Finding the time to write — or the privacy to have sex — is going to get tricky this coming week, as my mom is coming to visit. Looks like it might be a good time to spring the "100 things" list.
A few weeks ago, Dan Savage had a column that took me by surprise. The topic was what to do about differing libidos — specifically, what a high-libidoed male does when paired with a low-libidoed female. The man had recently discovered the existence of Joan Sewell's I'd Rather Eat Chocolate: Learning to Love My Low Libido, and he was understandably worried. "My spouse can now point at this book," he wrote, "and say, 'I'm normal, live with it....'"
Dan's response caught me totally off guard: He first restated the basic premise of the book — "Women have naturally lower sex drives.... [M]en are hornier—and all the Sex and the City repeats in the world aren't going to change that," he explains of her premise — and then ... he didn't refute it.
Dammit. Et tu, Dan?
The column really got my dander up, and I was fighting to write a blog entry here. But work and my natural laziness kept me from ever writing that. This was lucky, because the next week, Dan's true endgame was revealed: His "silence is assent" approach was only a setup to guarantee that lots of oversexed women would write in and unveil their unbridled lust. Really, how silly of me to not see this coming! I've been reading Dan for years — he's a sort of hero for me. Perhaps I was blinded by my empathy for the writer (though let's face it, I do significantly better than his "5-20 times a year" he gets from his wife). Nevertheless, I was happy to see the outpouring of mail that Dan received. Clearly, I was the only one not in on the joke.
An example: "... I wanted to pipe up as one woman who has never—I mean never—met a man whose libido could match mine," one wrote. "If it were up to me, I’d be having sex twice a day. I’ve never met a man who could handle sex once a day (every day) after the first flush of lust."
I'm not afraid to admit, as I read that one, that I thought: You never met me! But the truth is, I don't really know; I've never been with a woman as insatiable as some of the ladies who star in these letters. Which, I suppose, lends credence to Sewell's book's premise. These are probably the exceptions to the rule.
If I feel any sense of "hope," it's the same kind of hope that writing this blog and (especially) reading other sex blogs has given me: That I'm not the only one dealing with this problem ... that others out there dealing with it have seen improvement (at least when both partners want to change the situation) ... and that I've seen little signs for the better right here at home.
And I'm thinking that the start of blogging and the sudden somewhat-more-regular sex may not have been coincidental. Amy's and my differing libidos seemed to be a locked-in reality. But Amy had suddenly expressed a desire for desiring more sex, to be more of the "old" Amy. It's too early to tell if we've really turned a corner, but the will is there, and that's really all one could ask for, right?
If Savage is to be believed, I should be expecting more:
The one thing that hasn't changed in the wake of Sewell's book is my advice to women with low libidos: You can have strict monogamy or you can have a low libido, ladies, but you can't have both. If monogamy is a priority, you're gonna have to put out, i.e., regular vaginal intercourse and the occasional tide-him-over handjob and/or blowjob, cheerfully given.I understand where he's coming from here, but this is not a message that I believe can be delivered as an ultimatum. This is something that needs to be realized — by both partners. There needs to be an understanding. Perhaps it's a conversation that Amy and I will have one day. The thought of a context in which such a conversation were to occur ... it frankly scares me.
But I'm thinking. Thinking. Thinking.
One of the libido-related issues that seems to keep coming up for us is the fact that simply having sex makes me want more. If Amy fucks me on a Friday night, I'm all over her all day Saturday, trying to set up another tryst for that night. For her, it seems to be more like a "We've done that already!" It's a chemical thing, I think: Energetic, passionate sex raises my testosterone levels, thus making me even hornier. But I can't possibly expect the same thing to happen to her — not as intensely, at least.
A couple of weekends ago, we had amazing sex on a Saturday night. Sunday, I knew, was going to be all about getting "domestic" things done — errands, work around the house, etc. But I woke up with one thought on my mind: If we have an incredibly productive day and get all that stuff done, we could go another round on Sunday night. Amy gently spurned my flirting and groping that morning, easily saw my goal, and warned me up front that this wasn't going to be happening.
I became a petulant child for quite a bit of the rest of that morning. And the only thing worse than acting this way is knowing that you're being an asshole. I was finally able to turn my attitude that day around, but it wasn't easy for me. As we drove to a mall, Amy called me on my pissy attitude, and I admitted that it was this "sex breeds the desire for more sex" thing that I always seem to have.
"And when I act this way," I said, "I'm afraid that you're going to think you don't want to bother having sex with me at all, because you know you're just going to be asked for more right away."
The issue didn't get resolved, but at least it was out on the table. I'm sure it'll get revisited sometime.
I had to laugh, though, when I noticed this letter among the responses to Savage's column:
I love my husband. I love fucking him. I also know that I do say no more often than yes. I’m working on this. I wish he would cut down on the sulking. He’d get fucked a lot more “if only” he would.Hey! I think Amy wrote in!