this Greta means that it should not always imply intercourse.  For Susan and I it never has – if anything we have no definition of sex other than – I suppose – someone has to orgasm.  I guess we could redefine it to ‘do something that is pleasurable but may or may not include anyone having an orgasm’.  Can I change this? Possibly, but Susan is not great at foreplay as she has little sexual imagination and whilst I can imagine her agreeing to this in principle, she won’t sit up in bed learning new sensual techniques (which being experiments, may or may not be immediately pleasurable).  It is far too easy for her to just jerk me off and then cuddle up and fall asleep.  And because she is not really receptive most kinds of sexual ‘play’ my options on her are limited too.  She would get bored pretty quickly and I’d be left carrying the session (as I usually am anyway, but at least currently we are zeroing in on orgasms).
Re-think circumstances: That got me thinking over what circumstances we actually do have sex in and what is or is not great about it.  And the only circumstance in which it does happen (at the moment) is last thing at night when both of us are tired.  Can I change this?  I don’t think so.  We could go up to bed earlier, but that will probably just mean Susan will fall asleep earlier.  As for variations in time/place we have practical limitations which are not conveniently overcome.  And when it may be practical in rare circumstances, Susan invariably won’t be ‘in the mood’.
Compromising: what do you think this blog is about! Susan has shown that she won’t compromise in any meaningful way.  Of course, she thinks she is compromising if we were to talk about it.  She just thinks I’ve set the bar too high.  Can I change this?  History says no.
Open relationship: We’ve spoken about this sometime in the past – a few years ago at least.  Susan disagreed with this fundamentally; open marriages are not ‘normal’.  Also, I can understand why from her point of view it would only be open for me: she would not be able to exercise her right to an open relationship because she is intrinsically unable to feel sexual attraction to anyone. Can I change this?  I don’t think so.  If somehow I did, it would be a one-way road to ruin – Susan would develop a deep resentment against me (even if she appeared to understand and goes along with it) and would probably never have sex with me again.
Counseling: I suggested this and she has sabotaged this (either deliberately or subconsciously). She has also tried counseling for herself.  Recently she herself (after her failure with Marcia) has suggested couple counseling.  So far she has not done anything about it.  It may be in the back of her mind, but I suspect she’ll get round to it when she senses a crisis: for her sex is far too trivial and unimportant to be anything but the last thing on her ‘to do’ list.  Can I change this? I can insist on counseling and she may agree to go – but I don’t see any value in it really.  What is she going to talk about?  How is she going to answer the questions from the counsellor?  How is she going to give her side of the story?
So that sums it up – my options are by Greta’s reckoning exactly zero. Unless we go back to Dan Savage’s one and only option and I’ve ruled that one out.


  1. I’ve read Dan Savage before, and his answers appear to me to be for teens and twenty-somethings who aren’t very invested in legally-bound relationships. He’s worth a peek, but don’t stop there!

    I was a regular at Greta’s for a while, but when it comes to the male side of the situation, she’s as female as they come. Thus, in my opinion, she’s a poser. She doesn’t walk the talk when pressed.

    As for The List, I believe we have compared notes on the various specifics before. Your Susan and my spouse might as well be sisters. Some details may differ, but the general trend is so parallel I find it discomfiting to read your version. It hits too close to home.

    It comes down to this: If the mountain won’t come to Mohammad, Mohammad must come to the mountain. In other words, if we are unhappy with our situations, and we aren’t about to change them, the only thing left to do is to change our expectations. I believe I have mentioned before that I respond when my wife initiates our rare sex acts, but don’t bother initiating myself any other time when I feel like it and I doubt she does. (This is usually signaled by her staying up late and watching TV, a nightly event.) I’d rather be frustrated than rejected. At least the frustration is something I can deal with if I must. The rejection just builds until I can only see divorce as an option.

    For many reasons, like you, I prefer not to get divorced. Something has to give, and that something is me. At least as I describe my life, I have the control. Acceptance is the only option left when you’ve eliminated the others.

    Comment by ToppHogg — July 27, 2010 @ 10:23 am

  2. ToppHogg: totally agree.

    Comment by marriageofone — August 1, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: