Extremely lengthy addendum to ‘unrequited lust and the happy marriage’

Item: I have been reflecting on my previous post. I felt rather nervous posting it, partly because I was repeatedly slapping H upside the head in it (bad wife! Disloyal wife!) and partly because I knew I was a freak of nature. Wanting more sex than one’s husband? Not done. Not how universe works. On the rare occasions when a woman writes into a problem page or mentions it in the pub, you can see that no one knows what to do or say. No assvice forthcomes. Bewildered brows surround her. But… but… men want more sex. It’s Darwinism. Or something. Hah.

Item: My own family is messily divided between ‘good’ Catholic/ Jewish women with cobwebs in their gussets and ‘bad’ Catholic/ Jewish women with friction burns, but the way they all resolve libido mismatches is serial infidelity and multiple marriages. Do these seem like good examples to you? No? Me neither. I’m sticking with H. H is a most excellent person to share one’s life with.

Item: I have noticed that in relationships where Mr wants Mrs more than the other way round, sometimes Mrs is feeling unenchanted with Mr. She may love him dearly, but she is doing the bulk of child-care and house-work and is permanently sleep-deprived and he is becoming a master at the art of shooting himself briskly in the foot by being unhelpful, unappreciative, and bone-fucking-idle. Which would depress the libido of any sensible person. In such cases, Mr needs to bloody well get off his smug backside and change some nappies. This does not apply in our case. And believe me, I have been carefully checking that I am not inadvertently irritating the living daylights out of H on a daily basis. H assures me that I am not. If, after all, I am irritating etc., at this point H would have put himself firmly in the wrong alongside me by not telling me what the issue is and allowing me to apologise, make amends, and never ever do it again ever.

Item: I have also noticed that there is only so much physical contact each human is prepared to tolerate. Even if it’s lovely contact, there comes a point when being touched is ENOUGH AL-FUCKING-READY. Women with small children are being touched and hugged and snuggled intimately (breast-feeding. Nappies. Baths together) all day, every day, endlessly. The idea of someone else joining in for another bout of touching and poking and taking and using, urgh. Urgh. Mr should be firmly told at this point that if he wants any action, he can take the kids for a day and let Mrs have a bath absolutely alone with no small people shouting under the door to come in, followed by a good read, and maybe a gingerbread latte and a caramel slice, and a walk, and a solitary lie-down. This does not apply to us. H is not getting well and truly snuggled at work (and if he is, by GOD I want to know about it), and in fact H is naturally a cuddly chap who likes nothing better than a cuddle after lights out.

Item: Sometimes it just IS a libido mismatch.

Item: Also, I am well aware that some men are simply not that good in bed. And that therefore one would naturally be uninclined to test the bed-springs for, well, not much cookie. And that some men could do a lot better if they paid attention, and that some women really need to brace themselves and tell the poor sap that the boob-squishing thing? No. H, however, is good in bed. Really, really good. Being turned down by H is like being trapped in the booth next to the chocolate profiterole pyramid after seventeen days on cabbage soup. Does this mean H thinks I am cabbage soup?

Item: Unfortunately I am horribly oversensitive to rejection. My step-father used to tell me on a weekly basis that I was fat and stupid and nobody could possibly want to date me, and laughed himself sick when I got a boyfriend at the age of 15. May? With a boyfriend? Was he blind? Was he ugly too? I am completely neurotic about my appearance. Go figure.

Item: I asked H recently (and crossly) how he’d feel if he got turned down two times out of three. He shrugged, and said he’d ask some other time. My jaw hit the table with an unusually loud thud. You… you mean, you wouldn’t take it personally? Dear God, is such a thing possible?

Item: I am also deeply distrustful of words. My actual father used to tell my mother, and in fact most of his wives, that they were beautiful and perfect and lovely in every way and he adored them and would love them forever and now he was going to a party with another woman and would be back very late and also smelling of perfume, so don’t wait up. H doesn’t go to parties without me, and is, I am sure, absolutely sincere when he tells me pretty things. But when he doesn’t follow up the pretty words with a determined advance on my person, the sour, sad, cynical little child within me says ‘Hah. I knew you didn’t mean it. I knew it.’ This is deeply unfair on H and I try very hard to keep this part supressed and talk myself out of it as being unworthy and ridiculous. It bursts out during moments of severe row, unfortunately. Poor H. Poor, poor H.

Item: H’s parents seem to treat sex as this frivolous thing you do in your twenties, and each other as the erotic equivalent of mince. They have a strong and loving marriage, but not a flirty sexy one. I think H has been taking notes. I wonder if H thinks the two are incompatible.

Item: I am the infertile one in our relationship. H has been tested three times now, and despite one early fright when all the sperm in test one appeared to have dozed off, later determined to be because it took us too long to get sample to lab (NOT our freakin’ fault, said lab being an hour away by car on a good traffic day), H has proved to be a perfectly healthy fertile sort of person. We are trying as hard as we can to have a child, yes? So far, I have had three surgeries, one hideous and hideously painful infection, two HSGs, lost count of the the ultrasounds, three rounds of clomid, multiple rounds of provera, I have bled for months on end, I have agonising periods and can’t go back on the pill to alleviate them, and Satsuma (the bitch) hurts for days when she’s growing follicles. We are now waiting to see if my one-and-only fallopian tube had got ‘warranty expired’ stamped all over it as well. The one reproductive thing my body can do, and do well, and do in privacy and comfort and dignity (err, go with me on this), is sex. No one has stuck anything at all in or up H, certainly not in a room full of perfect strangers. H has had to wank in cup three times, in the privacy of his own home. And has to have regular sex with the wife he himself declares is lovely and fragrant. Ummm. Sucks to be him, I guess.

Item: Seriously, if infertility is a ‘couple problem’, regardless of which one is actually broken, and H insists he sees it as ‘our’ problem and not mine, then surely each member of the couple does their damndest to achieve the mutually held goal of offspring. We have been told that the ideal amount of sex is every single damned day for the week leading up to ovulation, and on ovulation day, and the day after (just in case we got the days a leetle astray, and to be absolutely sure the egg gets her honour-guard). H will not agree to this. H has agreed to every other day in the days leading up to ovulation, and one for luck on O-day. This is considered ‘adequate’ by the experts, hell, we got pregnant like that. So it must work. So it’s fine. QED. In a spirit of compromise and good will, I declared that this was acceptable. I am doing my damndest (see previous item, waves boxes of antibiotics and provera and clomid and folic acid in the air). So is H, in his way. Except for those alas-too-frequent tense times when Satsuma is seriously taking the piss (I-think-I-can-I-think-I-can-oh-bother-no-I-can’t), and H goes off the boil and leaves gaps of two or three days, putting me into an absolute tearing panic that that’ll be when the sodding ovary sodding well does pop.It has been known. We have once or twice missed the ideal window because H wasn’t in the mood.

Item: If I weren’t in the mood, but desperate to conceive and/or placate randy spouse, I’d be able to get away with lying on my back thinking of England, and remembering not to ask H if he’s rewound the clock at the crucial moment (Brownie points to anyone who gets the reference). If H is not in the mood, NOTHING HAPPENS. This is a fact of Nature. Nature is a stupid bitch, isn’t she?

Item: Sometimes I think TTC is the only thing stopping our sex-life grinding to an absolute halt.

Item: I believe that the magic of early courtship, the can’t-keep-hands-off stage, can be built on. You get into and keep in the habit of thinking of your spouse as the sexiest creature on God’s green Earth, and you take time to notice and adore all their adorable bits. You have to remember to do this. You can’t take it for granted. Sometimes it’s a freakin’ effort. But it’s important, and worth it. H, however, believes in the ‘magic’ part, and feels that you can’t force it and it must come naturally or not at all. I think the fact I still want to tear H’s clothes off with my teeth on an extremely frequent basis, and H wants to treat me like a snuggly-wuggly duvet instead, proves that I am totally fucking right. H actually agrees that I am totally fucking right. But H STILL wants the magic feelings to descend on an unlooked-for cloud of pixie-dust and moonlight. Some may call it romantic. I call it self-deluded relationship-buggering lazy fuckwittage.


15 responses to “Extremely lengthy addendum to ‘unrequited lust and the happy marriage’

  • megnath

    You’re not alone. I too have been rejected and missed many-a-window 😦
    So annoying and demeaning…..

  • Katie

    I’m also married to a “but I must be in the mood” spouse, although fortunately it’s very rare that he can’t actually start what he’s finished.

    It is possible that something hormonal in you increases your libido, in particular. No buns please but it is something that they do say goes with PCOS.

  • MFA Mama a.k.a. "Eliza"

    You’re totally not alone! I was the more…erhm…eager, we’ll say…one in my marriage most of the time. And it’s absolutely rotten about how if THEY want to/it’s time to bloody DO IT per the EPT we women can in fact lie back and think of England (heh) but ohhhh THEY have to be “in the mood.” To be utterly blunt, the way I see it, if they can get “in the mood” to wank into a cup for medical testing, they can talk themselves into it once in a while to spare the wife’s feelings and/or make a baby (room for overlap, even–lucky, lucky them!).

    I said “was” and now feel like I should explain: the disintegration had nothing to do with mismatched libidos and everything to do with my ex-husband being a shitheel. Toward the end HE actually wanted ME much much more than I wanted HIM. See your section on how if Mr. really wants Mrs. to put out he needs to let her have a few moments ALONE and take the small screaming people somewhere else, not be utterly useless, etc. Which is probably an overshare on my part, but I didn’t want you to think “oh dear, it killed her marriage.” If anything it KEPT me from killing HIM for the first five years, because then he’d NEVER be “in the mood!”

    H. really does sound like a lovely fellow, and ordinarily I’m in the “poor, poor H!” camp, but on this one I have to say “oh, H! Man up already! Your wife has all but died to try and make the two of you a baby and you can at least look alive every month and do your bit, especially as it does not involve INSTRUMENTS being SHOVED anywhere!”

  • Geohde

    Lol. You had me at the erotic equilavent of mince 🙂


  • Artblog

    Ah, HUGS again sweetie, already said my bit before but how about something seriously sexy on you and without being too crass, is he not into blow jobs, it always worked for me or rather for him!


  • Robyn

    “Some men would do a lot better if they paid attention” I might have to have that tattooed somewhere Life Partner would be sure to see it. Not sure he’d know what it means though.

    And you can send me my brownie points for the botched conception of Tristram Shandy. I think. Perhaps there’s another literary reference I’ve missed.

  • a

    My husband and I also have mismatched libidos – I’m pretty much game any time, but sex is just not a priority for me. I’ve got other stuff I should be doing. So I never suggest it, which irritates him. On the other hand, he’s moody and I take rejection personally. So if I initiate and get rejected, it takes me a loooong time to come back from that. I envy you your ability to keep trying – you must be much more secure in his love than you realize.

  • Xbox4NappyRash

    I read the last post, and stepped back but you’ve written another really juicy one, and I just can’t curb my stupidity by commenting.

    Infertility IS a couple’s problem and it has to be tackled as such. Even if that means he has to sit and watch you get skewed left right and centre.

    Sex, this is a tricky one, there is nothing more personal, so to try and offer wisdom is hard.

    We definitely had mismatching drives for years, funnily enough, it was either one or the other. I hated being the ‘randy’ one when she wasn’t, it made me feel like a dirty drunken uncle trying it on.

    What you said about your sex life possibly being dead if it wasn’t for TTC is also true for us. But not only has it kept it alive, it has improved it. I don’t know how we got to this point, and I don’t know how long it will last, but I think the genuine effort from both of us to make it happen has upped the intensity or something, I’m not sure and any chance we get we are making the most of it.

    I dunno if any of this is useful or interesting or even has a point but there you go.

  • womb for improvement

    That whole missing the opportunity I can certainly identify with. The husband doesn’t seem to find me screaming “BUT I’M OVULATING TODAY, NOT TOMORROW” very arousing. Men!

  • jodie38

    God, I love your posts…. you put things soooo well.

    Sex can get complicated, even more so when trying to conceive, and even more if there’s a problem with conceiving.

    (sigh). It’s a nasty cycle.

    I’m just saying, you’re far from alone in this.

    And I also know of more than a few couples who have the libido tables turned around. With one couple, she was just convinced he was gay because he didn’t want it as often as she did. But no, he just needs to be in the mood. And he was even less so after she pounced on him with the gay bit.

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    I am reading with much interest!

  • Emily

    Well that whole last bit with the magic and whatnot really struck home. Bloody men. I would be delighted to have sex every day, at least every other day. How often do we have sex? Oh, once every… week? 2 weeks maybe? When he’s in the mood. I have tried to tactfully suggest that perhaps he could be open to some coersion of this “magic mood”, but no, apparently it must strike all on it’s own. We wouldn’t want some cheap fascimile. No. We. Wouldn’t. … YESWEWOULD!

  • Aphra Behn

    Oh May.


    I’ve been the randy one, and I’ve been the “oh, god not NOW” one, and both suck. I didn’t have fertility issues, and I found it easier to be rejected than to be swatting away intemperate hands. Not-being-up-for-it makes me feel furtive. Being rejected makes me feel noble and loyal.

    That’s bull shit. Being rejected makes me feel rejected. Rising above being rejected makes me feel noble and loyal.

    None of which has got anything at all to do with the matter in hand – namely the fact that you are going round and round and round inside your own head, and the fact that you and the fundamentally sunny H are having yet another layer of hard times, but that this particular layer is causing friction between the two of you, rather than between you and the outside world.

    May darling. I’m worried about you. It helps not at all, but I do want to say it. If there’s anything at all… but you know that already.

    Worried wierdos care about you both.


  • Flicka

    I clicked over from Hairy Farmer Family and am reading with my eyes fairly hanging out. We never talk about this stuff on my blog!

    I am the less desirous partner in our marriage and goodness how I wish I could help it. I’ve been thinking of England for six years now which just makes my husband sad. Me, too. I used to enjoy sex but somehow it just up and disappeared. (He’s good at the changing of nappies and giving of alone time, too.)

    And our sex life did essentially grind to halt when our TTC did.

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    […] appears here. Offence has been, occasionally, taken. I read my good friend May’s recent posts with awe. Not, on this occasion, purely at her erudition – although she is, as ever, a profoundly […]

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