Monday, 16 February 2009


Imagine the scenario. You meet someone and fall in love. The only slight flaw you can perceive in your relationship is that your partner doesn't really enjoy food as much as you do. You like to partake of a wide range of cuisine, from the exotic and adventurous to the plain and simple. They might grimly chew on a celery stalk now and then but if they could take a pill to replace a meal, they would.

This aside, all else is bliss so you go ahead and set a date for the wedding.

Fast forward a few years and your partner no longer eats at all. It seems they have discovered a meal replacement pill after all! A few vitamins and a smoothie will keep them going indefinitely. You, however, still hunger for pasta, pizza or steak. But they find food distasteful, unappealing and would rather not join you for dinner. Not only that, but they would rather you didn't eat at all, despite your love of and passion for food. You end up watching Masterchef on YouTube after they've gone to bed and eating trifle in the toilet while they are at work. Something entirely healthy, natural and necessary has suddenly become a source of secret shame.

A preposterous situation, of course. Yet I know of a depressingly high number of relationships where this scenario actually occurs, only with regards to sex, not food.

While I am perplexed that people with pre-existing mismatched sex drives still go ahead and get married anyway (how they can possibly think this will be sustainable in the long term is a mystery to me) I do understand that there are occasions in life when sex drives will become unsynchronised, for whatever reason. The thing that truly baffles me is the attitude of those partners who say, "right, I no longer enjoy or want sex with you, and not only do I not want you to go off and have sex with anyone else I also do not want you to exhibit any signs of sexuality at all. If I detect any indications you might be turning to masturbation to satisfy your entirely understandable and natural urges I will be unreasonably upset and you will feel guilty and ashamed."

It is so immensely unfair, so monstrously unjust that I am amazed anyone puts up with it. Yet they do. Generations of men (for, sadly, it is often men in this unenviable position) have had to spend hours pretending to walk the dog or plant seedlings in the potting shed simply in order to have a wank in peace.

Cuddles, I have been told, are important. Affection. The occasional foot massage. These, apparently, go a long way to subduing the raging torrents of passion that yearn to be unleashed in a sexual frenzy. Perhaps they do. I am unconvinced. If all you require from a partner is comfortable companionship, unquestioning loyalty and non sexual affection then really you should be looking for a dog, not a spouse.


Ro said...

My relationships haven't been marked by mismatches at the outset but one in particular saw a mismatch develop over time.

I must admit, I thought that it was me being unreasonable for the longest time. I also convinced myself that it was because I was a poor lover. It took me a long time, even once we were divorced, to realise that it was simply a mismatch of sexual drives.

It also took me a long, long time to realise that it wasn't just me that was in this situation.

Tom Allen said...

Just a wank? I'm think in g of a friend of mine, who's wife hit menopause around 45 or 50, and announced that she was no longer interested in sex. At all. Ever. Not even to keep him happy.

To outward appearances, they have a great marriage - 2 kids, a vacation home in the hills, they attend parties and functions, and both are popular in their community. He won't leave her because - except for that one ting - they have a good relationship. But he's frustrated that she won't seek counseling. She claimed that it's not a problem for her, it's just a medical fact, and if he loved her, he'd understand.

After 5 years, he had an affair. And then another. And then another. This has gone on for 25 or 30 years now, and while it's not what he'd prefer to do, he believes that it's the only way for him to not jump off a bridge.

Some Chilean Woman said...

My ex husband could not keep up with me. I wish I would have known that before I married him...Mormons do it the wrong way I tell ya.

PS -I'm no longer a Mormon, but I think you figured that one out.

Desmo said...

Very good analogy. When Mrs Desmo and I get out of synch (it happens during the course of 20+ years of marriage), its Tuscany or Provence to set things right.

Jean-Christophe Novelli said it best when to him sex and food were the only things he could think of that involved all five senses. Then again I am a follower of the slow food movement. Both pleasures take preparation and time to enjoy , savour and reflect.

I truly believe that if there is a meeting of the minds, the bodies will soon follow. The problem for many is that it takes openess and effort-qualities in short supply in an instant gratification society.

Tanti Auguri

PS Love the blog working my way forward from the beginning-as fast as I can, but I'm slow(wink).

Desmo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Re, the last line.

Some of us blokes get both at once.

Just sayin....

(Ducks for cover)

Anonymous said...

before we married she had group sex with me, organised sex parties, went shopping for toys, came to naked blindfolded parties, she loved anal, women, swapping, piss games, she was confident, she would drop to the floor and give me a random blow job much as I would suddenly eat her out a few ties a week.

In her late 20's her drive started to slow down. Extra marital stuff petered out.

She started to say no.

In her early 30's she only rarely said yes, then it was to lie there, uninterested. she has not taken me in her mouth or initiated anything in 5 or more years.

In all other ways I would say that our marriage is good but she gets cross and depressed and shuts down if I try and talk about sex.
What happened? kids? busy professional lives?

I have recently told her that it's killing me. I was always incredibly sexual and the status-quo is not on. I will be looking outside the marriage for sex if it is not available within. I feel loved, but not wanted. She can help me select escorts, sift through internet adult sites, pick up in the usual joints, reengage with the swingers community whatever, it is not something I want to do alone but I will have engaging fantastic sex at least a few times a month. She thought about it and has told me she does not want to be involved in 'that'. Is that permition? a blessing?
I'm under 40
Hornier than I have ever been
frustrated to the point I will put the marriage aside if that is the only way.
Is this an extreme case?
I would love to here from women who have flagging sex drives and partners who are still driven and try to understand their perspective.
My wife wont even talk about it.

Carnalis said...

Then there are the marriages where there is sex, but no affection. See .. we are different species.

EmmaK said... it is not always the women who go off sex. A friend of mine who is married to an idiot who even when they were dating would play Mario Brothers in bed instead of having sex with her ...well I have no idea why she stays with him, he very rarely wants to have sex and she is gagging for it. Also the dog, Spot sleeps with them. The other day she said, "Quite a turn up for the books, John woke me up in the middle of the night with his tongue up my arse", to which I replied, "Are you sure it wasn't Spot?"

Kimberly said...

So, so true. I don't understand why people insist on maintaining sexual ownership of their spouce if they are not interested in being sexual with them.

Luka said...

Ro - I don't think you're alone. I have spoken to several people who thought they were poor lovers until they finally got it together with someone else.

Tom - such a sad situation. Yes, of course many people end up having affairs in order to fulfill their needs. And that's not just the physical release of sex, but often just that intimacy which has been missing for so long.

Some Chilean Woman - Wow, you are full of surprises! Mind you, I always suspected you were a passionate woman.

Desmo - hello! Yes, it can take a great deal of patience, understanding and effort to make it through the desert stretches in marriage. If the sex used to flow freely in the early days of a relationship then surely it should be possible to reignite those passions in time if both parties are willing to try.

Glad you like the blog!

Anonymous 1 - you scamp!

Anonymous 2 - I don't think yours is a particularly extreme case. Sometimes there is a physical reason for women avoiding sex - it might be that they find it uncomfortable or painful and then fear of pain or discomfort makes it more likely to be so the next time they try, so it becomes easier to avoid it altogether. It's a shame your wife won't talk to you about it. Communication solves so many problems and at least you would be closer to understanding how this change in libido has come about.

Carnalis - ah, the old adage "women come to sex through love while men come to love through sex"...

Emma - Did you advise her to smell their respective breaths in the morning for reassurance?

Kimberly - it's insecurity, I think. I suppose some people may well worry that if they allow their partners to have sex with someone else they might fall in love and leave them. The irony being, of course, that their partners often end up sleeping with someone else anyway with the illicit nature of the secret affair making it all far more attractive than it would be if it were all open and above board.

Jackie Adshead said...

Perhaps this is all normal? Perhaps sex isn't made to last? Perhaps we're only interested in sex when its new and exciting? I wonder how many long term partners have a brilliant and exciting sex life?

Is this sad? Or are we all searching for something that doesn't actually exist?

Anonymous said...

I've had it go both ways. But since I'm single now I'm, erm, what's the phrase? Ah, yes. Gagging for it.

Should I find someone to cuddle with again, I shall bear your comments in mind...

Luka said...

Jackie - I think many people find themselves searching for the initial rush. It is a heady cocktail of hormones, first lust, and it is supposed to be, to ensure all that DNA gets spread about as widely as possible. The frenzied first phase is ultimately unsustainable, or we would all spawn ourselves to death, like salmon.

However, it *is* possible to still have brilliant sex after many years of togetherness. This I can assert with confidence having been with my beloved for 25 years now. I may share my personal top tips in a separate post.

Famulus - I think for any couple desire will wax and wane over the years. Temporary blips can be worked through. It's when it becomes permanent with compulsory abstinence for both parties that it is real problem.

Let us hope you find someone to frolic with soon!

Heff said...

Interesting post, but I'm getting plenty, so I really can't offer a quality comment for this post, thank God...

Luka said...

Heff - I am very pleased to hear it!