Marriage Of One

About Her

This is one of a trilogy of articles that ‘set the stage’ as it were for Marriage Of One. It doesn’t matter what order you read these in, but their purpose is to give you a background to the personalities and circumstances involved.  I apologise if they seem a bit long, but these articles are therapeutic to me and who knows you may see something of yourself, your partner or a close friend in here.
The other articles are About Me and About Us.

Susan is the best thing that ever happened to me.  She is kind, generous and thoughtful.  She is supportive and is a good partner and friend.  She is a good mother to our children.  She is also beautiful and healthy although like me not as fit as she might be.

I said that Susan is generous. Nobody who knows her could ever call her selfish.  Except me.  Sexually, I would not wish her brand of selfishness on my worst enemy.  Forget sex as a physical act for a second. Look at it emotionally.  Not only is she aware of her own sexual deficiencies, she is also aware of their effect on our marriage and on me, her husband.  But she still does not want to engage in any solution or dialogue, either with me or a therapist/councilor.  She is clearly only concerned with herself to the detriment of her marriage and her husband and even perhaps to the detriment of the development of our children.

Like me Susan grew up with major confidence issues and has body-image and self-image problems arising from a less-than-positive home life. And like me she had a stunted social and sexual development.  The one advantage she had was that she had a large family around her to provide some kind of social interaction, meaning she has a head-start when it comes to making and forming friendships.

The advantage I had was that I at least had one sexual relationship prior to our meeting.  So you’d think we would draw from each others experiences and relative strengths.  I did.  And I did and have learned and grown in confidence from the social aspects our marriage has delivered and through her.  But sexually she has failed to grasp the nettle.  And I’ll come back to what I believe the problem is in a minute.

Do I know why she is still here?  I believe she loves me – not as a husband in the normal sense but as a kind of male all-round figure: a father/brother/son/male friend.  She does not blame me for where we are in our marriage any more than she blames herself.  She blames ‘circumstances’.  I have never badgered her with sexual demands or ultimatums and so whilst I was often stricken with rejection and dented confidence, she has sailed through the eight years relatively unscathed.  With my abandoning our sex life after a last ditch attempt a few months ago, she feels even less pressure.  After all, she produced and nurtured a sex-less marriage.  I’ve just handed it to her on a silver platter.  What has she got to lose?

Dressed for ‘comfort’

Susan has nevertheless improved over the years of our marriage, much as I have.  Less than eight years ago she nearly  always wore dark, ill-fitting, black or brown clothes – usually trousers or full-length skirts (rarely). She did not care what she looked like and her appearance often fell down to her sisters or friends prodding her to make an effort.  She wore completely non-sexy underwear, bra and knickers never matched and always were either black or white.

I believe that sex starts before the bedroom, and I’ve tried to impress this upon her. It starts with our appearance and behaviour in NON-sexual settings.  It comes from looking and behaving attractively.  For years I felt that she did not make an effort because she did not care what I thought of her.  At times I still think she deliberately dresses badly to put me off thinking about her sexually.

Over the years there has been a gradual albeit slow improvement.  She now wears other brighter colours.  She has also started to wear clothes, shorter skirts and (sometimes) underwear that is more in line with her age and not her mother’s.  The problem is that her adjustment has come too late to save our sex life, and what little motivation she does have to look better or shop for nicer clothes is swallowed by the reality of being a full-time mother.

So for now at least, it is usually back to what she calls ‘dressing for comfort’.  Which means grey joggers, and any dull-coloured ill-fitting top she can find.  This covers huge black granny-pants and a mismatched, unadjusted black, pale brown or white bra.

Let me tell you though that when she wants to she can look absolutely stunning.  If we have to go out for a social event such as a wedding or party she really wears her clothes and make up (underwear usually still hideous).  She does not wear anything obviously sexy however.  Just attractive and smart. She may have delivered 3 kids but I’d jump on her in a heartbeat when she makes an effort.

Sexual personality

Susan I honestly believe does not have a sexual personality.  There may be psychologists reading this who will say that everyone has a sexual personality.  But in as far as Susan is concerned in a practical sense, her personality is that she does not have one.  She copes with sex as a biological necessity for reproduction and the occasional tool for marital connection.  Which is a shame for her because physically she has orgasms quite easily and when she does have sex she seems to enjoy it.

But she does not initiate sex or respond to my approaches because sex is fun. Or because she feels she wants to experiment or explore her or my sexuality. Or because she wants to express love.

Susan simply has no motivation or preferences towards it.  She only thinks she knows what she does not like.  Here is a sample:

Kissing: limited to dry kisses; tongues stays in their respective mouths. No kissing sessions (even when sex is not likely).  When I kiss her all over the body I also lick or suck parts of her body.  She does not do this to me.  Not even my neck. No kissing in public unless it is just  a very quick peck on the cheek or lips.

Oral sex: She enjoys cunnilingus enjoyed but doesn’t care if she gets it or not.  She only allows it when preceded by extensive washing of her nether regions.  At the end of a long day this is often unlikely and so she hasn’t had it for a few years I think.  She doesn’t like fellatio and doesn’t care if I do.  I suspect that she inhibits her own enjoyment of oral sex because she doesn’t want to return the favour by performing a blow-job on me.

Food and sex-toys:  I think she has relaxed ever so slightly on this and I’m not sure why.  Once again though, it has happened too late to save our sex-life.  Still, by and large she doesn’t like sex to be ‘dirty’.  So playing with food is not allowed.  She resists playing with vibrators and we have never had much of a chance to try sex toys because I can never justify the expense for something that will only see the light of day once or twice a year if we’re lucky.  And of course, she’s never just gone out and bought one herself.  We do have a couple of toys (I bought one, the other was a gift from her hen-party) and they are rarely used.

Talking about sex: We can talk about sex in the abstract.  That is we can talk about our sex-life, but not about sex. Why?  Because she believes talking about sex, planning it, building up expectation and excitement, talking explicitly about what we are going to do and how, all destroys spontaneity.  And we can never talk about WHEN.  Sex has to be spontaneous.  So when we did talk ‘sex’ it was normally a negative conversation ABOUT why we had not had sex for X months – the conversation initiated by myself.

I say ‘did’ because for the last year or two I haven’t bothered talking about my feelings to her.  It’s clear she doesn’t give a crap.

I still don’t know what if anything, turns her on.  What does she like?  When I used to ask her, her answers were vague and now with hindsight I think I understand.  She would say things like ‘I want to experiment’, ‘I want to try it in different positions’, ‘I want to do it in different rooms’.  It was never specific – what did she want to try?  Which positions did she have in mind?  What did she want me to do to her?  What was she going to do to me?  On those extremely rare occasions in our first few years together when something did happen it was clear she didn’t really know herself.  She was just saying what she thought needed to be said.

And that is what I meant when I said she has no sexual personality.  She honestly doesn’t know what sex for her should be.  She doesn’t feel lust so can’t find out.  And the flipside is that she has such entrenched ideas of what she does not like (or thinks she will not like) that she will not give herself or me a fair chance to prove otherwise.

Guilty displeasures

The one thing that Susan really hates is guilt.  She will do anything not to feel guilty.  Lucky for her it doesn’t take much to assuage her guilt.

She knows she is damaging our relationship.  She knows it affects me emotionally and even physically.  But as long as she does not feel guilt she appears to cope and even appears to be oblivious to the grotesque abomination of our sex-life.  But once in a while (and it is quite rare now that I’ve given up even trying to have sex with her), guilt rears its head and for a short time even her powerful capacity for self-delusion and scapegoating cannot help.

I’ll be honest here.  In the early years of our relationship I exploited this.  My intention was to take the short-term effect and hopefully role it out for a longer term.  That is, when she guilt made her give in to sex I tried to establish a pattern for us to follow when the guilt subsided.  The problem of course was that the sex was guilt-based – it was “tick-box” sex.  Without the guilt there was no sexual motivation.  And she wasn’t going to do it just because it made me happy or improved our marriage.

Perfection and the blame game

Susan somehow always finds a problem that ‘stops’ her from having sex.

She says she can’t just ‘switch off’ and start thinking about sex.  So over the years here is a short list of the things that somehow made life just not perfect enough to have sex with me: house too cold, not happy with work, my parents, her parents, her sisters problems, not spending enough time together, my brother, pregnancy, children, not living alone, too tired etc etc.  I realised a few years ago that actually what she wanted was not a solution or workaround to a particular problem.  She actually wanted perfection.  And there can be no compromise with perfection.

And I was right.  As soon as one ‘problem’ went away or we/she got used to it, another problem would raise it’s head.  She would and never will feel that conditions are ‘right’ for a sex-life.

Once in a while (I think it has happened around 3 times in our marriage) she has had an epiphany – a moment of clarity when she saw her life, our marriage and her behaviour clearly and even stated her responsibility in the problem.  She has even cried as she recognised the pain she had put me through and what she and I have missed out on over the years.  She has even said she intended to do something about it.  In the last one a few months ago she even said she was going to seek professional help.  (I helped her out by finding a few phone numbers to call.  She has not called even one yet to my knowledge.)

Unfortunately her capacity of self-delusion is huge even following these rare moments of clarity.  Within days she will backtrack on everything and somehow find a way to blame the prevailing circumstances or even her hormones.  At best the result of an epiphany will be a few sessions of ‘tick-box’ sex.  At worst not even that – simply a return to the status-quo.

Even today if you ask her about the years gone, she will say as if I couldn’t possibly disagree with her, about how difficult life was and how impossible it was for us to develop a sex-life or spend ‘quality’ time together. She will blame the ‘circumstances’.

I agree it was hard at times, very hard several times.  But I believe that if she had had a better attitude and a sex-drive (in that order because this is really down to attitude now), that we would not have travelled the road we have.

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