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Subject: Lack of sex in a relationship rss

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Chad Ellis
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Some of you may have heard about the guy who put together a spreadsheet of his wife's responses when he initiated sex -- three "yes" and then a long variety of reasons for saying no. He apparently emailed it to her with a petulant message that he wouldn't miss her much while she was gone.

I think most people will agree that his was a bit of a dick move -- at best it can be viewed as lashing out at a frustrating situation. Maybe he's tried to talk about it with her before, maybe not. But a more interesting question is the extent to which a partner who isn't getting sex, or is getting much less sex than he or she wants, has a legitimate beef.

On the, "No, get over it" side of things, here is an article asserting that wives don't owe their husbands sex:

Quote:
There are a lot of reasons not to send one’s wife a spreadsheet detailing all the times she’s practiced sexual rejection over a six-week period, especially if it’s done in an effort to convince her to have sex ever again. First of all, it’s childish and passive-aggressive; second, it’s likely to end up posted somewhere on the Internet, as one man recently learned when his wife posted his three-column sex-tracker on Reddit. The story quickly went viral, with countless commenters across the Web sharing their thoughts on the man’s “immature, inflammatory” method of telling his wife that he wasn’t sexually satisfied — but there were also plenty of people berating the woman for failing to perform her “wifely duties” whenever her husband wanted her to.

That gets us to that third, key reason not to offer a list of sexual grievances in spreadsheet form: It’s not evidence of righteous indignation, just a portrait of warped marital expectations. To reiterate what’s already been said and cannot be said enough, women do not owe men sex. While many couples might determine that sex is a reasonable expectation of both parties within a marriage, it’s not an expectation that applies to every relationship, nor is it one to be enforced for women alone. A woman’s lack of intercourse is not a failure to meet her obligations, but rather a sign that there might be some other, deeper problem that needs to be addressed — like the strains of everyday adult life, as Holly Baxter points out at the Guardian:

Problems such as a partner’s declining sex drive should never be met with punishment. Nobody gleefully denies sex for kicks; instead, their libido diminishes because of workload or emotional issues, or a communicative breakdown in the marriage. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the latter is the problem of the husband and wife whose troubles in the bedroom were spread across the global media this morning. Just a hunch.


While I think that the author makes some good points -- for example, a couple in which one partner has lost libido should look at root causes for the change -- I'm going to argue something pretty close to the contrary of her position.

For me, it's not that anyone owes anyone sex. Someone always has the right to say no, and this includes a married person saying no on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. But that's beside the point. The question isn't whether sex is owed but whether sex is a legitimate need, such that if one partner is refusing sex the other partner can and should legitimately question staying in the relationship.

I think the answer is a pretty clear yes. Sex may not be important for everyone but for many people it is very important -- not merely as a source of pleasure but as a core component of intimacy. For those people (and I'm one of them) a sexless marriage simply isn't sustainable. Their spouse doesn't owe them sex but neither do they owe their spouse celibacy. How to deal with this will, of course, vary from couple to couple and person to person. Some might simply make a personal sacrifice (either having sex without wanting to or accepting celibacy) out of a wish to sustain the marriage. Others might open the marriage. Others might end it. But in any case "I don't owe you sex" is no more the point than "I don't owe you affection" or "I don't owe you quality time" or "I don't owe you communication". It's not about what one person owes the other but about what both spouses need in order to have a healthy and happy marriage. If either spouse's needs aren't being met then that's a problem and "I don't owe you that" is as shitty an answer as, "Here's a spreadsheet of how often you turn me down; have a nice trip."
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jeremy cobert
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If you are not having enough sex, it's usually because you are doing something wrong.
 
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One partner is free to deny sex, that's their choice. But if sex is important to the other partner, then that, just like anything else, will build up animosity and resentment. If sex is unimportant to both partners then it won't matter. But obviously in this case the sex is important to that guy and it is not receiving the attention he feels it deserves so it's gonna blow up, in the form of... spreadsheets, apparently.

Uh oh, I feel a pun coming on.

Not spreading the right sheets, mate.

Now I feel better.
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Mac Mcleod
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Amen.
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I'm with Chad in the "intimacy is a foundation for any good relationship" column. Where we depart is that I think the spreadsheet was genius. Trust me, the only reason the guy did that was that she acted like a bitch when he tried to solve the issue.

If he wasn't appealing to her any longer then the person of good character would have discussed it in an adult manner and either helped fix/overcome the problem or end the relationship because it no longer worked. Or, do up a spreadsheet and mail it to him.
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The lack of or too much of sex in a relationship is a marital problem that both parties need to compromise on to solve. IE, the problem is not a man problem or a woman problem, and when you say "You want sex and I don't - that's your problem" you're already in a bad place with your relationship.

Or "I want sex and you don't, that's your problem" is also bad. It's both of your problems. It's a relationship, not a unilateral whatever-I-want-a-thon.
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While I think it is fine to say "no" on occasion, feeling sick or tired or just not in the mood at the moment is a valid thing... However Sex is an integral part of the Marriage covenant and spouses do owe each other sex.

While they both need to come to an understanding of what those expectations are... which might include compromise on both sides, just cutting somebody off or letting a situation develop were one spouse routinely suffers for weeks or months without relief is not an acceptable situation IMO.

And the bible backs me up on this*.

1Cor 7:3-4 (NRS)
Quote:
The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.



*Yes! I beat Jay to the bible reference this time and was the one who brought R into the discussion. He must be on vacation or something.

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Chad Ellis
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DWTripp wrote:
I'm with Chad in the "intimacy is a foundation for any good relationship" column. Where we depart is that I think the spreadsheet was genius. Trust me, the only reason the guy did that was that she acted like a bitch when he tried to solve the issue.


I've mediated too many conflicts to think we can tell who did what leading up to this. But how is it genius? What goal is it likely to achieve?

I think keeping track of something -- whether it's sex, chores or anything where people disagree on what's actually happening -- can be very useful. If he's complained that they're only rarely having sex and that she's always turning him down and her view is that their having sex once or twice a week and that she almost never turns him down then a list can be useful for that conversation. But sending it via email as she's leaving on a trip along with (IIRC) a message saying he won't miss her is only genius if his goal is to vent along the way to ending the relationship.
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Jythier wrote:
Jay post



laughlaughlaughlaugh

Or Not on vacation... but I still got the Bible verse in first.



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Meerkat wrote:
Jythier wrote:
Jay post



laughlaughlaughlaugh

Or Not on vacation... but I still got the Bible verse in first.





When reading that verse you need to remember that the verse is talking to you - you need to give your body. If you're doing that, you're good.

It is not meant to be a cudgel to hit your partner on the head with to make your partner do what you want. Ultimately it's between your partner and God whether they obey that, not between you and your partner, and putting yourself into that place is a horrible thing to do.
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
I'm with Chad in the "intimacy is a foundation for any good relationship" column. Where we depart is that I think the spreadsheet was genius. Trust me, the only reason the guy did that was that she acted like a bitch when he tried to solve the issue.


I've mediated too many conflicts to think we can tell who did what leading up to this. But how is it genius? What goal is it likely to achieve?

I think keeping track of something -- whether it's sex, chores or anything where people disagree on what's actually happening -- can be very useful. If he's complained that they're only rarely having sex and that she's always turning him down and her view is that their having sex once or twice a week and that she almost never turns him down then a list can be useful for that conversation. But sending it via email as she's leaving on a trip along with (IIRC) a message saying he won't miss her is only genius if his goal is to vent along the way to ending the relationship.


Well.. if she only said yes 3 times, it doesn't even sound monthly.

She doesn't owe him sex. He doesn't owe her marriage.

He should divorce before he cheats tho. He could also approach her about an open relationship.

I see this more as I get older. Couples where one has lost the desire for sex who agree to the other partner having sex outside of the marriage. It seems 50/50 gender wise.
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
I'm with Chad in the "intimacy is a foundation for any good relationship" column. Where we depart is that I think the spreadsheet was genius. Trust me, the only reason the guy did that was that she acted like a bitch when he tried to solve the issue.


I've mediated too many conflicts to think we can tell who did what leading up to this. But how is it genius? What goal is it likely to achieve?

I think keeping track of something -- whether it's sex, chores or anything where people disagree on what's actually happening -- can be very useful. If he's complained that they're only rarely having sex and that she's always turning him down and her view is that their having sex once or twice a week and that she almost never turns him down then a list can be useful for that conversation. But sending it via email as she's leaving on a trip along with (IIRC) a message saying he won't miss her is only genius if his goal is to vent along the way to ending the relationship.


I agree. Especially if you seek permission to keep track first.

"Look, these things aren't happening the way you think they are. I'm going to keep track of it for a month and at the end of a month, we can look at it together and we'll at least know the truth of what's going on if nothing else."

"Okay and I'll keep a spreadsheet on how often you do the dishes."

"Dangit."
 
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Chad Ellis
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maxo-texas wrote:
Well.. if she only said yes 3 times, it doesn't even sound monthly.


I think the spreadsheet covered seven weeks, so three times would be more than once a month but less than twice a month.

Quote:
She doesn't owe him sex. He doesn't owe her marriage.

He should divorce before he cheats tho. He could also approach her about an open relationship.


There are lots of options they can explore if they're both willing. If she isn't then he has to decide for himself.

My wife's ex-girlfriend reached a point where her marriage was sexless, despite her ongoing interest. She sat down with her wife and explained that she wasn't going to live a sexless life -- that her first choice was to have sex with her wife but that if her wife wasn't going to do that then she was going to look elsewhere. Fortunately they worked it out and from what little I've heard seem to have had a big improvement in that area.

Quote:
I see this more as I get older. Couples where one has lost the desire for sex who agree to the other partner having sex outside of the marriage. It seems 50/50 gender wise.


The data I've seen isn't 50/50 but it's certainly not always the man who wants sex and the woman whose libido has shrunk or vanished. (And, of course, in couples like the one above there isn't one man and one woman.) But for those who can accept it, sex outside the marriage can be a viable option.
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The spreadsheet sounds like a pretty childish way to handle the situation.

Nobody owes anyone sex, but don't be surprised if your significant other leaves you or finds sex elsewhere.
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Jythier wrote:
The lack of or too much of sex in a relationship is a marital problem that both parties need to compromise on to solve. IE, the problem is not a man problem or a woman problem, and when you say "You want sex and I don't - that's your problem" you're already in a bad place with your relationship.

Or "I want sex and you don't, that's your problem" is also bad. It's both of your problems. It's a relationship, not a unilateral whatever-I-want-a-thon.


I know as a general rule I want to play board games a lot more often than my partner does. The main ways to deal with this are:

1) I could play board games with someone else
2) I can play a solitaire variant, maybe against an AI.
3) She can play occasional board games she's not really interested in.
4) (often concurrent with 3) I can accept that I won't get to game very often, even if I really want to.

Clearly I think in terms of board games, option 1 is best, option 2 is acceptable now and then but ultimately unsatisfying for me as what I like about boardgaming is the human interaction, and options 3 and 4 while bearing the hallmarks of a compromise, seems likely to set off a vicious spiral where we play games and have less fun because she didn't really want to play in the first place. Gaming with other friends, or getting a gaming group together, is clearly the best option in this case.

Sex is a little different, at least insofar as a majority of people would be vehemently opposed to option 1. I think a mix of the rest of the options ends up being the default, but I fear that the nature of option 3 remains a vicious spiral, and option 4 tends to be tough to accept for people since sex is even more addictive/enticing/popular than gaming.
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Jythier wrote:


It is not meant to be a cudgel to hit your partner on the head with to make your partner do what you want. Ultimately it's between your partner and God whether they obey that, not between you and your partner, and putting yourself into that place is a horrible thing to do.


While I agree it isn't a cudgel to use on another, in reality NONE of the bible should be used that way IMO, it is a bit of wisdom that both partners in a Christian marriage should be aware of.

I know I have argued with several people in the past who assert they should never feel obligated to get into the mood for their partner. And I could not disagree with them more.

Sex is a NEED for most people and if you aren't meeting it for you mate, eventually you put them into a place where they are in a sinful no-win situation. They either cheat on you or divorce you or grow to resent you so badly they might as well divorce you.

I had one friend once who denied her husband to the point that he started using hookers about once a month to get something. When she found out she was hurt and felt betrayed. Then kicked him out of the house and because he was a good guy and loved his kids and her and didn't believe in divorce ... he went into intensive counseling and after two years of celibacy and couples therapy she finally let him back into the house but still made him sleep in another room because she couldn't get over his "cheating" and still wouldn't have sex with him. I have no idea how many more years she made him wait because I moved away before she let him back into her bed.

Personally I think she violated the marriage vows just as fundamentally if not more so than he did. Her type of sin just isn't as talked about. But how can you claim to love somebody and be committed to a life with them and leave them in routine agony?

Christ tells us that if a person, even a stranger, asks us to walk a mile with them we should volunteer to walk two. If they ask for your coat you should offer your shirt as well.

If we are called to selflessly love even strangers, even to the point of potential physical discomfort, walking two miles coat and shirtless, ... how can we leave our family and/or our life partner in unrelenting physical need, which leaves them vulnerable to strong temptations to sin, and not be violating our commitment to Christ?

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So, to get down to it, how do you approach this situation Biblically, in your relationship?

If you believe your wife is sinning, you need to confront her about it (using my own perspective here) and in a non-sexually charged situation, try to find out what's going on, why it's happening, and if there is anything you are doing wrong to cause it specifically. If there is something she thinks you need to change, evaluate and change if necessary. You may also get a second opinion from a trusted friend or pastor here. If it's not you, then it's something else, but you should gently and lovingly remind her how much that part of your relationship means to you and how important it is. Make sure to note how important other parts of your relationship are too.

This may or may not work. A lot of times just talking about it helps. Sometimes it doesn't. If it doesn't, you're out of luck. You're married. You love her. Put her above yourself. She is more important than you. Prepare for lifetime of no sex. Get counseling from an outside party. Guess what, even if the outside party agrees with you she may still not give you sex. I can't imagine this relationship anymore, but apparently it exists? But honestly I can't fathom this relationship where one person is that selfish on an issue without there being some other cause that relates to the relationship as a whole that could be solved if identified.
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
I'm with Chad in the "intimacy is a foundation for any good relationship" column. Where we depart is that I think the spreadsheet was genius. Trust me, the only reason the guy did that was that she acted like a bitch when he tried to solve the issue.


I've mediated too many conflicts to think we can tell who did what leading up to this. But how is it genius? What goal is it likely to achieve?

I think keeping track of something -- whether it's sex, chores or anything where people disagree on what's actually happening -- can be very useful. If he's complained that they're only rarely having sex and that she's always turning him down and her view is that their having sex once or twice a week and that she almost never turns him down then a list can be useful for that conversation. But sending it via email as she's leaving on a trip along with (IIRC) a message saying he won't miss her is only genius if his goal is to vent along the way to ending the relationship.


I was partly joking. But only partly.

My experience is that women are more likely to ramp up strife in a relationship than men. It's the nature of the beast - men are more blunt, women more cutting and catty. They also, more so than men, tend to manipulate events and words into a tool to further bludgeon their current partner with.

Sorry gals, but you know it's true even if you'd never admit it. And you won't admit it.

Mediation is also geared to adapt a man to a woman's perspective. That's just a fact. Mediators, male and female, tend to have training that leads them to attempt to unravel emotional problems in a relationship by pulling almost primarily on the strings dangling from the male.

The whole 'ultimatum' thing is also a bogus decoy used most often by the woman to further aggravate or attempt to suborn the man's will to conform to her view. I once had a live-in relationship with a woman who had three sweet daughters. She had a part time evening job and as time passed she began to take advantage of my basic good nature by joining a ladies pool league and staying out late a couple nights a week with several women who were crazy-bad people in many ways. One night when she arrived at midnight after having not even bothered to call me and ask if I'd see to her daughter's dinner and such, I stopped her and demanded we settle the problem before it happened again.

During the discussion I told her that I did not like the two ladies, their morality and basic dishonesty was not something I wanted in my life. She looked at me and said are you handing me an ultimatum? I said I wasn't, but that I had decided that night, after once again being used, that I wasn't going to have them involved in any single aspect of my life. She blew up because she saw that as me demanding she abandon her friends.

What she refused to discuss was how she had abandoned her daughters and abused my basic good nature by running with loose friends who drank to excess and hung out with married men on the prowl. I was amazed by the tunnel vision and surprised that it happened so quickly and that it was immediately edited into a narrative that portrayed me as a controlling asshole who wanted to control who she hung out with.

She literally, that night, woke her kids up at 1 am and drug them 20 miles to stay at one of the drunken friend's house and then, after a week, all of them moved into her mom's house.

I love that story because it is a dramatic example of how I see many relationships being controlled by the woman. Cheating husbands and wives aside, men who hit aside, most relationships tend to have less sex in them than the man would usually prefer and the subject is so volatile with her and she takes it so wrongly in most cases that the man usually has to decide if he wants the relationship, or sex.

Studies on how much sex occurs after differing numbers of years bear me out on this. Men give up. Many of them. Women, many of them, understand when they have the reins and often no longer even pretend to be alluring.

So yes, in that light, the spreadsheet was fucking genius.
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Osirus wrote:
Jythier wrote:
The lack of or too much of sex in a relationship is a marital problem that both parties need to compromise on to solve. IE, the problem is not a man problem or a woman problem, and when you say "You want sex and I don't - that's your problem" you're already in a bad place with your relationship.

Or "I want sex and you don't, that's your problem" is also bad. It's both of your problems. It's a relationship, not a unilateral whatever-I-want-a-thon.


I know as a general rule I want to play board games a lot more often than my partner does. The main ways to deal with this are:

1) I could play board games with someone else
2) I can play a solitaire variant, maybe against an AI.
3) She can play occasional board games she's not really interested in.
4) (often concurrent with 3) I can accept that I won't get to game very often, even if I really want to.

Clearly I think in terms of board games, option 1 is best, option 2 is acceptable now and then but ultimately unsatisfying for me as what I like about boardgaming is the human interaction, and options 3 and 4 while bearing the hallmarks of a compromise, seems likely to set off a vicious spiral where we play games and have less fun because she didn't really want to play in the first place. Gaming with other friends, or getting a gaming group together, is clearly the best option in this case.

Sex is a little different, at least insofar as a majority of people would be vehemently opposed to option 1. I think a mix of the rest of the options ends up being the default, but I fear that the nature of option 3 remains a vicious spiral, and option 4 tends to be tough to accept for people since sex is even more addictive/enticing/popular than gaming.


At least the solo option normally takes a fraction of the time.
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Of course she was in the wrong, but that doesn't excuse what he did, does it? Sin sucks. You know she's accountable for causing her husband for stumbling over and above her own sin of disobeying God's command in that way. That's not a good place to be in. Yeah, realism says things are going to happen that aren't right due to this sin affecting me, but even so I'm still responsible for what I do. Unfortunately.
 
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I think a lot of people lose sight in these conversations that I often talk about good and bad but that as much as I want to do good all the time, I certainly do not achieve that goal 100% of the time.
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DWTripp wrote:

My experience is that women are more likely to ramp up strife in a relationship than men. It's the nature of the beast - men are more blunt, women more cutting and catty. They also, more so than men, tend to manipulate events and words into a tool to further bludgeon their current partner with.

Sorry gals, but you know it's true even if you'd never admit it. And you won't admit it.


BULLSHIT

And I flat out deny that this is true. Some men are more blunt about what THEY WANT but but then zoning out and ignoring what your partner says to you about what SHE WANTS is just as much ramping up strife as anything women do.

What men do may often be different, but it is NOT less strife producing.

And this goes far beyond just sex.
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Meerkat wrote:
Jythier wrote:


It is not meant to be a cudgel to hit your partner on the head with to make your partner do what you want. Ultimately it's between your partner and God whether they obey that, not between you and your partner, and putting yourself into that place is a horrible thing to do.


While I agree it isn't a cudgel to use on another, in reality NONE of the bible should be used that way IMO, it is a bit of wisdom that both partners in a Christian marriage should be aware of.


That's pretty much everything in the Bible - it's never a cudgel, always something we should use, and be aware of ourselves... and if everyone was aware of it and using it the world would be perfect. It's when one of us gets away from it that things get screwed up, but there's always a way to react perfectly. It's just... DIFFICULT. Hard. Simple to understand, normally, but hard to do.
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Meerkat wrote:
DWTripp wrote:

My experience is that women are more likely to ramp up strife in a relationship than men. It's the nature of the beast - men are more blunt, women more cutting and catty. They also, more so than men, tend to manipulate events and words into a tool to further bludgeon their current partner with.

Sorry gals, but you know it's true even if you'd never admit it. And you won't admit it.


BULLSHIT

And I flat out deny that this is true.




Of course you do. I already said you would.
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Osirus wrote:
I know as a general rule I want to play board games a lot more often than my partner does.


I like the board game analogy, but it does fail in one key (for me at least) way.

My wife is a non-gamer. She will occasionally play a game because our girls like games or for some social reason but she would happily live her life without ever playing a game.

For me this is a negative in the sense that it would be great if it were a shared hobby but not a big deal for two reasons. First, board gaming, while something I prefer to do with friends, isn't a core part of relationship intimacy. Second, although certainly related to the first, gaming with people other than my wife doesn't hold any issues for either of us.

The same isn't true for sex. If my wife and I stopped having sex I strongly suspect it would damage the intimacy that's at the heart of our marriage. Having an outside sexual partner wouldn't address that. Moreover, having an outside partner would both be a threat to my wife and would at best be emotionally complicated for me.
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