I received an email from a reader who said his sexless marriage led to his divorce. He also explained that he now has a girlfriend who is always initiating sex, and that he is much happier.
The reader also brought something up that I think is worth discussing. He said that he was tired of "the points system," where he earned points for things like taking out the garbage or buying his then wife a gift, and that if he did something wrong, the points would be taken away and he would have to start over.
I don't think this man is alone in this philosophy, and I actually agree that men get points for certain things. BUT, I disagree that if you do something wrong you lose your points and have to start over. That is very unfair statement and not true at all. I think there are certain men who have this self defeating attitude that if a woman gives him some constructive criticism, he takes the stance of "I just can't make her happy. Whatever I do, it's never enough."
That is infuriating to women, because that isn't the case at all. I think the problem is, the men forget the hugs and kisses (and sex) they got as a result of doing the nice thing earlier, and they only focus on the negative. So, when a woman expresses to a man that she wasn't particularly pleased by something he did, does she need to add, "but you have so many great qualities, and I loved how you called my mom two weeks ago on her birthday!" Would that help?
I can't say if I think that is warranted because every relationship (and every woman) is different. Yes, there are women who are unpleasable (that isn't a word but it should be) and unappreciative. They bug me.
I think it is very normal and in a man's nature to want to feel appreciated and important and loved. Yes, loved. They are supposed to be strong and manly, but they want a hug. They want to feel secure too. And, of course, they want to be desired physically.
All I'm saying is that doing nice things for a woman isn't about earning points. Doing nice things for us may actually physically cause us to want to go to bed with you. Women who feel loved and cherished (and doing nice things for us makes us feel that way) may want to return that love, both physically and emotionally.
Forget about points. If the man I'm with does something extremely thoughtful, it makes me crazy with desire! I'll give you an example. One time, I had to have a tooth pulled and afterward, I was in extreme pain. My boyfriend came over to my house with a bag of groceries of soft foods, like bananas, sushi, etc. that I could eat. He then sat with me and my kids and looked at some photo albums with us. The whole gesture of his thoughtfulness and time made me melt, and it made me appreciate him at a deeper level, which then made me desire him even more. Love and desire really do go hand in hand for women.
I have never made love to a man "as a favor" as this man says. That's terrible. I think like most women, I do it when I want to do it, and what facilitates my interest in sex is a man who is doing kind things (which at the same time is earning points.) And by no way does a woman want to have sex with a man who is mean to her, condescending, or if he fails to make her feel appreciated.
Lastly, I have to wonder how long my reader has been dating this woman who is apparently constantly initiating sex. I hate to break it to him, but everyone wants to have lots of sex at the beginning of a relationship. Trust me, there will come a time when sex co-exists with kind gestures and behaviors, in which he will also be "earning points."
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of her blog, Divorced Girl Smiling, and the comedic divorce novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase. She also writes feature stories, along with the weekly dating and relationships column, "Love Essentially" for Sun-Times Media local publications. Pilossoph lives in Chicago. Oh, and she's divorced.