Negotiating Desire: He Does The Dishes & Plays W/ the Kids, So Why Won’t His Wife Put Out More?

Normally, I would say that it’s inexplicable that some guy who needed advice with his relationship wrote to Slate of all places to get it, but given the beta problem that he has, I guess it makes a certain kind of sense.

My wife and I have been together for 15 years, and she’s been a great wife and mother to our three kids. But except for the very beginning, I’ve been dissatisfied with our love life. I told her early on that my ideal pattern is two activities a week. Doesn’t have to be full penetrative sex, although my preference is that we both finish. I like giving almost as much as receiving. I like variety and keeping it fresh. Three days after our last encounter, I want it and miss her. That feeling of missing her turns into anxiety in the days after that. We are nine days out right now, and it feels like a depression. We’ll hook up on Saturday and then the pattern will begin again. I don’t feel wanted. Her ideal pattern is once a week—on the weekend. Missionary only, and she groans but agrees to some foreplay. If we miss that once-a-week opportunity, there’s a small shot we’ll hook up on Monday. She has no interest in giving oral, manual stimulation, watching porn with me, or any physical contact when I take care of myself. I try to be a good husband and father. I provide for the family, I’m supportive, I cook, clean, play with the kids, and my quirks are minor. What can I do?

Of course, Slate being Slate, it primarily blamed him for the situation and warned him not to feel “entitled to sex,” as if anybody gets married so he can get locked into a “relationship” with no sex. In fact, when one partner doesn’t want to have sex and the other does, it can very well lead to an affair. Then it’s, “OMG, I can’t believe he’d do this to me,” as if the partner who refuses to have sex isn’t nearly as at fault as the one that cheats. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not excusing it and saying it’s okay under those circumstances, but yeah, I am saying the low libido is far from blameless.

Slate does suggest at least one partially useful thing which is a mismatch of libidos and yeah, that can happen. If you are insatiable and you get married to a “once per week is fine” kind of person, there can be an issue.