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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1153
Experience:  Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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After months and months of talking, and almost getting divorced,

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After months and months of talking, and almost getting divorced, I think we are finally figuring out what our problem is. I found out last night that my wife "doesn't like doing something if she knows i want it". My wife loved sex when we met, and as we moved in together, her libido dropped. Marriage, it got worse.
In the last few months I noticed that if I made any indication that i would like to have sex, she would cool off. This last weekend our kids were away, which i thought was a great opportunity to light some candles, get out the massage oil... and she ended up wanting to watch movies. I remembered though, a time not too long ago, where our kids were away for the night, and I had thought that she was tired and not feeling well, so I never said anything about sex at all. 10pm rolls around, and I notice she is acting oddly, her body language is just... odd. I don't know how I knew, but i realized she wanted to have sex. It is extremely hard to get her to just come out and say she wants sex, and she will not say anythinga bout what she wants out of sex.
I also realized she would back off any time i talked about wanting more in the bedroom, so last night I mentioned something very, very simple, and i asked her if I could write down 3 things that were very simple and she could pick one, or none of them, and then at any point she felt like doing that, even if it took months, we could do it, when SHE was ready, and wanted it. While talking to her I tried to think of something very very easy, so I said 'what if i used my hand to get you to orgasm, and just when you had an orgasm, you said 'i love you'. That would be very sexy.' Her response was to ask if it would take the rush and fun out of it, by having me ask her for it. My thinking is... yeah, ideally, in a perfect world, id love for her to just do everything i would like, and not have to ask her. But life is not perfect, so why not ask the other one for things we like? Then she said that she didn't know why, but if she did something because I asked her to, she didn't like it.
This same woman, 10 years ago, rode me cowgirl while masturbating herself, al though admittedly she was drunk. I have pointed out to her that being drunk doesnt make her do things she doesnt want to do, it lets her do things she would like to do, but otherwise wont, for whatever reason. So i feel she has a wild side in her, like we all do, but she will not say what she wants, but she also will not do things if I ask for them. A perfect recipe for disaster. I recently found out that i made a mistake early on in our relationship. I asked her one night if she 'liked it slow', and she said yes. We ended up just having sex in a more slow and passionate way for the rest of our relationship, but recently i told her that someetimes I would like to just get a little wild, more energetic. When I asked if she sometimes liked that, she said yes. But... she never said anything, over 11 years. She will not say anything she likes. When i asked her how I should find out if she is in the mood for more 'energetic' sex, she said i should ask her. But it appears if I just DID it, which would probably more MORE of a turn on for most women, and she feels that I am just being selfish, she will be turned off. So she wont say what she wants on her own, and i doubt she would be much more open by me asking (she wont discuss fantasies and gets embarrassed by any sex talk), but if I take the lead and be a typical man, she balks and doesnt want sex. I personally think this is tied to her problems with her dad, they used to physically fight when she was younger, and even now, at almost 40, she isnt comfortable being around him very much.
She also doesnt want to see a counselor, because she isnt open to talking about herself. We have made a lot of headway in the last 6 months, but I feel this issue, where she feels pressured, is what has caused our sexual problems. She has told me that every relationship she ever had, she was into sex at first, but then as the relationship went on, her interest dropped. She thought it just had to do with things being more fun when realtionships are new, I think there is something else going on here. At 38 years old, she cant communicate about ANYTHING she wants in the bedroom, and if i make one statement asking if she will have her period on a saturday, because i would like to give her a massage... she ends up completely not wanting sex that night. Any advice is appreciated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.

Dr. L :

I can understand how frustrating and even upsetting this situation is for you. In a way, its like your wife can't make up her mind what she wants and that gets you absolutely no where. I think that taking sex off the table for a month is likely a good thing as it will take the pressure off both of you and give you the opportunity to get close without that in the way. Learning (or re-learning) intimacy without sex is a good exercise in how to listen to each other and how to read the other person's non-verbal responses to touch.

Dr. L :

Sex is Fun

Dr. L :

There is a very good book that I want to suggest as an aide during this "trial" period. It is:

Dr. L :

This is more of a workbook - with funny drawings and such. It is absolutely non-threatening. The point is to break-down the barriers that tend to keep couples from talking about sex - what they like and what they don't like.

Dr. L :

I do think you are on to something when you talk about her relationship with her dad. It would seem to me that she has a blue-print in her mind of what it is to be a man and that blue-print is frightening and unsettling. She does not feel "safe" around her dad due to the physical incidents. There might also have been verbal fighting. In any case, she seems to have developed a fear of men and she is painting you with the same brush. Do you understand my point here?

Dr. L :

It would be good if she would see a therapist to work on these father issues...but from what you write she isn't willing to do that. So..that leaves you in the position of trying to help her understand her past and how that past is influencing your relationship.

Dr. L :

I would like to say that if she is uncomfortable around her dad..she should be empowered to stay away from him...or only be with him when she feels adequately supported to handle those encounters.

Dr. L :

Meanwhile...she seems ambivalent about sex. And this 1 month trial does seem like a good step in giving both of you to explore intimacy on a different level. Please consider getting the Sex is Fun book as a way to support the current plan and to open the door to actually being able to talk about sexual pleasuring.

Dr. L :

*like a good step in giving both of you the opportunity to explore intimacy on a different level.

Dr. L :

You are right that pressure is a big part of what has happened here. Another part is not having a voice. That lack of voice came from a dad that over-powered her and the picture she formed of male dominance. What she needs to experience with you is that you are not her dad, you are not that old blue-print and that she does have a voice in your life and, in this case, in what happens in your bedroom.

Dr. L :

I await your response.

Dr. L :

Thank you.

Customer:

I will buy that book thanks. My big fear is that this is caused by some sexual abuse that she has repressed, or was just young enough that she has forgotten it. Are there signs I should look for? Also, is it possible to sort out problems like this on our own, or is it only really possible by seeing a therapist together? lastly, how do I let her experience with me that I am not her dad, and the old blue print? We have been together 12 years, wouldnt this have happened? Or do you mean by not pressuring her for sex, so she feels she has no say or 'voice' in what goes on?

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

Thank you for your response.

Dr. L :

Let me address your questions:

Dr. L :

Sexual abuse - the possibility exists that she was touched inappropriately but with a 12 year marriage it likely would have come out by now. Still...at some point you could very gently ask that question. But I would not encourage you to ask that now..right now you are committed to the 30 day trial and I would let that unfold before bringing up a new question.

Dr. L :

Signs to look for: fear of being touched, exaggerated startle response, night terrors, hyperarousal.

Dr. L :

Therapist or on our own:

Dr. L :

Right now you have a new plan for addressing this issue. I would stick with that through the 30 days. If at that end of the period, there has been no change no improvement, then I would ask her if she would be willing to consider therapy.

Dr. L :

Not her dad/not that old blueprint: this is were a conversation/discussion needs to occur. And no...wouldn't this have happened. The "imprint" she had in her family of origin occurred during her formative years...those messages do not disappear in adulthood. It is unlikely that she even realizes that this blue-print exists! Rather..she has been going about life with that blueprint, not realizing how toxic it was. We all have blueprints. You got a male and female blueprint from your parents and likely parts of those blueprints are not accurate either! So you may want to address this as: let's look at the blueprints we each received from our parents...let's see what parts are relevant and what parts need to be changed. That would be taking a proactive approach to this subject.

Dr. L :

No say/no voice: What I was suggesting was that her old blueprint gave "women" no say or no voice. So what has been occurring in your marriage is that she has felt that she had no say or no voice over what happened in the bedroom (and maybe in other parts of her life). The result was that she has responded with ambivalence to sexual intimacy. Once she can come to realize - and accept - that you want her to have a say and you want her to have a voice...then she can slowly begin to exercise those choices.

Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1153
Experience: Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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