All the time, I hear from women who say, "I'm having sex with my husband X times per week (usually this is 1-3) and he's STILL not happy." I ask if they enjoy the sex, and they say, "Yeah, sometimes." So basically, here is what's happening in a lot of marriages (and reverse the genders if that's the way that this applies to your relationship):
1. The woman wants to have sex probably once every 1-2 weeks, particularly within 'monotogamy.'
2. When this schedule happens, the woman actually has a chance to miss sex, think about sex, and desire sex.
3. Thus, the sex is enjoyable! For her. However...
4. The man finishes too quickly because he hasn't had sex in a week or more, and he may also feel resentful, because...
5. The man wants to have sex 2-14 times a week. (I said "wants," not what would be practical.)
6. Thus, the man thinks, "What is the big deal for her? Sex takes about 20 minutes max, and even if she doesn't enjoy it at first, she could get into it, and then we would all be happy."
7. Yet, the man must admit that, generally, sex at his desired frequency is not that great because it is fairly obvious that his wife is dissociating and wishing it was over.
8. The woman thinks, "If he wasn't up my ass (figuratively; for a literal post on that, click here) all the time, maybe sex would actually be good, meaningful, and exciting. What is the big deal for him to either masturbate the other X times per week that he wants sex, or just wait? It's so much better when I don't feel pressured."
So, into this impasse, I fly, like Super Why with a cape made out of psychology articles and contraceptives, and solve this super big problem. (If you don't have kids, (a) you're less likely to be bored with your sex life and reading this article, and (b) Super Why is this cartoon that you have to watch all the time as a parent because it's better than interacting with your kids 24/7.)
Here is a new compromise to try.
1. The woman initiates all sex for the next month.
2. She does it when she feels the desire to have sex, not when she "should" because the man is giving her "a look."
3. When she initiates sex, she makes it GOOD SEX for BOTH people, e.g., if he finishes too fast, she directs him how to continue the encounter so she also orgasms.
4. The man does not sulk or try to initiate sex in a passive way that is not literally initiating, but everyone knows is initiating.
Here is what can be learned from this experiment, if you can stick to it:
1. We will figure out the woman's baseline level of sexual desire, which she may not even know, since she's always in a state of annoyance from swatting away her husband.
2. The man will get to feel pursued and not like some pervert who disgusts his wife with his advances.
3. The woman is committing to actually trying to be openly sexual and not just giving the man the gift of her naked (in a best case she's fully naked), prone body.
After the month of this experiment, the couple should have a brainstorming session during which they each say that they did and didn't like about the experiment, e.g., he liked her pursuing him, she liked not having to feel guilty for turning him down. They use these insights to come up with some new things they would like to try in their sex life, like she initiating more, he grabbing her less, she committing to being more enthusiastic and getting herself in the mood more, he empathizes that she just doesn't feel sexual three times a week and feeling "forced" to do it that many times ends up making her resentful and more likely to "phone it in." Lots of good, productive conversation, and none of it small talk.
If you're struggling with compromises in bed that end up making nobody happy, what do you have to lose? And until we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Wants Feedback If You Try It.