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Sexless and suffering

Dear Sasha, My wife and I are in our 20s. We’ve been married for about a year and a half and have been together off and on since 2005. I love her very much, but I’m not getting what I need out of this relationship: sex. She’s never been a sex maniac but these days things are becoming extreme. Sex is so important to me physically and mentally that without it I’ve noticed that all aspects of my life suffer. I become an unhappy, depressed and boring person, my confidence is shot and I feel like a perverted fiend.

I consider our current sex frequency to be abnormally low, like two or three times a month if we’re lucky. No fellatio, no cunnilingus no touching of any kind. She doesn’t want me to touch her and she definitely doesn’t want to touch me. I’ve tried all kinds of different approaches like trying to initiate sex more frequently, less frequently, being more aggressive, being more passive, tried talking about it, tried ignoring it.

It’s always my role to start things up, so I try and try. As soon as I come close to my wife, however, she clasps her arms over her chest like she’s about to go down a waterslide and says some painful things like, “Stop harassing me!” The constant rejection is really messing me up. Especially when I just want to give her a hug or kiss. I’ve never abused my wife but she acts like I rape her. Aside from our sex problems we get along really well. We laugh and talk together. When we go places we always have a good time. Some of our friends tell us how great we are together. My wife is my best friend, but I want her to be a friend with benefits too. A lover. I tried to set up an appointment with a marriage councillor recently but the doctor was super weird and I didn’t get a good vibe. Others I’ve tried to call are really rude and irritated on the phone. Truth is, all I’ve found are pretty pricy anyway, it’s more than I can afford but I’m desperate. I see three possible directions for my life: divorce, which is something I want to avoid at all costs. Cheating, which is also something I want to avoid, and no, my wife won’t knowingly allow me to find satisfaction elsewhere. I’ve asked. I’m not too keen on the idea anyway. The path I want to follow would lead me to a way to melt my wife’s frozen libido. Oh, I forgot to add, on the rare occasion that we do have sex I always make sure my wife gets hers. And she even admits that she enjoyed herself. This confuses me even more.

—Open to Suggestions

Dear Open,

Have you gotten to the point where you’re standing over your wife on the bed, pulling at her underwear, crying in desperation? That’s hot. I think that’s a favourite recent memory in my sexual history.

Your wife doesn’t want to have sex with you. Clearly, the idea disgusts her. When you do manage to convince her that this is kind of part of your loving contract as a couple, she admits it’s good. When you touch her (and I adore this description, it says so much) she pulls her arms across her chest like she’s going down a waterslide. Yet you describe her as your best friend. If my best friend wouldn’t let me hug or touch them I’d be hurt. I would expect some explanation from them or at least some support. But since you’re married, she doesn’t owe you anything? This is fucking madness. Why does your wife think it’s okay to treat your desires with repulsion and STILL stay with you? I apologize to her if this seems heartless but if there is something troubling her she owes you an explanation. She owes it to you to be brutally honest. Because this simply will not do. You cannot hold someone sexually hostage because you have a commitment contract with them. You must seek outside council. Finding a good therapist who also offers sliding scale prices is hard but worth it. Google your specific needs, ask at free health clinics and if you know any dykes, ask them. Dykes often have the inside track on good, cheap couples therapy.