Q: My husband sails for most of the year and is rarely home. I have learnt to live without him; to be a single parent and to pleasure myself sexually, and I am quite independent. He is a good provider and a lovely person, but I just can’t feel intimate with him when he comes home. I can’t match his excitement in sex and I do it like a chore. He recently noticed my lack of participation and was disturbed. He attributed it to me having someone in my life and does not understand that I have my own self-pleasuring life. I want to either help him gracefully accept me as his wife other than sex, or help myself match his excitement in partner sex. Please help.
Ans: A mismatch of excitement levels while engaging in partner sex is a common concern for many couples. It’s important to remember that one’s libido isn’t designed to be a score-keeping exercise. Every human being and couple is different. Unfortunately, human beings like to confer titles, allocate numbers and designate scales to classify and demarcate how well they are doing in life’s various endeavours.
This can sometimes become a tiring exercise. Your marriage isn’t a swimming competition where the fastest laps count. You need not match his excitement levels. However, it would be worth exploring new ways to rekindle that lost sexual and emotional bond that you probably once had with him — if both of you make the effort to spice things up in the bedroom and listen to each other’s needs.
Sex can often become a mutual-masturbation exercise when it becomes less about love and care, and is reduced to just the push and pull logistics of it all. Your self-dependence while pleasuring yourself is understandable given the fact that your husband is away for extended periods of time. This also means that you do in fact have sexual needs that aren't getting met. It is crucial for him to understand that your lack of contact with him is adversely affecting the sexual relationship and possibly even the emotional bond you two share.
You need to discuss the matter with him in a practical manner so as to not come across like you are ‘complaining to him’. His physical needs may not be getting met when he’s out at sea and the build-up can understandably lead to a lot of pent up sexual energy that he'd typically like to release in the private company of his wife. His suspicions about someone being in your life are an assumption based on mistrust.
One would wonder why he has these pressing trust issues in the first place. Has he been let down by women before? Does he suffer from low self esteem? What’s his relationship with other significant women in his life like — congenial or caustic? Have you ever admitted to being attracted to other men and does that add to his insecurities about you? Is there a history of infidelity in the relationship? Is he guilty for how long he has to be away from you due to the nature of his job? Does he have a bias against women? Is he worried about his sexual capabilities? The answers to these questions are likely to reveal a fair deal about how he thinks and what he expects from you.
Your self-pleasuring life is a private matter, but if you think it’s capable of eroding the sexual relationship you share with your husband then it might be a good idea to bring him on board so you can assess ways to pleasure each other sexually.
Additionally, a visit to a sex therapist will help you perhaps shed any awkwardness, irritation and confusion that may be shackling the relationship.
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