Reader I Have Clients Just Like This Guy writes,
I am a 43 yr old male, one year separated from my wife and 4 children (17 girl, 14 girl, 12 boy, 10 boy). I have always been fit and active, own a thriving business and live a mostly family centered life (read: I really enjoy doing stuff with my kids). The ex and I met in high school, and have been together ever since. As much as it pains me to be truthful about this, we are getting a divorce because I came to the conclusion a couple years ago that sex would never again be remotely satisfying or frequent with her. It had gotten so I had difficulty finishing sex with an orgasm - and this from a guy who could finish in 90 seconds or less when we first met!
Of course, since the separation, she has reclaimed her sexy self, lost 30lbs, rediscovered makeup and fashion, and generally become someone I would once again consider dating. Except that I won't. I don't trust any of it. In fact, I think her sexy new self would last about 6 months before the effects of monotogamy (good one!) set in again.
And here comes the best part. After reading your blog (thanks, you are fantastic, I am a fan), I am unsure I want to be in a committed relationship with ANY normal woman. I mean really, it sounds just awful! For me, a healthy love life is crucial to a happy relationship. Let me repeat this for clarity: I don't think I can ever be happy in a relationship without a robust and healthy sexual component. This. Is. Not. Negotiable.
And I'm not even going to be so ambitious as to ask for oral, anal, or whatever other delights are making my fellow men feel neglected in their absence. I am happy to settle for normal, connected, intimate lovin. Bonus points if she ain't fat.
I have plenty of opportunity to date....if I want. Hell, it's like shooting fish in a barrel compared to the last time I was in the dating pool 25 years ago. But geez already, it is really discouraging to think that a year or two into a new relationship, I will be disappointed and unhappy once again. And to make it worse, I can't think of a single married friend of mine who is happy with his marital sex life.
So my question for you is: What's a guy to do?
Well, IHCJLTG, as the moniker I gave you indicates, you are in a fairly common predicament. I have many male clients who get out of sexless or low sex marriages, and get back onto the mid-40's or 50's dating scene, finding that it is indeed like shooting fish in a barrel, as you so sensitively phrased it. Women go nuts for men who like kids and who look presentable, because a lot of them just got out of marriages with guys that let themselves go the same way as you feel that your wife let herself go. So then these newly single guys have a lot of sex, and they find someone they want to be more serious, and then they get cold feet, because after all, they are smart guys, and they read things like my blog (thanks for reading, by the way!), and they know what's what, namely, that women will not continue to be as hot to trot after a couple years into the relationship.
Here are my thoughts on your dilemma.
1. You met your wife when she was extremely young. She had no earthly idea what marriage would be like, nevermind being married with 4 kids. She could not have possibly known how she would feel about sex, touching, communication, or anything in her 20's, 30's, or 40's. However, if you met a woman now, who is around your own age, this would not be an issue. Women around 40 know themselves way, way better than teenagers do, obviously. If you made it clear to your 16 year old girlfriend that you wanted regular sex forever, of course she said yes and assumed she would want it too. If you make it clear to a 40 year old girlfriend that you want regular sex forever, she would know herself well enough to tell you whether she thinks this is possible for her. It is not her first rodeo.
2. Do not overgeneralize from my articles. There are plenty of people who have regular sex, once or twice weekly, for the majority of the years they are married. But, even for these people, they still have to put effort in to get in the mood for sex.
3. As I discussed with my awesome Functional Couple, Gail and Jason, people are often a lot more motivated to make things work in their second marriages versus their first. If you're divorced once, it could have been just the stars aligning poorly, but if you divorce twice, you kind of have to look inward. So many people will work harder on marriage #2. Which in your potential case would mean, you'd try to be more loving, appreciative, and say less stuff with what I believe may be your trademark sarcastic style, and your wife would try to get herself in the mood for more frequent lovemaking than she might otherwise yearn for.
4. You are newly single and drunk on your power to have sex with many women. Soon this excitement may fade (for real) and you may want someone to discuss current events with, or take to family functions, or who likes running, or The Daily Show, or whatever else you like. You may want a loving long term companion EVEN MORE than you want hot hot hot sex forever. So you may decide that the best way to go is to put your faith in a woman who tells you that your happiness is important enough to her that she will commit to trying to keep your sex life interesting for the long haul.
5. I have no idea what happened within your marriage but it always takes two to tango. She could very well have let herself go and stopped caring about sex, but I am willing to wager that she did not always think of you as a cross between Mr. Big, Dylan McKay, and James Bond (you may have to google the first two but you get my drift). You may have to do some soul searching as to why your ex-wife so selfishly insisted on turning into a fat sexless blob. Something tells me she may have been unhappy in the marriage too. So you're going to have to be the best partner you can be if you want a woman to WANT to keep things hot forever.
6. If you do decide that re-marrying isn't for you, then keep in mind you yourself will not be hot forever either. A fit attractive 43 year old man can sleep with many woman. A fit attractive 50 year old man less so. And by 60, nope. Also, we have no idea if you'll even be that into sex anymore in 10, 15, or 20 years. Testosterone decreases for men around then and can be a big wake up call for guys who have previously defined themselves by their raging sex drives and morning erections. Your worldview may change at that point, and you'll be less appealing to the majority of women, so keep that in mind now when turning down women who want to date you.
7. Men who are happy with their sex lives and who are around your age, are, from my clinical experience, fairly unlikely to talk openly about it to other guys. They know the score, that the average guy isn't supposed to be sexually satisfied within marriage, so they aren't going to brag if they are because it's (1) mean, and (2) not very gentlemanly to share intimate details about their wives. So don't take everything you hear from your friends as gospel. And honestly the guys who are getting a lot of sex are usually not the ones who are going to poker nights and ballgames with the guys and so forth. They are usually getting a lot of sex because their asses are home at night taking care of their kids and having conversations with their wives. So your sample group may be biased purely because it's based on guys who have enough extra time to sit around and shoot the shit with you. Again, this is both my clinical and anecdotal experience so DON'T SEND ME HATE MAIL THAT YOU HAVE LOADS OF SEX AND ALSO GET TO GO OUT WITH THE GUYS FIVE NIGHTS OUT OF SEVEN. SAVE THE TIME YOU'D BE SENDING ME HATE MAIL AND GO MAKE OUT WITH YOUR AWESOME WIFE. So my point is, the more nights per week a guy is home, the more sex he's getting AND the less likely you are to hear about it by virtue of the fact that you don't get to spend time with this guy because he's busy either being at home or having sex.
8. You could finish in 90 seconds or less because you were probably 16! Did you try to keep the passion alive with your wife? Did you ask why she didn't like sex and what you could do to turn her on? Did you ask what her fantasies were, did you try to read erotic stories with her, did you get overnight sitters for the kids, did you write her love letters, did you text her in the middle of the day to tell her you were thinking about her? You may say yes, or, more likely, you may say you used to but you stopped when she still didn't give you the time of day. Well there are ebbs and flows and peaks and valleys in marriages. Your wife pushed four kids out of her vagina within 7 years! She was tired as hell. You don't know, maybe if you hadn't divorced her, and were loving, attentive, and looked in at yourself with a critical eye as to what you could change to improve things yourself, she would have dropped her 30 lbs and started putting mascara on again anyway!
9. I am not trying to be harsh with you. I feel for you. But I think that you're oversimplifying relationships. So here are the take home points to mull over, as you click through Match.com and bubble over with delight at all the hot 30 year old women who are asking you on dates:
a. Are you focused on becoming the best partner you could be, that would make a woman want to work on keeping sex hot forever?
b. Do you have the patience to weather ups and downs in a woman's sexual drive without catastrophizing that sex is completely over now because she didn't want it in a week?
c. Are you looking deeply into what you could do to keep romance and connection alive forever, e.g. communication, empathy, validation, surprises, warmth, affection?
d. Do you know that a relationship takes work and no aspect of it, especially not sex, will just keep going, "naturally," over time without you focusing on it? But do you also know that if you work on a relationship, the closeness you achieve will make your sex much more awesome, close, and intimate than sex with random women you meet? (For real, it's not just me that thinks this; most male clients I have think their best sexual experiences were within relationships versus one night stands.)
If the answers are yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes, then I urge you to reconsider. You may be able to find a great woman who is as committed to all facets of a relationship (one being SEX) as you. Then, with work, you'll have the best of both worlds: sex, and love.
Till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Wants This Guy To Find His High Sex Drive Love And Treat Her Right.
Learn about Dr. Rodman's private practice, including therapy, coaching, and consultation, here. This blog is not intended as diagnosis, assessment, or treatment, and should not replace consultation with your medical provider.