#46 Happy except for wife's sex problem / Blaming wife for my intercourse skills

Dear Annie: I am a 37-year-old man who has been happily married for two years, except for one thing—my sex life. When I first met “Stella,” my heart was taken. We agreed, however, to wait until we were married to have sex—a mistake I wish I could undo. I knew there was a problem on our wedding night.

How could someone be so in love only to discover there is no sexual chemistry? To compound the situation, Stella is a devout Catholic and feels divorce is not an option.

We have tried seeing a counselor, but you can't make chemistry appear by magic. Should I have an affair to quell my sexual desires and remain married? Or do I devastate her and end the marriage? TRAPPED IN COLORADO

Dear Trapped: Don't give up so quickly. Stella is inexperienced and possibly reluctant to show more passion. She could benefit from some education.

Talk to Stella about your sexual likes and dislikes, and encourage her to do the same. Check out some books on the subject. Rent some videos. Ask your counselor to refer you to a sex therapist, or send a self-addressed, stamped enveloped to the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT), P.O. Box 5488, Richmond VA 23220-0048. Good Luck —ANNIE

Note. URL no longer included here because it was incorrect or no longer working.

Gabby's Response:

[ top ]

Gabby’s Response:

Hi Trapped: Do you get that all lies and all truths have consequences? I'm referring to your use of the word "happily," which you immediately follow with "except . . . " I don't get happy. I do get “in love” however it was not created through open, honest, and spontaneous communication—zero thoughts withheld. It works to be precise and accurate when defining a problem. My guess is what would have been the truth is, “. . . for the most part I am enjoying my relationship and I experience several moments of happiness per day/week . . .”

It's not by accident that you used the word “feels” in “Stella . . . feels divorce is not an option.” Her's is not a feeling. It's a thought that has become a decision based on an agreement supported by the doctrine of her church. You were unconscious, running on auto-blame, when you wrote that sentence. You are not clear about the distinction between feelings and thoughts. This suggests that you're too busy thinking instead of feeling while having what you call sex.* You have yet to discover the difference between feeling and experiencing.

Are you sure “we” agreed? This may be a consequence for compromising your own belief system—for reasons. I'm betting it was her idea and you went along with it, all the while withholding from her the thought that you might be sorry for it later. Most engaged couples who opt for abstinence discuss what they'll do if they find out sex sucks—and thousands of similar conversations.** Such conversations themselves are essential and titillating foreplay, and coincidentally, ensure terrific sex.

Re: “I knew there was a problem on our wedding night.” Nope, your problem with intercourse began long before you met her. Your letter reveals you are pointing the finger in the wrong direction. It's called blame.  It's virtually impossible for someone addicted to blame to experience intercourse. They are stuck doing their imitation of sex which as you've noticed is less-than-satisfying. A blamer is too busy with all sorts of mind activities, they simply can't be.

You don't say whether you are comparing her with one or more former sex partners; if so, this demands impeccable integrity, zero thoughts withheld. You need to tell her, say, that your first GF had mastered oral sex.

You say you “tried” seeing a counselor. Your use of the word “tried” reveals that you were unconscioulsy intent on making sure the counselor also failed with you. We know this by the results your leadership-communication skills produced. Your use of the word “you” instead of “I” in, “. . . but you can't make chemistry appear by magic” reveals that you dragged Stella to counseling from the point of view that there must be something wrong with her.

Love is a by-product of communication. No matter what you think or believe you are not in-communication with your wife. You are withholding certain thoughts. Thoughts withheld, for reasons, serve as barriers to the experience of communication and therefore love. Love as a concept can be there but not as an experience.

For example: Did you tell her that you're so unsatisfied with her that you were going to write to a columnist? Have you told her that you're having thoughts about having an affair? I doubt it.

Notice that you removed yourself from the problem with the word "someone," as in "How could someone be so in love only . . ." You have no intention of discovering your cause in the matter. Ask yourself, "How could I have been so in love . . .?" "What is it about me and how I communicate that produces this result?"  and you'd get to the truth, that sex has nothing to do with love.

What will work is to tell a communication-skills coach, “I don't seem to be able to inspire my wife to want sexual intercourse. I'm obviously missing some intercourse skills,” in so doing you will get to the source of this problem you are creating.

That you ask about an “affair” suggests that part of the problem has to do with your integrity. For a person of integrity an affair is not an option, just as divorce is not an option for her. You could be experiencing the consequences of a premeditated perpetration. Once you commit yourself to honoring agreements life will begin to work differently.

Some partners don't know what keeps them from being turned on, they only know something is out, something is missing or added (withholds/non-verbalized thoughts). When one's integrity is out it serves as a barrier to intercourse.

Whether you leave or divorce her you'll still take your communication problem with you into the next relationship. Because of your addiction to being right you would probably create your new partner to be great in bed, so as to make Stella wrong, but have dissatisfactions with other communications.

I don't get that it's a problem for Stella. You made no mention of her going to a therapist alone so as to save her marriage. I suspect she thinks you're the one with the problem. Blamers always attract blamers. I don't get that she has a sense of how un-fulfilling the relationship is to you. If she knew you were entertaining ideas of a divorce and of having an affair she would know how bad the problem is. Then she could get the effects of her leadership-communication skills; she would know that there has been a breakdown in communication in the relationship.

One suggestion is to talk about this with your mom and then your dad, however, I suspect your relationship with them is incomplete; you have yet to learn how to communicate openly and honestly with them (your for-free therapists).  There are certain conversations you were supposed to have with each that you have yet to have. You are still back at age 15 when it comes to intercourse—too ashamed, too embarrassed, too proud and too arrogant to talk about sex with your mother and with your father. Once you've had your essential conversations with them you'll have disappeared dozens of barriers between you and your wife. If you approach your parents with the problem responsibly (don't allow them to blame Stella), then you can share those conversations with your wife, she'll share in the value.

Another option is to do the Relationship Communication-Skills Tutorial. But first, do The Clearing Process, then invite her to do it. Then together you can do The Clearing Process for Couples. The tutorial and the  processes are free.

Great question! Millions have the same problem. Thank you, Gabby

PS: Show her these replies.

* The way to disappear unwanted thoughts is to share them verbally.  It's called open, honest, and spontaneous communication. You might as well share them verbally because they are being communicated non-verbally anyway. She doesn't know what's being communicated just that it's confusing and difficult to be with, which causes her to have her own set of thoughts which she doesn't share with you. And so you both are doing your imitation of intercourse; all the while, both being bound up with thoughts which serve as barriers to experiencing. Put another way, the way to create exquisite intercourse is to be willing to not have it. To stop mid-stream, so to speak, and say, "I've got some things on my mind." Once both have emptied their mind what's left is space. Space is where creation takes place; it's where one manifests intentions such as to experience (recreate) another's creation. This phenomenon was an added benefit of "no physical premarital sex" in the old days during a long courtship; it gave engaged couples lots of time to empty their minds of thousands of thoughts.

** I once enrolled in a Werner Erhard  seminar titled About Sex. I thought it was going to be a how-to course. I immediately discovered that it was about identifying and disappearing ones barriers to communicating comfortably about sex. The foremost barrier to co-creating exquisite sex is that one simply can't talk about it comfortably. For most it takes quite a few communication exercises to be totally  comfortable hearing or saying words such as cunt, prick, blow-job, etc.  I use the word "totally" here to emphasize that the objective is to be equally comfortable talking about sex as one is saying, "I want papaya for breakfast" or, ". . . a little softer and slower" or the all important loving prompt, "breath" [with me]. It's easy to tell when a partner is stuck holding onto a thought (as opposed to experiencing) because they aren't breathing rhythmically and freely—it's often a non-verbal signal that there's a withhold in the space. 

Comment Box is loading comments...

Upon pressing the Submit button the page will refresh as though nothing has happen. It will take a few hours for the comment to appear.

To receive feedback about your comments or to post a question please use our Dear Gabby Forum (free - registration required).

Check back occasionally for minor edits (last edited 8/21/15)

[ top ]


If you liked this letter please press the "I like" voting button. Upon pressing the button you'll be taken directly to the index.

[ #47 Boyfriend’s online sex search presents a dilemma / Girlfriend needs coaching ]

[ top | back to list of letter topics ]