5 Ways to Avoid a Lifetime of Sad, Unsatisfying, Marital Sex

This comment by MEK in response to the post “My Husband Won’t Even Try to Give Me an Orgasm” is truly depressing. It’s a layered onion of bummer that makes us want to cry. This 21-year marriage has it all: Physical pain? Check. Miscommunication (or total lack of communication)? Check. Selfishness? Check. Resentment? Check. Bitterness? Check! Read it and weep. Then see below for our suggestions on how to avoid such sexual pitfalls. 

Married 21 years. There were a couple of years when vaginal intercourse was excruciatingly painful, even as much as unprepared anal. Even with a whole bottle of lube. Never mind that my husband never really puts any time or effort into foreplay to help me become aroused. He just makes a vague, half-hearted show of it. Really, it’s just his way of nonverbally asking for sex.

Anyway, during times when I’m having vaginal pain, he’ll still continue until he orgasms. To be fair I don’t tell him to stop, I just wince and try to scoot away (try to suppress that), but he knows he’s hurting me. I would think that it would be a turnoff, hurting someone you love, yet he continues till he orgasms. I just end up really sore and sticky, while he goes to sleep happily. I avoid sex during those times as long as possible until he throws a small tantrum.

But when sex isn’t painful, he still puts no effort into foreplay, other than to just go straight to shoving his hand between my legs, clumsily and “pushing the button”, which I’ve told him doesn’t do anything for me (at first lovingly, e.g. “It really feels best when you do this,….”). Or, he just gives me a few quick rubs down my back, no kisses, no caresses, he just dives down for oral where he seems to just go through whatever desperate motions he thinks will work for a couple of minutes.

Then it’s on to his turn, climb on, finish, and snoring. Or, sometimes after he finishes, tries to seem like he cares and will magnanimously say “why don’t I just lie right here with you while you touch yourself”. As if by lying and snoring in my ear beside me, he’s still involved in our intimate act, like a caring, sensitive lover. With a flaccid penis.

Usually though, if he’s done, he thinks I’m done, and he loves to ask me the next morning (if the sex was at night) with full, wink wink, innuendo, “I don’t know about you, but I slept great last night!” or “Sooooo, how did YOU sleep last night?” even though he knows I didn’t orgasm. I know he’s not so ignorant as to think that just because we had sex, I must have slept with the same depth of satisfaction he did when I didn’t climax. How very insulted and patronized I’ve felt all these years. Or used, like a blow up doll.

I’m in menopause, and now sex is painful often. I’ve drawn the line. I’ve had it. I told him that the only time we have intercourse (or he gets any kind of sex from me) is if I have had an orgasm first, and if I don’t have an orgasm, we go no farther. If I have an orgasm, AND I’m not too sleepy to continue and have penetrative sex, I’ll let him know. Otherwise, I’ve told him that after I orgasm and don’t want to have intercourse, if it makes him feel special, I can lay beside him and go to sleep while he touches himself.

Ooof. Brutal.

Oddly, we don’t get the sense that they have a horrible relationship in any other area of their life. But when one aspect of a relationship — like sex — suffers so badly, it inevitably seeps into all other areas, coating everything in a veneer of resentment and bitterness.

Here are the 6 main areas where we think this couple went wrong. Learn from their mistakes:

1. If something sexual hurts (and not in a good way), stop. You don’t have to physically — or, we should note, emotionally — suffer for the sake of your partner’s pleasure. There are myriad other ways to help your partner reach orgasm other than intercourse (or whatever activity you don’t physically or personally enjoy): oral sex, manual sex, masturbation, sex toys, etc.

2. If you know what you’re doing is physically or emotionally hurting your partner (and not in a kinky way they are actually enjoying), stop. Good sex can only be had when all parties are comfortable and enthusiastically willing. There are myriad other ways to reach your orgasm than by engaging in activities which cause your partner pain, discomfort, or embarrassment.

3. If something isn’t working for you or you would like to do something else, speak up. Not in a negative, critical way, but in a clear, positive way. “This is actually causing me pain, let’s try something else.” Even if it doesn’t hurt, but you’re still having a bad time, stand up for your pleasure and demand orgasmic equality. Don’t assume your partner will get the hint from  your silence or your lack of enthusiasm. You have to clearly articulate what is going on with you, either physically or mentally, so they have the best chance of understanding the true reality of the situation. Silence is not an option. Nor is giving up if they just don’t seem to get it. Insist on continuing the conversation about any romantic or sexual issue in your LTR until you are heard and understood and can come to some agreement or compromise that will make both you and your partner, if not blissfully happy and thoroughly satisfied, then at the very least content and satiated.

4. Make your partner’s pleasure and orgasm a priority. If you’re the only one climaxing, there’s a serious problem. Ask your partner what they would like to do and what feels good to them, whether after 2 dates or 2 decades of marriage. People and bodies are different; and people and bodies change over time. Don’t assume that just because you like something, your partner does too.

5. Dedicate yourself to a lifetime of decent sex education. Understand how anatomy works. Learn about different techniques. Understand how pain and age can negatively affect sex.

While we like to say that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and we were tempted to cheer when MEK finally turned the tables on her husband by giving him a taste of his own medicine, we’re saddened by the fact that it got to that point in the first place. There’s nothing cheer-worthy about a lifetime of bad marital sex. Nor can the bitterness reflected in her tone be all that healthy for their relationship. Understandable, yes; but healing, no. Take the pro-active steps above to avoid going down the wrong path until you’re lost, or creating bad habits that are near impossible to break, or building up so much resentment that you can’t even look your partner in the eye.

No marriage is perfect. But by working on issues together, you can make a marriage pretty darn great.

Does intercourse hurt? Read:
Dr. Kate’s Sexual Dysfunction Series



    This is MEK, and I commented on the post “My Husband Won’t Even Try to Give Me an Orgasm”, on 11/2/16. My post was the comment of the week. Thank you so much for replying, your advice was great. I did try your suggestions. Sadly, the suggestions directed to my spouse don’t apply since he believes that our almost sexless marriage is my fault, he doesn’t care about my needs sexually and intimately, and he refuses to see a sex therapist. No therapy will help if one of the partners just doesn’t care about the sexual fulfillment of the other. And he doesn’t.

    Please forgive the long ramble, but I’m a little distraught right now so just writing this post will make me feel better, whether anyone ever comments.
    I don’t know why I still love my husband, but I do. When I’m not hurt or angry at him, I know I want to grow old with him. That makes it so much harder to end our marriage.
    I’ve stood up for my right to an equally satisfying sex relationship. I’ve suggested a sex therapist. That caused huge fights. Every discussion about why we don’t have sex as often as he’d like, ends in a fight where he predictably says, sarcastically, “Well, I guess I’m just selfish, so why did you marry me?”. He says ” it’s your problem, YOU should go see a sex therapist”. I’ve asked him to read a guide to women’s sexuality with me, and he got angry. So, in lieu, I explained that women need to be aroused before penetrative intercourse begins for it to be pleasurable, and that women require longer (freely given) foreplay. I broke it down as it pertains to him: if sex is good for me (not painful, because of having had an orgasm previous to penetrative) with equality of satisfaction, then he would get sex more often. I would look forward to it, not dread it. His response was to spit out “Yes, I KNOW all of that, so now you want me to read a 1000 page thesis?”, and he gave me the same response when I asked him to read an online pamphlet about the changes couples should expect during menopause, since it will affect both of us. Again he said, “I’m not ignorant, I think I already know enough about it”.
    I finally, firmly said I wouldn’t continue intercourse (while in the act), if it was at all painful or even uncomfortable. When I’ve said, “Stop, it hurts”. He would then act concerned, changing positions in the hope that I’d continue anyway, saying “How’s that? Better, huh?” though it never is. I’ve guided him to my erogenous zones (not just clitoris). That was a total failure, as he never even touched those areas. You’d think that over 20+ yrs., he’d have come to know my body and all of my erogenous places. I know his like a map.
    Once, while asserting my right to sex equality in our marriage, I asked him: “If you went 20+ years having an orgasm only 1 out of every 10 times I had one , would you find that fair? Would you feel eager to have sex often with me if I always got my big O, then promptly rolled over and went to sleep, leaving you hanging? Would you feel angry and hurt, or even used?” He grudgingly once admitted it was unfair. But then made no effort to change, other than to say “sure, It would be nice if you could enjoy our sex more, because I still enjoy it”.

    I won’t give him alternate sexual pleasure, e.g. oral, manual. Why should I just keep giving, with no reciprocation? I get nothing in return. I followed another counselor’s advice to give him more, and maybe he’ll become more loving. What I get back is a predictable, “Hey, thanks, that was great”, in the tone one gives compliments a waiter when the check is brought. He recently told me a joke almost immediately following having an orgasm in my mouth (the joke was before I was even up off my knees): something like “ha, ha, now if you only had a flat head where I could set my beer down, you’d be the perfect woman.” He couldn’t understand why I was so furious. Rest assured, it will be a cold day in hell before he gets a b.j.

    Now I just take care of my own needs alone downstairs. Once in a while, I’ll come to bed after he falls asleep, and masturbate beside him in my own bed. I passive-aggressively leave out the lube and a pack of wet wipes flagrantly displayed on my nightstand for his view the next morning. Petty, I know. At times, I know he wakes (facing away from me), silently listening to what I’m doing, hearing me finish happily, and then rolling over and falling asleep. The message to him: “You’re not welcome here. I’ve given up on you, sexually. I prefer my own hand over having sex with you”. It’s doubtful he cares.

    I’m a stay at home mom, because I left my job as a flight attendant to raise our kids, rather than hire a live-in nanny to care for them. My husband’s a commercial airline pilot, and so we’d have both been away from home 15+ days per month. Someone else raising them much of the time. We made the decision that I’d stop working over 20 years ago, and he now tells me that he doesn’t respect me at times for not having a career. That may be the reason he doesn’t care about my sexual happiness. He likely feels I don’t deserve it, since I don’t “have a job and I don’t contribute”, even though I raised our girls as a single parent more than 1/2 time each month, 24/7, and 365 days.
    Sorry about rambling, but I’m in a really bad place right now, having just had a terrible argument about our sex life, or rather our entire relationship. The toxic nature of our sexual dysfunction permeates the rest of our life together, or maybe vice versa. Chicken or the egg? Today, he grumbled about not “getting any” before leaving for Switzerland (work). I asked him, “If you don’t respect me, and you’ve stated it few times, why should I want to have sex with you?”. His answer: “Maybe because I support you? Maybe because I’m about to drive 2 hrs to work, then fly all night? How about that I pay the bills by working. What do YOU do?” I guess that makes me the house prostitute, getting paid for my sex services with free room and board.

    Oddly, he’s can be very nice, pleasant most of the time, and is always nice to everyone but me. With me, when he’s not trying to get laid, we interact like roomies, sharing no real personal content.
    We’re seeing a marriage counselor (who doesn’t cover sex therapy), but each time we see this therapist, we have a terrible argument.
    I’m struggling so hard with the question of divorce. The counselor won’t give any advice on that score, and doesn’t want to broach the area of our sexual dysfunctional sex life.
    Should I stay in this marriage that leaves me lonely, often feeling degraded to boot.

    On a very superficial note: were we to divorce, I’ll have plenty of opportunities, some already offered, for dates/affairs, etc. I still get the occasional whistle at 51, and I’m often told that I look like I’m in mid-30’s. By women and men who aren’t hitting on me. It’s supposed to be my Asian genes. Anyway, I don’t lack for other men’s attention, though I don’t seek it either. My husband regularly sees men giving me a double-take, while he’s walking behind me in a crowd. Looks are superficial, and in our time together, it hasn’t mattered to me that he went bald, and that he’s added a couple of inches to his waist. I still loved him when I discovered early to my great disgust that he has terrible hygiene. That’s only gotten worse, and he generally doesn’t wash himself till it’s time to get back in the pilot uniform. I still loved him when he couldn’t hold out more than 2 minutes before orgasming (he still doesn’t, even though he can). I figured that would get better over time, but instead he just got comfortable with my acceptance of his sexual deficit and selfishness. I’d love to tell him that there are precious few women who would put up with all of that, and many who wouldn’t even go out with him just because he’s 57 and bald. Most would dump him as soon as they found out how selfish he is in bed. I have very grave faults, too, but I recognize them, own them, and try to curb them, though not always successfully. I would love to tell him that, no matter who he might end up with, he’ll still bring all of his flaws to a new relationship, as will I.

  2. My husband and I are very very happy, but this has always been a worry of mine. Finally my mind is at ease!!

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